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

Cutting and Drilling.

Did not want to get up this morning, a quarter of a million pound drilling rig axle deep at the turbine house site, toilets blocked and the Filling Station playing up.

Monday was a pretty frantic up and down day for the Hydro. While we were away at the CLS Conference the drilling rig arrived and failed to get on site so it was all hands to the pump on Monday morning. Well afternoon, as the Rig chappie had some domestics to sort out and arrived at the middle of the day. I had a wee bit of phoning to do to see if Duncan and Chris could make it, Duncan for towing the Rig in and Chris for a bit of tree surgery.

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Turns out the tree surgery went like a dream.

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In between hauling the wood off to the side noticed the next tree was hollowed out but still alive.

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More a bat tree than the one we delimbed. Suspect the bats are living in the Stedding.

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Thinking afterwards, Chris is a classic Applecross adoptee in that he turned up out of the blue around 3/4 years ago and has established himself well in the community. Now living in one of the affordable Craic Barn houses he has turned his hand to several jobs, the latest is tree surgery and this was his second outing. Kayak instructor, tree planter, mountain guide, Rhoddy basher or even bar man at the Inn gives you an idea how adaptable we are up here. If it was not for affordable housing…….. and we do need more for more young guys like Chris or even some Chrisinas.

Then the heavy mob arrived

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as Chris went off to plant some trees on the Alt Beag and left the sheep to tuck into some fresh sycamore leaves.

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Another attempt to get the rig in failed fairly quickly but the track machine was the next option.

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A tow in from the gate was organised which did not mean Mick was going to pull it in.

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That quickly was underway and a routine emerged with Duncan in front with the chain attached to the rig and using the bucket to pull the rig in chain length by chain length.

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In place eventually and with the compressor taken in a lot easier the drilling began.

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The first two holes successful and then the problems began again with the rig unable to manoeuvre for the other two holes and that is when the back axle became level to the ground. I made myself go back up at ten to take this photo. Could not earlier on but on the assumption that there was going to be a recovery taking shape over the next couple of days it would be good to see what the boys came back from.

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The actual drilling part of the operation seemed to be the easiest although we were watching an artist, joining drill bits with no hands but manoeuvring by control unit.

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Mike came along for a look and soon became involved in some tractor work. A bit like being at sea, there is a problem, it has to be fixed. Day finished with the area behind the rig cleared and ready for a tow out in the morning. Leaving the field was a little depressing but a few well meant and positive words helped. And Dougal and Eildh did enjoy their long day as site-work dogs. Dougal meeting Kenny today.

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Unfortunately that did not happen as Jim had more stuff to deal with so did not make it over and little happened during the day. Donald replaced Duncan and Mick returned to the east with little progress made. Difficult to work on someone’s machinery which is their livelihood. As I missed a day at sea on monday had to go out yesterday as the forecast is not settling down. Surprised by the fishing as at this time of year there is little activity with the creels. Only hauled 250 but although mostly small should be enough to keep people happy till I manage out again. Dentist in the evening and that is when I saw the static situation on the field. Worrying.

After a wee feeling of dread and doing little myself, by twelve the rig and compressor are out of the field. Using the hydraulic base stand at the rear of the rig and with wood the rear wheel was built up almost level

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before a successful tow out was performed.

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Good to see the rig passing out through the field gate.

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The boys left with a bit of a tidy up and Mick wanted another bucket hole dug to make sure there was rock on the down side of the site. The drill holes on monday showed up good rock base but no one was in mind to drill this morning. Must not lose the evidence of what came out. The toilets are now unblocked, Sean was involved with this and seems we are encountering what seems to be a new sewage disposal issue. Wet wipes that do not disintegrate are blocking sewers up and down the country. And the Filling Station is selling fuel. Seeing by the dips there are healthy sales at the moment. Not surprising as there are huge amounts of visitors around. The weather is not having any effect on the numbers. I personally feel there is a bit of an imbalance at the moment, certainly at the Inn, where it sounded as though they were having difficulty in coping with the numbers. Trying to send people down to the Walled Garden where there is excellent food being served. Accommodation beds are out of sync with the eating places. Huge pressure is put on the services some of which are being kept going by volunteers. The slightly worrying thought is that this is only May. Called in early tonight but a lot more buoyant than I was this morning. The most important piece over the 3/4 days is the community involvement, guys turning up to offer advice and to help and willing to negotiate prices and offer some of the work free. Over time I hope the community will pay this back tenfold. In recent years the skill capacity of the community has increased and become more self sustaining. Ever onwards.

After being immersed in land reform for a couple of days energy has returned to far better levels and just as well. A fine couple of days with huge varieties of emotions, the emotional highs and connections have been the strongest I have felt for a long time. If I had written this yesterday I thought my blog would have been “Bonxies or People”

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with the intention of writing that I preferred the bonxies.

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To explain, I was up relatively early and after dog duties and a muesli breakfast, I was on the Varuna before eight. Unfortunately with all the thoughts of land reform since Wednesday I had completely forgotten about the fleet I had left on board. Into the pier to take it ashore and off out west. Still had many thoughts floating around about land reform and they were mainly about how power and wealth have become so influential. How do we go about dissipating it in such a way that people who live on the land take the important decisions around their own communities. Interesting that the idea of Human Rights are presented just now as the defence of those in power. Surely they were created to help the disadvantaged. Anyway I was not hanging about as the forecast was for an increasing southerly and I wanted to catch some prawns for the Bank Holiday weekend. Succeeded in that by hauling 300 creels in a freshening breeze, awkward and hard work. The Mayday coming over the radio from the Mallaig area does make you think that you are always at the mercy of nature and simple mechanical failure. Catch slightly better than expected and they did last through the weekend, chuffed to manage that. I had one or two more round the boat possibly due to the lack of fishing activity on the Sound.

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Managed a snooze with the dogs in front of Netflix before making it up to the Inn. It was as expected although it went surprisingly well. Everyone did amazingly well at everything that needed to be done. Cannot describe how it all works, it seems to be a unit of which we are all part of and if you knocked out the individual components the unit would not work in the same way. Working at the Inn confirms my belief in movements like the Common Weal. We are far better together, in the true sense, not in the political slogan sense. Despite all this Did not have a true connection and felt more connected to my natural surrounds earlier in the day.

That all changed today and for several reasons and people. As our Company grows and learns how to deal with problems that emerge there are inevitably tensions and strains within the community and even the Company. Sometimes when we become so involved in running the broadband system, or the Filling Station we forget the people who take the strain in keeping these services going. We are not an anonymous identity like BT or SSE but live in the community where if the service provided fails we meet the people who want it sorted. And we all work as well. A phone call this morning followed by a return message means a lot. All this before a 14 hour shift at the Inn. At truely amazing experience although a bit concerned about the Boss’s fitness. Judith stayed behind the bar today and left us to “go for it”. And that is what we had to do. We had to deal with wave after wave of customers from eleven till well after food finished at nine. Food still going out at half past. Five highs amongst the floor staff after ten when we knew we had cracked it. Lost a bet of a pint with Steve as the M V Hampshire guys arrived a little before time. They do like their haddock and chips. 9/10 had them with a cod being the other although the cod was eyed a little enviously by some of the haddock eaters. Not a word about fracking passed our lips.

And at the end of the evening I had a wee reward. Earlier in the evening Garry came in with girlfriend Hannah. As Judith did not know Garry he is only classed as “well known” and not famous. I ‘ve bumped into Garry a couple of times over the years as has most of the Highlands and the rest of Scotland. Met Hannah for the first time and had a good banter going when they came in for their meal later. Very accommodating with tables and sharing at one stage Garry thought they were going to sit on separate tables and he was up for that, not so sure Hannah was. met up after everything had settled down and on the spur of the moment decided his offer of a drink was a good idea. A large bunnahabhain followed by a couple of hours of fine craic. Music, history, politics, land reform, a wee touch of the spiritual and yoga and just life in general. Time flew by and it was just what I needed at the end of the night. Not only that it seems Hannah has had a very interesting political past and always good to hear inside stories and opinions. Fond farewells and a quick bar clearance was followed by a thoughtful cycle home. Grand welcome from the dogs so wandered down the shore, time had wandered on to 1.30am, but in the company of nature’s sounds from the shore and Blair Douglas’s tunes, it was really timeless. Maybe the effect of a couple of malts had something to do with it but all was good despite the stresses around and about.

As well as all this going on  I had to make a few phone calls to organise tractors and tree surgeons for the morning ‘s events at the turbine house site. the first attempts to get the drilling rig in position failing due to the wet top soil. A 16 ton back axle did not help. The bonxies sometimes are easier to live with but they do have their scraps as well and are fiercely competitive so maybe are not that much different from us. Flying free does appeal sometimes.

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Today was probably more stressful but more later.

Sitting down now with the Glasgow game on in the background, van unpacked and a breakfast for tea. A fine couple of days of land reforming politics at Inverness. Began yesterday with a dart out to the Varuna to pick up some prawns for the Loch Ness Inn and set off via the field where the bore holes were to be drilled to test the sink hole that has appeared beside the turbine house site.

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Local opinion is that it should be okay as it was the old route of the river before it was straightened for the mill wheel at the farm. Better safe than sorry. No drilling done by the time I left and it seems none done as it was too wet for the rig to make it across the field. Hoping it is a minor setback, as if we have not had enough of them over the years.

Prawns delivered and made it in time for a quick plate of soup and sandwiches before launching into a full afternoon of politics and community ownership. Had a couple of talks from the Chair David Cameron, Peter Peacock and then Jim Hunter before breaking up into workshop groups where we heard from Gigha and Colintrive/Glendarual. A long and detailed policy talk from Peter outlined the huge amount of work done by the CLS in lobbying for the people who want to improve the prospects for the communities they live in. Gigha has been in the news recently for being “heavily in debt”. I was interested in hearing the Gigha side of the story. Only 40odd houses have been renovated, population increased from 98 to 168, numerous small businesses set up and a debt restructuring. The last has been the issue that caused such a furore in the press, have to say right-wing press mainly, a debt restructuring that any company can go through from time to time and would not raise an eyebrow normally. But we have an agenda driven press now, just something we have to live with. Came home to fb posts showing Lord Astor pontificating on his views on what is happening in Scotland. A common theme running through all the conferences I go to is that Scotland is unique in Europe. No other country has such a large concentration of land in so few hands. Other countries have had their land ownership revolutions 150/200 years ago. Maybe it is time to stop being coy and indirect and just start saying the way you see it. Heard a lot about the Human Rights of the landlord in recent times. Surely the Human Rights of a community supersedes that of an absentee landlord who claims that the community, ie the people, have nothing to do with him. (And Glasgow win). The responsibility of owning such large amounts of land must extend to the residents of that community. 432 people own 50 percent of Scotland’s land. That would mean Inverness would be owned by seven people. Funny how when a landlord gets a subsidy, whether it is SFP, lottery, or public funds it is called investment and partnership, working with government, but when it is a community who receive payments they are subsidy junkies and a drain on the state. How easy it is to play with words and create such a distorted image of what is actually on the ground.

Had a wee break there with Dougal and Eilidh and read that Astor article. It is almost parody, maybe not for the people of Jura. The slave trade was brought up and like every thing it had a local context. The US Civil War resulted in the repatriation of a valuable asset with no compensation. 150 years on and very few around now would argue against the freedom of slaves. No one is saying the same for land but it makes one wonder what will be said in 150 years from now.

Governance was a topic that ran through all the contributions from the practical level. Even communities that have been underway for a lot longer than us have or have had these issues. This morning Lorne Macleod, our new Chair, opened the day with the Macleod Clan motto, “Hold Fast”. Lorne appeared in Applecross to give a talk about how we could go about setting up a Community Company to run our Filling Station and possibly other ventures. Seems a lifetime ago. So relevant as obstacles appear both at local and national levels all the time. Wether it is state aid, funding, planning and just burn out, all these are issues that need to be overcome to allow communities to be sustainable and not be a subsidy drain on the nation. Land values and house prices are a big problem and now we are faced with the first generation which will be worse off than the previous one. Since the Single Farm Payment land values have tripled. A crofting estate on the western isles was bought for £180,000 but if a salmon river just to the south had been included the price would have gone up by £600,000, 160 salmon caught on the river annually. There was a call for land values to truly reflect income generated from source, not inflated investment values. New influx of investors heading north, instead of buying a Picasso or Ferrari they buy an estate, unfortunately treating the communities like they would the Ferrari. Good to hear Aileen Macleod, MSP, talk about radical change, mostly questioned by the well-known in the room. But the questioners know us and our problems so they are a good link to the government and to influence policy in a responsible way. Shouting about Mugabe politics is not helping the discussion. Good down to earth practical discussions took place over the two days and the only phrase that competed with “Hold Fast” was “The dinner is in your wellies.”  Sandra explained she was out in the islands and involved in a long late night discussion with some directors about some lease or other. One of the younger directors got a text stating the above and showed how much time and energy is involved with the future of our communities. Much energy is expended in turning around the often semi derelict estates and “the dinner in the wellies” is a graphic description of how lives are affected by all this effort. So much else was talked about, the danger of wilderness designated areas closed off for repopulation, the fact that some estates cannot be bought out by the community as they have already been cleared. There is no longer a community there. Fine comments and questions asked throughout the two days. Defining the public interest, fiscal and tax policies to reduce the value of land, reducing the difficulties some agencies put in place to access funding and of course state aid. Rob Gibson gave a talk this morning about his influences and journey to date involving land reform. Patience is a commodity needed for the journey.

In between there were many social conversations, walks with Dougal And Eilidh who met Midge and Braken both from Mull in their wanders out the back of the Drumossie,

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horses

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and storm damage to check out as well.

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Managed a migraine during the meal but survived with a withdrawal and blurry vision and fine this morning. Bit of a worry in seeing and hearing how stressed some of the LDOs are trying the work miracles in their own communities. Quick shop around town and a stop off at Rogie Falls,

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becoming a favourite for the dogs.

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Home by six, inspiration over severe future challenges has to take presidence to get us through the hurdles of the next few years. The climate is definitely changing and not before time. As well as the above managed a couple of lawyer and affordable housing chats. Gone are the days when deer are more important than people. And finally at Drumossie you come across something that is  so appropriate. No apologies for being so political, it is now part of life, both rural and urban, in Scotland.

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Mrs A’s 14 ticks.

Went like a dream. Up early and off to Broadford to pick up a box of personal bits and pieces before making my way to Glenelg. Met the minister for the first time and again , Iain. Was a little surprised at the number who came out to see her off, but plesasntly so. The weather was certainly changeable with Alison and the boys passing cyclists sheltering from the horizontal hail on the top of the Hill. Spring never mind summer has not arrived yet. Or at least arrives for a day and then disappears for a week. And not much change in sight for the next week. Speaking of Mrs A, just before she went through to pick up sons Nos 3and4 in Inverness I had an unusual request. To take 14 ticks out of her. After the funeral/sermon we headed off to the Balmacara cemetery to lay my mum beside my Dad. Emotions held in check as I am only thinking of the cord list, those who are going to lower the coffin. Had a list made out but have to leave a couple open to see who turns up. Made it happen okay and went down to the Plockton Inn for a cracking plate of soup and sandwiches.

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Seems it runs in the family, climbing out windows that is, mum’s brother in this case. He was not allowed to play football so out the window he went to play for Plockton against Kyleakin. Would have gotten away with it if he had not broken his arm at the game. Don’t think falling out of bed would have swung it. Reminds me of the time I broke the key in my Dad’s car. A big problem as I should not have had the car and certainly not outside the Dornie Hall at 2am on a Saturday morning. A deal of subterfuge and ingenuity later and I got away with that one. Some more gossip, up to date and not to be repeated. You always get these trips back into the past and a catch up in the neighbouring villages at funerals. Took a little run down Cooper Street and Laurel Bank, now changed hands and renovated since I have been in.

Home in time for work although not sure that was a good idea. Stopped of at what seemed like a TESCO pit stop

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but views are always good there.

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Saturdays are becoming an evening to get through these days. The Inn experiences a descending crush on Saturdays now with the big tables booked at 6pm and again at 8pm. It is the only way to cope. Maybe it was because of my day but it was almost out of control at one stage although i think it was more to do with lack of communication. I knew some of the group on the big table and all was going well up to the time they were leaving and the next group were sitting down. They had already started but not the booked group so it was almost unpleasant sorting it out over the next ten minutes and the closest I have come to telling a couple of people what I really thought. But all went okay apart from the spilt glass of wine. It may well be a long season and it seems the popular destinations are all finding it harder to cope as the destinations in between are not providing good service so the load is fairly uneven. Going to have to be more efficient to cope in the weeks to come. Sunday was a busy but saner day although the weather is staying so unsettled. It is the hot topic, a couple of decent days then a dip back into late winter. Cannot remember such a broken spell for May. The broken weather does throw up some interesting skies.

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The bees are going well and out in numbers on the good days, at least one hive is. Not sure the second one is going to survive. It was always the weaker one from the split last year.

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Now Thursday morning and just away to Inverness to the Community Land AGM via Loch Ness. Suddenly no time to do everything so its just a quick finish off and into the van with the dogs as we are staying at Beauly overnight. Once Dougal gets his hair sorted we are off.

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Tuesday evening at the Inn was like the height of summer, without the weather, queueing for tables most of the evening but all goes well. That interspersed with a day fishing and another evening shift takes us up to date. The prawns are going down well just now. I think because they are on and off the menu people are ordering them just in case. They are not bad though. Got caught out last night with a group of four residents who wanted a half pint of prawns tailed. I thought it was one for the ladies to share so offered to shell for them.They ordered four, one each. One plateful of langoustine followed.

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The haul produced a few more than expected, enough for a box going to Loch Ness Inn and to keep them on the menu till the weekend. Not so many bonxies about yet but always good to watch them battle

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and usually win

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against the gulls.

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And a star fish.

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The Americans, last night at the Inn, were grateful to be helped out as their tyre was burst on the Hill. I think they were really mystified that we would help them get the call out, feed them and put them up for the night. If I am broken down anywhere across the world I hope the Applecross factor kicks in.

The best thing about working on your own is working on your own. So when I get up on time on Wednesday morning, just a little less concentration and energy than usual, a wee snooze on the couch before heading out at ten. No crew man to phone up five times between seven and ten when you change your mind about whether you go out or not. So made it out for ten and as my shift had been changed to the previous evening at the Inn there was no pressure on coming in. The northerly breeze did that for me but not before hauling 300 creels for a few small prawns. The weather for the last couple of days has been fantastic,

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bright blue skies and only an afternoon breeze to cope with. Fairly routine time going through the fleets of fifty creels, with only the company of gulls

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and at most two bonxies along side waiting for their feed of bait.

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As always, good to get to sea where although the work is hard the mind can be elsewhere, like four decades ago. The very day humdrum of grabbing the stopper, opening the creel, emptying it, rebating and stacking before turning the Varuna round and finding a space to reshoot the creels happens to a rythym that is so natural you do not notice it. It is only broken by an interruption, a tangle or something unusual in the creel like an electric blue wrasse,

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a change of engine note that alerts you of a problem. The radio can take you across the world or close to home. Whether it is Peruvian endangered rare animals or floaters voters, voting conservative, scared of the new wave of marauding Scots descending from the North today it mostly is of my teenage years playing football every night on Douglas Park, one of my claims to fame is that I have played football with and against Bertie, still playing at a young 62. It used to be golf with Jimmy Beaton and Andrew “Plumber”, often accused of “gardening” while playing a ball out of the bracken on the wee golf course at the back of the Plock, now sadly no longer there. My hole in one at the 3rd made it to the WHFP. Being part of the victorious Balmore team that won their only trophy, the Macleod Cup, meant a very hazy end to that evening. By this time I was getting adept at climbing in and out of my bedroom window, luckily on the ground floor. The life of sport and attending weekend dances was combined with going to series of communions in the locale stretching from Portree and Broadford in Skye to over here in Applecross, taking in Plockton and Lochcarron on the way. Although at the time disliking these attendances looking back I have little regret and they all form part of one’s make up. The right-off of a mini van on the back road to Balmacara has its balance in spending three and a half hours on a church pew on a sabbath communion morning watching two “tables” taking place, the second in gaelic. Many of these participants are no longer with us. The travelling communicants such as Lachie Mackinnon, Donald Mackay or John Mackenzie, men of huge presence, and even some of my football friends such as Ian Munro, sadly passed away too young all make me smile and appreciate the age I have lived through. Over the years it has become more and more apparent that the reasons I smile or feel uplifted are to do with people, actions to help and nothing at all to do with possessions or money. That is to say I do think I am extremely fortunate in everything we have but it is not the driving force in my life. The other night at the Inn hearing a couple from Quebec say how welcome they felt, almost like being in their own front room, is what it is about. They were chatting to Austrian, Flemish and Dutch on their neighbouring tables. That is what under lies the success of the Inn not turnover or increasing business or cutting costs. Catching ten stone of langoustine is not the buzz anymore but being able to be on the water and catch them while appreciating everything around you is far more important. Maybe this is why I hardly notice if the fishing is “good” but the weather and general well being is more important. If a table is not ready to sit at there will be one and that really is all that matters. Possibly this all relates back to the formative years of my parents and although I have not gone down the route of absolute faith but carry a certain spiritual optimism in a in a world that is full of pessimistic outcomes, the biggest being that of environmental abuses that may well come back to bite us.

So the introspection done and dusted life continues as does the broken weather. The first two days of the week were poor with strong winds from the south although making for the Registrar in Kyle meant I would not have been to sea anyway. Cutbacks mean it was not Lochcarron and made me think that there are serious consequences for the continuous cutting back of services. Not affecting me as I can jump into a car and head to Kyle, but imagine a eighty year old spouse who needed to register for an imminent funeral and it is a difficult and unnecessary problem. Called into the Yard and made arrangements for the cats head to be sorted, needs straightened and strengthened sometime next week and a visit to Dave and Maggie’s for a wee catch up. Shift change on Tuesday from Wednesday which suited as pots hauled over the two days meant a good break on Wednesday evening. A walk in some beautiful light

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with the sun dipping down on the northern half of Raasay.

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Dougal and Eildh

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loving the run out to The Ardban track. On the bike as I had walked enough across the deck all day. Sunset awesome from so many different angles

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and the low sunlight is everywhere.

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Often looking round you catch the best. So with everything in place, I hope, tomorrow I am off to Ardelve and Balmacara to bury my mum but not her’s or my dad’s memory. She is free now.

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Sleep Well

No matter how much you expect the expected it is side swipes you a little. After all the excitement of the last couple of days, I impress myself and up early to set out to sea. Phone rings and it all changes, Catriona from An Arcasaid, is telling me my 96-year-old mum has passed away peacefully early this morning in the company of two carers. She was beautifully cared for to the end and the circle of her life is now complete. The best way to describe her was as an almost compulsive carer and it was fitting she was seen off in similar company. Throughout my teenage years my mum nursed her mother, two aunts and an uncle to their ends. Before it was her father in the fifties and since then I know of families in Kyle grateful of her nursing skills. An old and common Highland tradition still alive and well as it was my mum’s turn to be looked after in her later years. Obviously more formalised at the Care Home, but equally well-loved and looked after. She was proud of being a Queen’s nurse and whoever she was in the ward she lost no time in telling the nurses looking after her that she too was a nurse.

The next day and a half has been filled with mayhem at the Inn, trying to carry out the duties in seeing off my mum in a dignified way, dealing with the flood of memories when you go to say cheerio and take a couple of photos from her room, now so quiet. All seems to be going like clockwork, making it over to Broadford, meeting Iain, and so far not coming across any obstacles. Made it back and was in plenty time for the mayhem and you focused on what was coming your way, waves and waves of people who were hungry and wanted food. Felt a little submerged towards the end as one or two were getting slightly grumpy at having to wait for their tables. This despite being reassured that they would be fed. The only casualties were the two girls who were drinking for a couple of hours outside and then decided to order food after the kitchen had been closed for half an hour. Little sympathy from the five members of staff they tried to order food from. How far does one go to accommodate. Not an essential service and it really needs two-way involvement to make it work for any one. Little hiccup for one  table as an order was eaten by the new computer. Resulted in a staff member being chased out of the kitchen…….oh the stress. Every now and again some one came up to me and offered condolences. A life ended and life goes on, a strange mix to deal with. Some good conversation at the end of the evening in the peace and quiet of the aftermath.

This morning, back on the phone, and major gold mine discovery of marriage certs, birth certs, marriage banns, telegrams, triggering lots of memories, then off to work..or to the Inn at least. Through contacts, made it to a minister, and put the internment a step closer. Felt so strange serving so many people, hearing the music and then arranging a funeral just out of the sounds of every day enjoyment. Still lots of political chat going on and the belief we are on the road. So many people visiting from across the world are genuinely interested and even excited about what is happening here. Land reform and ownership is a hot topic. Is it possible for one country to keep another one but only to one country’s advantage and expect things just to continue as before? So the afternoon goes on and Judith is able to deal with the Michelin Guide inspector and everything continues. He left impressed. Gets a little hairy for a while and the odd small chips gets left out. But the compliments keep flowing in from the Belgians, French, Americans and even from Sri Lankans.

The evening was slightly quieter and I was allowed to go home to continue to put a couple of more pieces into place for Wednesday. Still depends on a couple of things slotting in. As per usual one drifts back into the past and taking the dogs out think how different I live my life from my parents. I scrap, argue believe in different ways of doing stuff, have less respect for establishment but probably all based on my upbringing. Just manifests in a different way. The main difference is not having the unquestioning faith in the ultimate truth and trying to pass it on to the next generation. Still  from a distance the only regrets I have is the inevitable pain I caused during my mild teenage rebellion. Now enjoy the insights my upbringing has given me to a way of life too often ridiculed as from another age. The passing of an era causes turbulence to anyone close to that passing. Sleep well tonight, I think so is my mum.

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What is Happening?

Just in from letting the pups out for there last wander on a day which is quite hard to take in. Listening to a couple of owls chatting to each other, one towitting and his/her mate answering with a towhoo. Began yesterday, if that makes any sense, stopped off to vote on the way to work at the Inn.

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Boss out being wined and dined so left to Heather, Euan and myself on an easy night with not too many guests to serve. Naturally split the tables and I ended up down the far end and after seeing off the Pennsylvanians and Texans the Parisians and the guys from Marseilles settled in When I got to know where they all came from I announced it to them when the wee biker chappie on table 8 stuck his hand up and claimed Dundee. Good banter which involved a photo of him wearing only his shoes taken at Sand. A tradition and interrupted by a group of six tourists wandering over the next dune and stopping in their tracks. The photo was taken from behind by the way. Nipped out for a sunset shot.9Q7Q9520

Later on a herd grazing out side the back door, going to be even more as the Alt Beag gets closed off less ground for them.

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Home in plenty of time to settle down for a results night. I lasted until one before retiring to bed with the radio on. Did not believe the exit poll but was woken up about half hour later to Glasgow cheering and ended up down stairs watching STV in disbelief for the next three hours. Us Scots are a bit unfathomable at the moment but we are certainly activated and whether one agrees or not that has to be good. Managed a couple of hours before getting up to fuel the Auk and then make it out on the water for a fine day of fishing. The day was fine, unfortunately not so the fishing but to be expected and pressure on as we ran out last night. just goes to show these SNP chaps are pretty good, even the weather has changed for the better, no wind and blue skies.

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Shore Street, seagulls

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first fulmar of the year

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and the resident seals

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all enjoying the politics of the day. Not missing out are the bees piling in the pollen.

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Change on our own patch with a stalwart Charlie heading off into the sunset. Must admit to mixed feelings although glad I met our new Rep, Ian Blackford, about the MoDs plans. The radio being on all day it was wall to wall analysis and resignations and confusion. Basically no one has a clue what is going to happen next. I suspect we are on a road similar to the Norwegian’s process of self-determination. Remember listening to Lesley Riddoch giving us a history of how it happened for them. So long as it remains positive and peaceful I am all for it.

Took my Referendum flag back out when I went up the road to land the days catch and had a mess about. Politics is a serious business but you must have some fun as well as long as no offence is caused. And then it was back up to the Alt Beag,

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Dougal and Elidh’s favourite walk at the moment.

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Only takes two minutes for him to get into a right old state

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but he does enjoy running over through and under the brash.

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Sweet chilli squats and an evening of Question Time and snoozing to finish of a day that will live in the mind for a long time. So good to see UKIP getting less than 2% of the vote up here, we are a little different, not better just different and we may be at a fork in the road. So far it is exciting and as long as you stay clear of the fringes of all sides it seems to be respectful. The UK result….well we will see but it involves people in power with a different mindset from me. The one big gap in this election campaign for me was the total lack of how do we live within our environment, where is climate change, how do we carry on in a sustainable way? Keep it simple, fishing tomorrow and the Inn over the weekend, summer work load has arrived.

 

 

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