A view on Fishing,Community and Life on the NW coast of Scotland

Watching the sunset this evening was simply awesome.IMG_9231

 

A quick ten minutes at elevenish before the hordes descend. May be completely wrong but the prepping is going full steam ahead in the back, chopping mixing and making in readiness for the day ahead. The number of people already wandering about and phone calls suggest it will be full on. Bad news from Lochcarron though, The Strathcarron and Lochcarron hotels along with the Golf Club have all been broken into, sad,sad world.

Yesterday was one of those days in paradise, warm and sunny with not a breath of wind, a sole porpoise heading north in the morning, and then the usual gulls,

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who are you looking at,

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bonxies

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and cormorants for the rest of the day.

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Only one fleet to rejoin and another down by the Range to sort out for next week. Always good to finish to the north so cutting across the Bay looking east to the street means you are almost home.

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On these days you do not sit down so it was land the catch at the Inn, back home and out with the dogs, in with the washing, something to eat and away up the road to meet the hordes. As it is so busy, these days are for getting through but you always hope to make contact with some one and last night it was a lovely couple from Nova Scotia, who it turns out come from a small town 3/4 of an hour travel from Halifax,and they  are the world senior women’s world champions at curling. Not only that they are defending their title in Dumfries this week. http://wmdcc2014.curlingevents.com/dumfries-scotland-to-stage-2014-world-mixed-doubles-and-world-senior-curling-championships. Not knowing this I went into the kitchen and conveyed this to Cheffie who expressed his ignorance to the information and went back to the couple and had good craic with them for the rest of a busy evening, playing on the fact that no one knows this world championships are taking place in Scotland. Applecross was highly recommended to them and I think they left feeling welcomed, I certainly enjoyed their company. Just caught a sight out west after the sun had gone down.

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Back home now and the feeling of dread was unsubstantiated and the extra length of shift did not turn out to be necessary. Tried a bit of relaxation before the ten o’clock shift by walking down to Craig Darroch with Dougal and Co, also as they were going to be on their own for  a large part of the day. Seemed to work as everything was so still clear.

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There was a spell for about half an hour when the kitchen ran out of plates around oneish and we had a bit of a wait for the food to appear, one agitated customer, but every one else was on their hols and made the most of the wait just relaxing in the beautiful peace and quiet and the wonderful bright sunshine. Brenda was over for her 80th birthday celebration and her extended family from England, Germany and Scotland turned up to help her enjoy the day. Enjoyed the company of a couple of Philadelphians in the early afternoon before heading home on the bike to let the dogs out for a break and feed. Through out the last two days been plagued by a, at times severe, headache but have finally shaken it off. That and meeting Lorna from our SEA course of a couple of years ago and a wonderful sunset meant I made it home on a bit of a high. The expected numbers did not materialise so managed to chat to a couple, one a Bobby, who tried his first oysters, and then Lorna and her mates. Sometimes you connect with some people for no apparent reason and an hour of good chat just flashes by. We had a good reminisce about the guys on the course, and what is happening in Applecross on a community level. She is heading off with her partner on travels in a camper van, no definite plans, but looking for the sun. They do have to be careful as they are a couple of redheads. It is all about people, it is that simple, meeting them, sharing a bit of your life experiences with some like-minded people and hearing a bit about theirs and we then go our separate ways. Leaving at the back of eight I took about forty-five minutes to get home as I kept stopping for a look at the sinking sun, at Milton,

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the Camusterrach fank

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and finally seeing it’s glow after reaching home.

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It is going to be a long day at the Inn, weather beautiful and 5 million living in the country not counting visitors and a lot of them coming to Applecross. So a morning walk with the dogs along the shore, peaceful and contemplative, surrounded by nature’s beauty.

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Weir’s Way Remake.

Thursday afternoon; A few words to start the post before going out to another shift at the Inn. Lovely sunny day now although very windy still from the north-west. Made it over to Broadford today and it was one of those days when I almost visited four houses but never quite managed it. Instead called into Kyleakin pier, next to Castle Moil,

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to pick up an end and buoy.

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Mind you if I had done the visiting then I would still be on Skye now. My Mum, although fit and healthy, did not know I was there but that is life. Instead I had a chat with a very sharp lady who know exactly who I was and was in school with my aunt Sybil, being born in Camusteel. Dolly Macbeth was her maiden name and the house she was born in no longer stands. I did not stay too long as it was just coming up to lunchtime and the three ladies at the table were sound asleep, I can be stimulating at times. Which reminds me, a correction from last post, it was Duncan Macleod’s own aunt who looked after him not Murdo’s, I think I got mixed up after speaking to Dan who is related but jumped to the wrong aunt. I try to leave posts alone once they are published and put wrong info right later, only correcting grammar. Although windy, bright on the way back and the Keoch Nose looking clear in the sun

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and made it back to see the Azalea coming home.

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Thursday evening; Now after another full on session, a wee breather before going behind the bar to head for closing. Good forecast for the weekend so it will be stretching the body and mind. But when you meet really good people as you do the rounds of the tables it certainly is worth it. Only the third season through the week and there are so many people who know my name and I just have no clue who they are or where they are from, but no one seems to take offence when one asks their names, got the 10,000 people excuse trotted out in my defence. Chef had a first tonight when he was asked to cook a blue duck breast. Previous night he was asked for a rare as opposed to pink lamb and it never came up to expectations and I was told about the over cooked veni burger and pigeon, so blue it was tonight and it appeared that we broke him as there was a good tip from the table. First time that a duck left the kitchen still quacking. Noticed the sunset as it disappeared over the Raasay hills. Interesting chat with Alex Macdonald who is partner in leasing the 70,000 Achnacarry estate of Locheil and is running it as a sporting venture and seems successfully too.http://www.achnacarrycountry.co.uk/index.html Made me decide that I would turn right the next time I am down that way again as you pass the Commando Memorial. Turning many acres of barren hill land into employing people to work in the business and appears to be doing well. Interesting way of working the land and providing employment instead of using the Highlands as a playground. Trees with even more employment and we are starting to head in the right direction. Apart from that a really pleasant couple to chat to. Serious compliment from a customer who had been here for the week but Frostie can tell you that one.

Monday saw us out fishing in lovely weather,

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a bit of a swell in the morning but was glass calm by middle of the day. Nice catch but again as we have not been out since so not so good. Lovely evening and a wander down the road with Dougal and Co was well worth it.

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Still and colourful and peaceful.

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Tuesday was an increasing forecast and if I was keen I would have done a 3/4 day before the breeze came in and Wednesday was not a good one although we had a busy evening at the Inn. Not too bad for tables, just turning them round for the next booking. Tonight’s excitement was the return of STV in the form of David Hayman doing a remake of Weir’s Way. Good chat with them with a little politics thrown in. It is going to be an interesting but careful summer, not having any tribal inclinations and having watched the BBC 2 debate the night before there was plenty to talk about. I have shied away from many of the debates but gave this one a go as Lesley Riddoch was on. The only problem that I had, was that she should have had a lot more air time being the only one to cut across the party politics and suggest ways ahead. I really dislike when people who should know better ridicule their “opponents” and at one stage there was an apology for patronising. Surely disagreement is allowed. Trying to stay away from the blame game is hard but not agreeing with this silly new,” we cannot do without the UK renewable subsidy” is easy when you compare the nuclear clean up subsidy. In all walks of life there seems to be a distrust to allow local people to take decisions on local issues. There are bound to be mistakes but constantly blaming the outside for everything is not going to get anyone anywhere. Maybe Bergen is better than both Edinburgh or London at the moment.

Another full on shift last night but another smooth operation, so smooth that as I went past four tables they all gave orders for food and the kitchen must have wondered what was going on. A quick visit to them just to let them know there was a major table turn over and apologising for not getting away to tell them. Great food and good craic makes for a good night and all cashed up and left at half eleven with the Boss having a wine with a couple of guests and the ice cream man. Just managed to catch the end of the sunset over Skye, moving north by the day.

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Good because the weather today was not as quiet as hoped and a good 3/4 southerly meant the boat in gear all day and hard work going through the 400 creels. But fishing still holding up and although tired, a satisfying day, finished off with cooking a sweet chilli squats for tea and an anticipated hazelnut and strawberries and cream ice cream for later. Despite the breeze it was still bright and that helps the day. There was a front trying to come in all afternoon.

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Not that many boats around but if there are any they are usually red.

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Stayed bright for the Azalea’s return home.

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And the last one from Monday.

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Busy times so going to post Ardhu and Ardban in the morning sun and now going out to enjoy it on the water.

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Fishing Tales.

Friday was a day of contrasts for me and the community. Woke up needing paracetamol and another three hours to recover so that decided the morning, whether to go fishing or to the funeral of Duncan Macleod, Coillie Ghillie, who was being laid to rest at Clachan around mid day. Was back on the go for that and was at Clachan  in plenty of time. Although I did not know Duncan personally there is a tradition of seeing people off for the family’s sake as well. You are paying respect to more than the person but an age and those around. Although you never forget the reason for the occasion often it is an opportunity to immerse yourself in a time gone by. As mentioned before Duncan came from Coillie Ghillie

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being one of two brothers who survived an outbreak of TB. When you hear some one say that he was at the head stone five times that brings it home. I sometimes complain about a headache, losing your father, mother and sisters puts things in perspective. Duncan and Ian “Ali Bheag” were then looked after by an aunt, possibly a mother of Murdo “Noochie” at what became the store for the wee shop at Camusterrach. He then went on to live a full life mainly connected to the sea like most of his generation. Canada, as evident at the grave side and later meeting family members at the Inn, featured large in his life. An excuse to post another photo of the Mary Anne tied up in Canna, the ring netter that his brother Ian skippered and part owned and which my Dad was engineer on board.

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Something I have heard before and spoke to Kenny on Saturday evening was name changing. The Macleods, so the story goes changed their name to Tolomie, the suggestion being that at one time they were in Gairloch and being a Macleod in Mackenzie country was not the easiest. Kenny was down from Shieldaig and his family changed their name from Macleay to Livingstone, again no definite reason given but the possibly around the time of the explorer David Livingstone and holding him in high regard….. Name changing would certainly be an awful lot easier then than now, no bank, DDs, passports etc to sort. I spent a fair bit of time with a couple of local worthies and heard tales of days gone by of the ringnet, have to say that there were copious amounts of whiskey and rum in many of the stories that stretched from the Eagle bar in Inverness to coming back to the Mary Anne and the Kathryn which were tied up at Aultbea at three in the morning. Loved the attempt at coming back on board quietly trying not to wake the other crew members, with a full load on board an impossible task. The trip at the top of the stairs of the Eagle bar and coming down the full length would have been bad enough but there was a visit to the butchers just prior meant mince, pork chops, black puddings and steaks tumbling every where around the fallen hero. And a hello to the family, some of whom I have never met and others I was in school with before heading down the road for the rest of my recovery. Back up around half four for a hectic shift, the season is well under way even if the weather has not turned yet. It has remained very unsettled. The opposite to the funeral took place in the evening at the Community Hall where local”superstars” took to the stage and although happy to cover to let younger staff go to the event by all accounts it went well with lots of money raised and every one enjoying themselves. Thriller up on youtube for all to see.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtBMXjFlMYI

Yesterday, after more dog walking rebooting, not bothering to keep the diary for break downs now as it will be all change soon, a trip out for the last of the langoustines,

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back to the Inn in the evening for another early start. Will be glad to get the missing data for the local cards back from Gilbarco as well, just has not been a good news story despite the visitors telling us so. Windy day and a busy, noisy, good-humoured bar with an Inn full of Scousers among others. It turned into a very windy day

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but bright and good to watch,

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knowing that you were not at sea.

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Good night on the food front apart from me pushing the kitchen tolerance to its limit when I missed a pork fillet out of a big order, but humour prevailed on the table and eventually in the kitchen.

The lead up to Easter weekend continues with another busy lunch and looked like continuing as I left about six. Another little boost from a regular visitor, a silver surfer, who was exclaiming how good the internet connection was compared to last year, so Applenet beats BT in Applecross. I could have stayed but need to get some fishing done in the next couple of days, the quieter looking part of the week.Nice light leaving the Inn.

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For some reason it feels as though we are half way through the year instead of the start, I suspect the weather has something to do with this.

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