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

About

My name is Ali Macleod and have lived in a really special place for the last 30 years, Applecross on the NW coast of Scotland. I first went fishing in 1978 and bought my first boat in 1984 and have fished for prawns since. During the 1990s I tried my hand at scallop farming and more recently have been working part-time in the Applecross Inn. 4 boys of which 3 are in further education and a partner Alison who is currently the local development officer.

We live in a vibrant but fragile community and are involved in a fair bit of community development, Pier, Hall,Filling Station and Community Company in general. Constantly trying to find ways of making the community more resilient against a backdrop of falling school role and declining services.

Comments on: "About" (54)

  1. Hi there Ali – I must say that you are one of the most lucky people on this Earth. Applecross is a beautiful place to visit, but to live there would be a dream. Would you be so kind as to tell me if you know if the Ard Ban Cottage ( old cottage by a coral beach) is still available to let. I used to stay there many years ago and have lost the contact details. I have been wanting to visit this stunning place again for sometime.
    Please help me!!
    Michala xx

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Hi Michala
      The two cottages at Ardban are privately owned but I know the owner of the one to the north and if you want I can get in touch if you wish to rent. I know they rent to friends, but do not much more info than that. Applecross is a pretty special place to live and work in. Coilligillie, the next hamlet to Ardban has a renting cottage if you are interested in that.
      cheers Ali

      • Ksenia Findlay said:

        Hello! I was also looking for the contact details for those cottage owners. Used to stay in the one on the right (don’t know if that’s the North one), but would love to stay again in either of them. Could you possibly let me know the details to try and rent one for a few days? Thank you! Ksenia

      • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

        They are both just rented out to friends and family if it the Ardban houses. Coillieghillie, the next hamlet Tim Dapplin has a cottage for rent.

  2. Hi Ali

    Loving the blog. Been pushing it as much as I can on Twitter and Facebook and hope I’ve extended the readership, if only a little. The Inn has been good to us and put a link to our website BadanMhugaidh.com from where we get most of our traffic!

    I’m really interested in the broadband project you outlined on 1/5/12 and as a comms engineer I’d love to get involved, if you would email me I’ll be happy to discuss it some
    more.

  3. [...] it was not until just now that I started reading the rest of the excellent website http://applecrosslifeblog.wordpress.com/about/ put together by Ali MacLeod a fisherman from Applecross. Not only is Ali a fisherman but he was a [...]

  4. Hi Ali,
    Just found your great blog through Paul on Raassay. I, too, have fond memories of Applecross having spent some time there at the outward boundy thingy based at Applecross House about 50 years ago. A truly beautiful place. Would love to revisit some time.

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Thanks for your comments.The West Highland School of Adventure…now that is a blast from the past. I remember them when I came over to stay with my grandparents in the 60s and they would come to church.

  5. richard spoors said:

    Hello Ali……..we spent a charming few days at the inn and you managed to get us some lovely Halibut thanks……we have been coming to applecross for a few years and its a very special place Thanks for your blog and good luck on the Hydro-power

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Good, I have really enjoyed coming out front of house this year and meeting people like you. It keeps you fresh and prevents a closed mind which can occur if you do not get out in a rural community. Small tiffs can become all consuming. Glad you got the halibut and see you the next time.

  6. lorna macdonald said:

    Wow. Just found this blog and it brings back lots of memories. Dont know if you’d remember my mum and dad, Ali and Margaret who used to own the pub till 87? My wee brother was born in bedroom 1 (as it was then). I left at 11 and returned for a weekend 2 years ago with my boyfriend, 20+ years later. And again last year…and hopefully this year. Such a magical place!

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Nice one, yes I remember your folks really well. I came to Toscaig in 83 and started going to the pub around 85 and I remember you and your wee brother (think he was a handful at the time, a live wire !!!) Introduce yourself if you are visiting again.

  7. Hi Ali I probably meet you 20+ yrs ago I was working for Kishorn Shellfish and I came to visit you on the pier and had a brief look at your Scallop operation. Unfortunately I gave it up a few years later and headed back south again.

    I have fond memories of the Pub (who didn’t) I used to always take my parents there for lunch when they came and to visit me.

    You have given me many hrs of reading now, glad I found the blog.

    Cheers

    Alistair

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      As it was 20 years ago I have vague memories of you coming over. Really appreciate you liking the blog. Still not entirely sure why I started it but now I have it is good fun even the politics. Thanks again.

      • I didn’t for one moment expect you to remember me.

        Thanks and keep up the good work with the Blog and the Applecross Community, more everywhere needs and deserves a better community..

      • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

        Cheers for that. Working in the Pub we get a lot of return visitors and sometimes it is slightly embarrassing if you don’t recognise them or forget their name. Of course they know you…usually go scurrying to Judith but she is becoming less reliable, might be an age thing!!

    • Hello Alistair, my name is Lyle from Volt Bikes we came across your blog after seeing you on BBC Scotland the other day. We would love for you to share your experiences of the Volt Alpine with our own blog readers. Would you be interested in writing a guest blog post for us?

      • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

        Yes I can do that. Well spotted that it was a Volt, although I have not had a look at Landward and only briefly seen Reporting Scot. Let us know what you want.

      • Hello Alistair, that’s great really looking forward to seeing what you come up with. We’d love for you to just write a blog post about how you use your Volt Alpine with regards to your business. Also if you could share what you like about it and and the benefits it brings to you. We have seen some great pictures of your bike and you trailer on several blog posts, it would be great if you could include some of those photo’s too. Please email it to info@voltbikes.co.uk, thanks Lyle

      • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

        Will do, sometime soon, although weather is pretty good just now.

      • Hello Alistair,

        Just thought I’d see if you have managed to get started on the blog post yet? If not don’t worry feel free to do it when you get the chance.

        Thanks.

        Lyle

      • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

        Have n’t forgotten you. The weather has been brilliant which means work and also i have set up the system in such a way that I now use the bike more. So it is coming with one or two photos.

  8. One quick question I know KSF must have closed along with KLD but what became of my mussel rafts. Reading your blog is reminding me of days spent encording mussels, turning oysters below seafield and having my lunch on Kishorn Island.

    I will never forget the measure of Cardu that Judith gave my father and the ensuing trip back over the bealach to Couldoran.

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      I will find out about the rafts and get back to you. A lot of people have many good memories of the Inn.

  9. Hi Ali, stumbled across your blog while googling the area, it’s great to read. I think I remember you from the time I was there with Fairbridge Drake at the Centre, back in 89, one of the highlights of my life. I’ve missed Applecross ever since!

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Hi Julia, thanks for the wee comment and Applecross always stays with you!!!!. That will be the Martin, Andy, Heather, Mike,even Nick Essen. I probably know you as I knew quite afew of you guys then. It was good times, maybe too good in some cases.

  10. Hi Ali,
    your blog is my daily sunshine from scottland. We turned around 5 times through the west highlands,everytime to applecross. But first time our friend from Laide, near Gairloch, said – to go there you need best breaks. The roadview was so beautifull, never forget.
    Thanks for every post.

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Thank you so much for your comments. I was never really sure why I started to blog but I now know why and one of these reasons is receiving comments like yours. Thank you again.

  11. Andy Tibbetts said:

    Hi Ali,
    It was a real pleasure to meet you over on Knoydart last week and delighted that you enjoyed your visit. Drop in anytime you’re passing. Love the blog by the way. It’s great to meet someone as enthusiastic about where they live.

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Cheers Andy, although it was “work” it never felt like it. From not knowing Doune existed to what I know now about it and the rest of the peninsula…it been great and really informative. I enjoyed our chats and absolutely everything about the two days. I will hope to make it back some time and thanks for your kind comments about the blog. Cheers again.

  12. Fraser MacDonald said:

    Dear Ali,

    Really enjoying your blog and photos. I’ve been tracing family history recently and my great Grandfather was born in shore street but later moved to Nairn. His parents continued to live in Milton for many years. I found your blog when I was looking for more information about the area. Your photos have really helped create an image of the places where they lived.

    Many thanks.

    Fraser

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Thank you for your comments. I will have to speak to Taddy to find out who you are!!! He is a wonderful source, even my own family I check up with him.

  13. Fraser MacDonald said:

    They were a long time ago! John MacDonald married Mary Maclean in Raasay in 1860, They appear to have lived in Milton. John was a mason on the Applecross Estate.
    Mary died in 1903 and John in 1910. They had several children, Christy (1862) Neil (1865) John (1867) Jane (1871 died young) Chirsty (1875) and my great grandfather, Angus (1877). Neil and Angus went to Inverness and Nairn for work, but Neil came back to Applecross and was a fisherman. I’ve no record for Chirsty after the 1891 Census so its possible she married and had a family. There may still be relatives in the area. Would be fascinated if your friend does know anything about them.

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      I am going to forward your history on to Gordon who is the curator at the Heritage Centre and the nephew of our best local historian/genealogist.

  14. Snoddy
    depsite the great weather -busy paddling (as you might have noticed a few times) so I havent been able to get my cylinders charged-Ill try to get them organised by next month after my next work down period-btw loved your piece in 2012 about African Ubunthu-absolutely true-how can we adopt ubunthu in a chomraich?
    gregor

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      It is harder work than it should be but ubunthu is under way. Catch you whenever.

  15. Alec Jordan said:

    Are you any further on with your thoughts on a St Ayles Skiff for Applecross?

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      No, but the idea has not gone away. there has been a lot going on recently with trying to keep the Fuel supply going, toilets refurb and broadband installation. I think we may try to tempt the Coigach Lass down for a demo to gauge enthusiasm and take it from there.

  16. Won’t take much tempting to get Coigach Community Rowing, Achiltibuie down to let the Applecross folk have a row of our lovely skiff and generally get the craic with them. We are anybody’s for a bowl of soup and a bit of homebaking! We’ve just been over to see potential Skiffies in Lochinver and have a trip to do similar in Avoch shortly…. So maybe have to be the spring, but we will definitely be there… will keep in touch about it.

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Raasay and back in a NW 7 would not be a good idea but good to know you are up for it. I know there is lots of interest. Of to do another mini rant, cheers

  17. Becca Fox said:

    Love this blog :) really keeps me feeling ‘at home’ when I’m missing out on everything up there!

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Ach thanks Becca, enjoyed your set at the Hall…..and not just saying that. Hope you have a good year.

  18. Hi Ali. Love the blog. I met you last year at the inn with my wife Louise when we were researching our own website, which is now up and running at last. Could we persuade you to write a guest blog entry for us? Please drop me a line. Thanks, Christian

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Happy to do that Christian. Give me some guideline on what you want and I will give it a good. Bear in mind I am a fisherman and not a writer. Thanks for the blog comment and not because of that your site is really good. Great stuff on it.

  19. Liz mcknockiter said:

    Hi Ali, I love your blog. I should be ironing this afternoon but am engrossed. Still have family in Kyle, Norman and Heather Finlayson. I honestly feel I should know you but am not sure.
    Regards
    Liz

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      If you were Liz Finlayson and you are saying that Norman is Marine Stores I know who you are. You may know me as “Snoddy” or Chrissie Anne’s brother. Thanks for the comment on the blog anyway.

  20. Andrew Mitchell said:

    Hi Ali, Didnt get the chance to thank you for looking after us in our stay at the Inn. Cant get enough of your blogs, they are highly educational and will no doubt open the eyes of many in your community and beyond. The power of the pen and the internet is immense,you have certainly put me in my place, the best things in life are free, money is just a man made machine which often brings out the worst in us. Take care with your mobility bike. Linda & Andy Mitchell, the tall baldy also known as Chickenlegs from Burton Cheshire.

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Good to meet you and thanks for your comments. As long as you are in work and live in a place like Applecross money does seem less important. I don’t mean to put anyone in their place but I think I know what you mean, I usually leave that to the people we were talking about. Cheers and may see you again.

  21. Hi,

    Thanks for letting me go out in the boat with you a couple of weeks ago, very kind of you and very interesting. I’ve finally finished the photos, if you are interested you can find them here:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/krishudds/sets/72157645678153301/

    Hope the fishing is still good & the sea is still calm.

    Thanks again & enjoy the peace & quiet.
    Ian

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Cheers, the photos are special. thanks for showing them and glad you enjoyed the day. I enjoyed the ice cream.

  22. HI Ali, just found your blog whilst trying to find an email for Geoff the picture framer in Kishorn! Me and the hubby are coming down tomorrow from Stornoway to get our boat out of the yard at Kishorn, whilst over i’d love to get him over to the Applecross Inn (he’s never been, i used to come on a pilgrimage from Boat of Garten!), are there any buses we could get? Would we have to go via Sheildaig? Is it worth thumbing a lift from the bottom of the pass road? I know it seems a strange request, but we are coming via public transport and sailing home! Finding your blog was just meant to be :)

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Public transport from Kishorn to Applecross is non existent but getting to the Yard and phoning the Inn may result in a lift as there are always people coming and going over the Hill. Thumbing may well work. there are not so many hitchers nowadays but I always pick up and most locals do. Best of luck.

  23. Claire Miller said:

    I really wished I had known about the blog before I visited Applecross last week. It was a journey of memories for me as my family owned a property in Ard Dhubh for many years (Dophin Cottage – the little one!). I spent all my holidays there as a child and teenager (except for Christmas due to the problems of getting there) but this was my first visit in about 35 years. I saw you about in the Inn and also unloading the new petrol pump but of course didn’t know who you were then. I was worried that I would be disappointed returning after so many years but it was all as I remembered and just as beautiful. I hope to visit again soon.

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Maybe meet you sometime. I am still not used to people I do not know introducing themselves through reading the blog. Hope you keep enjoying it and thanks for your comment.

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