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

Grand weather now and looks like staying around for a few days. Only settled down on Wednesday and even then there was a bit a breeze coming with the showers from the west. Not a lot happening earlier in the week especially on Monday. Tuesday was a little more productive, was up earlier getting the Filling Station going possibly after a small power cut. Cannot imagine not having a Filling Station here.




Now can remote reboot without having to pester the back up in Dundee. The next fuel delivery phone call came in when I got back home and it was back up the road at two with Zuzu to show her how to take a delivery.


Just routine for me now but it is handy for more people to know the ins and outs. Legally we are obliged to have a competent person at the Station to receive the delivery. Had an interesting chat on the way down the road with a local who knows exactly how much work goes into keeping the fuel going and nice to have an appreciation of what goes on. All the trading standards, electrical certs, competent people to accept deliveries etc are all behind the scenes activities that are needed for the service to continue. Then it was a return visit to the dentist and did not get away with just the tooth out. Have to go back over for a couple more sessions and a telling off in how to clean my teeth properly. Still raining and lots of water about, coming over the dam and filling up Russel burn.


Back in time for the Community Council and fairly uneventful. An item brought up was the absence of a war memorial and also news from our LDO giving an update for the Hydro and an extension to the employment contract. Essential if we are to build the scheme this year. It still is going to be such a hard slog as almost daily there is something new to overcome. Going to have to take decisions soon on the Broadband quickly as the speeds have slowed up. Still far better than BT but that is not saying much. May have to lease another couple of lines, reducing profitability and bearing in mind that Backhaul may be coming along as well as the fibre optic going through Skye and we do not want to be left with lines still in contract but no longer used. Needless to say we will get no help from BT about times and availability, they like SSE answer to share holders, not the nation or communities they are supposed to serve.

Wednesday could have been a day to restart the fishing career but decided to mend and start roping up some creels ready for summer hauls. Geese


and under water boats on view, always something to see.


iPod is in full use as it is not the most interesting of jobs. Dougal and Eilidh came down for the run and routed about looking for mink and or the odd rat. As the creels do not have many holes in them there does not seem to be any about just now. Trip out to the boat late afternoon for some prawns before making up to the Inn. Busy night and guests waiting for tables. Weather forecast shaping up and looking good for the next week or so.


Food great as usual and the night was finished off with a few tunes on the box played by William. Strong local connections and maybe even related William plays a fine box and was accompanied by the Baptist Minister on the drums.


It was dance music and before I left took the floor with Laura for a tightly danced Highland Scottisch. One I really like and you can lose yourself to the rhythm of the music while whirling round the bar. And then home on the bike. Thursday evening was like chalk and cheese. Despite an eleven booked in there was little to keep the front of house occupied. Beautiful weather





and we thought we were going to get slammed around eight but it never happened. Nice wee message left by the family on a table outside. They had been in the previous evening and got stuck into the seafood but on the way out saw the Boss and I having a couple of haddock. They assumed this was a recommendation so turned up on thursday evening and ordered four haddock and a pasta. Seems they went down well. The fishing career has restarted combined with the Inn and getting the gear in shape we have entered summer time at last. Kept this for the next post….a fishing post

Good day yesterday, Friday, well productive anyway. Mainly an afternoon as we went out to the Varuna in preparation for the return of the Auk. I got a phone call in the morning asking for a fuel up so it was the bike and dogs to the Pier. Very quiet morning and almost went out despite the forecast. This was poor, and early as well, boats were back in by eleven so glad did not go out. Was on the Varuna to change the oil, top up the hydraulic tank and change the fuel filter. Generally do not like these jobs but they have to be done. Engine rooms and me not being a small chappie do not go well together. Had trouble getting the filter off and then getting it bolted back up. Usually a knack to these things and I usually find the hardest way to do them. Being scrunched up does not help. Anyway jobs done with half an eye on what was happening alongside as the Auk had turned up and Davie was in the water. He had three moorings to check so looking for the boxes was a handy addition for me. He had a good look before coming across them, hearing the whistle from the engine room, picked them up in the dinghy and then towed Davie over to the other moorings before finishing off my maintenance.

Relaxed weekend so far in that there was a little catch up with some paper work before going out to the Inn and having a surprisingly quiet evening.Lovely weather on the way up the road and stopped just before Milton to nip down to the water’s edge as it was bright and breezy.




Now ten o’clock and six people in the bar. Meals equally quiet especially with three out front and two behind the bar. It balances out over the year I suppose. Spent the last hour or so chatting to the Pitlochry couple before the Boss came back from the Ceilidh at the Hall. The Sunday lunch shift shot by as it was busy in the extreme. Weather between the showers,wintry ones, was cold but fine.


We were cruising along until two when the door open and stayed open for around forty people. The second sitting was rapidly underway. Before this I met Northumbrianlight https://northumbrianlight.wordpress.com in the form of Robin Down. We follow each other’s blogs and occasionally comment. They were on their way to Gairloch for his first ever book signing. A book just published called Golf in the Wild (a journey through time and place). I was given a signed copy and had forgotten I had contributed a small quote to it, not confident enough to put my name to it at the time, how things change. So back home and not too tired, aware enough to nip out and watch another shower race across the Sound with spectacular lighting


and with the new arrivals just messing about oblivious to what was heading their way.


So with the hydro back on stream with very tight deadlines and corners to not so much cut but go round very quickly the news from the MoD is making a few people nervous. My only source for the last couple of weeks has been the WHFP where the was an article that if remotely true spells big trouble for the local fishing fleet. At the moment it is hard to winkle the true nature of the future plans for the Range. We are only receiving information through the local paper and that is through questions asked of the Defence Minister, Phillip Dunne. At present we are not allowed to fish within an area of 26 square kilometres and this is surrounded by an out sea area of 56 square kilometres where there is no dredging or trawling permitted. The following reply raises serious concerns among the local fishermen and will undoubtedly take several boats of the water if allowed to proceed.

“The proposed by-law extension is for a single range area (around 110 square km) in which no fishing activity (including dredging or trawling) will be permitted, although this does include the possible creation of local agreements, that would permit controlled creel fishing or dive fishing in the area”. This map looks great to what is now being reported.



Already the MoD have said that there are no plans to double the closed area and now we find that this is true, they are planning a quadrupling of the area. Make no mistake what they say is controlled creel fishing means we will be denied access to a new Range. This is the history of the 70s repeating itself. “Don’t worry boys you will be able to carry on your fishing activities as before” then quietly in a couple of years we find we are excluded from carrying out our way of life on the basis of some spurious ‘national interest”, testing weapons we cannot ever use. What a crazy world we live in when men of power run roughshod over the little guys just keep their positions of power. Never has the phrase “Emperor’s clothes” meant so much to me. People playing dangerous games with similar people in other nations while the ordinary man is just cast aside, a casualty in some inconsequential power game. I find it bad enough seeing these sinister and useless vessels


plying the Sound but to think I may be watching them from the shore makes me angry. Also the way we are treated by the duplicitous way we are fed information and even misinformation. But this just seems so run of the mill nowadays that lying to the public is now an everyday occurrence. It really is such a mismanagement by man of such a beautiful part of the world. On a practical level I have about 90% of my creels in the proposed closure and so where do I and the other boats in my position go? I have also seen a map released by the MoD through a FoI request where lines are drawn which, if interpreted in a certain way would mean the end of any type of fishing on The Inner Sound. Just do not know what to believe any more.


Half ten at night after arriving home and discovering I was one short found me routing around in the ditch up from the Telephone exchange looking for a pineapple. Sometimes you do find yourself in slightly surreal situations, this came about by letting a car past on the way back from the Inn and performing a slow motion fall off the bike into the ditch with one of my two pineapples coming out of my camera bag…….I have a regular fruit order from the Inn. (Now after eleven on a Thursday and the Inn has stayed busy for drinking after the food had finished. So a late one tonight.)

Been a slightly tricky week so far and nothing I can really put my finger on it. The work level has been very poor in the fishing department, partly through forecasts and lack of motivation. Good to write this as it has come back, mainly through our board meeting tonight. The hydro scheme was the agenda. I have not been posting too much about it up till now as it has been so frustrating seeing it slowly fade and potentially collapse, due to us missing deadlines for pre accreditation, this basically meaning that the FiTs are now regressing and our income levels along with profit levels projected were getting close to high risk even past this point. After tonight’s meeting without giving too many details it is looking positive again and basically we have picked the right contractors who have our interests at heart. There is a mammoth amount of work to get through very quickly to make it happen but it is back on course.

Earlier this week was pretty flat and we have not left the moorings for a haul, some excitement provided by Dougie Vipond and Landward.


This followed by a fine evening’s entertainment in Kyleakin. Not often I have been able to say that. Almost forgot to mention I made it down to Barley Port for a cup of coffee and a wee ceilidh.


Landward came about from a phone call from Bally asking about elderly fishermen’s tales. They are doing an hour-long special on inshore fishing and were looking for the “what used to be here” angle. I found that easy to give as I have spoken over the years to now retired fishermen and made a point of speaking to Donald before I headed over the Hill. A very quick hour passed, made easy by the relaxed attitude of everyone including Dougie. And despite a little interlude involving the local fishermen passing up and down the Slipway. When you pull together the stories of how bountiful the seas were off our shores it makes for sad reminisces. From there it was over to Martin and Karen’s and before you know it’s half nine and ready for a trip home. Came away feeling replete after a fish pie that could have been served at the Inn, a slide Martin converted for the blog of my Seanair, Finlay,

snoddy 1

and a couple of events that will break up the summer nicely. This photo was taken, I guess, in the late fifties as he died late seventies at 91. Drove round the back of Plockton just for a change and for once I was early so decided on a whim to take a right past Duirnish. Met up with Willie for the first time in a wee while and then on to Lynne and Darren’s. Time flew by and just made it to meet up with the Landward crew.

Health with an energy sapping bug kicked in for a couple of days that involved very little gardening and lots of Sons of Anarchy and finally came out of the fug this afternoon and as usual Dougal makes me get out of the house and onto the bike for a wander down to the Craig Darroch.


Lovely weather,


views and company of dogs.


They are good for the mind and do get one sorted out. On the health front the Doc may be on the right track when I have more days off painkillers than on them. Sounds not a big achievement but believe me over the last three or four years this is such a huge improvement. Excited enough to keep a wee diary of what I take now, before I did not want to know as I knew I was close to safety limits in order to function.Luckily the weather is fine and there are lovely evening lights on the go.


Now one in the morning, Friday, and it is slowly getting quieter, reckon there is still an hour left to go, the life of a bar person. Forecast genuinely bad for tomorrow so there is no pressure in the morning. Keep smiling and it is a very happy bar, lots and lots of laughter as the Germans meet the Aussies. Guinness, lots of malts, wine and the White drink for the non-English speaking mother, eventually deciphered as Pernod and lemonade. A good night for food and company, just general bonhomie. When the customers give you hugs and handshakes as they leave you know job well done. And of course the board meeting going on well in the dinning room helps the uplifting feel of the night. No one made it through to Inverness today to attend the Trust meeting, it is during the day and eighty miles away with all the board working over here so it just not practical.

And this morning started with a phone call from Tornapress for diesel for the Auk which was duly delivered and another fine morning it has started out to be.


Even had vague thoughts about going to sea but the forecast has turned out to be right and there is a brisk wind going up the Sound and I would be back on the moorings by eleven.

The Wedding

Saturday morning and up not at the crack of dawn. The dogs were out for the morning stroll and ablutions when out west I heard the echo of a sonorous fog horn. The Sound was half covered in a thick fairly unseasonal fog. Immediately thought of “Snow Falling on Cedars”, the story based around an unfortunate accident at sea. In a calm foggy night a fisherman was thrown off his mast doing a repair by the wash of a passing freighter.He clipped the gunwale on the way down and was unconscious when he went into the water. Brilliant book and film and it was the atmosphere of the cam and fog that brought it to mind. So it was finally wedding day and although quiet it stayed dry and improved as the day went on. Guests


arriving to the sound of the pipes,


setting stunning and very Scottish, mist, glen and pipes.


Lovely simple humanist ceremony at Clachan, followed by canopies and hog roast at the VT. One or two photos taken, I know I could never be an official snapper and only took the one posed. Quite pleased with it though.


Nipped down the road, called in to the Inn, busy but not silly, and took the dogs out.


Back up to the ceilidh and a fine one it was, to the tunes of Iron Midden.


Despite not drinking I find these events go just fine and can enjoy the craic and gossip with anyone.


When I gave the booze a miss around ten years ago it was quite hard work as a lot of Highland socializing involves a fair bit of alcohol, or at least mine did. Usually helps to be doing something or organising to help the evening along but seeing guys from many years ago


all together and chatting politics, land issues


and great banter with lots of laughter and reminiscing,


the time just flew by.


Of course there was the odd dance or five to get through, Orcadian strip the willows, dashing white sergeants, eight some reels and the odd boston two-step. Made it to the end of them all but could have done with an oxygen tank to recover with in the corner. Managed to head off as it thinned out towards the end of the evening.


Home just after the witching hour and the advantages of not drinking come into play at the end of the evening.

Easter Sunday and pretty full on, heard some one say that we passed the 180 lunches by half two and there was still another six hours for me and a few more for the rest of the staff to go through. It was a fine day, bright sunshine and just warm enough for eating outside, which made it easier for us but kept the kitchen on its toes. But the food kept coming out and was superb, been a while since I have heard so many compliments. The dover sole was impressive. If not so busy the camera would have been out. In amongst it all there was a flat battery to sort out and with the help of Padgett’s leads, the Inn van we soon had them underway again. Left about the back of eight to enjoy a fine mint chocolate chip ice cream before another chat and a plan for the upcoming Cambridge Folk Festival. Andy and Jill are our guides, the music line up speaks for itself and the weather will not matter. Looks like this will be the annual holiday for the year. Events such as the Community Land AGM will break up the summer nicely. The sunset was sublime


for the journey south on the bike


and Andy and Jill had a fine walk out to Ardban to finish off their weekend.


Monday morning saw me up bright and breezy to sell prawns to a Russian, a lady married to an east coaster who come this way every year. Not many and really just a wee favour as I could not do it yesterday, they normally grill them in Applecross but took these ones away with them in the morning. The rest of the day did not really happen with a breeze from the south making it a bit uncomfortable to fish, just use up my reserves.

Tuesday’s wee excuse was a meeting up with Landward to say how wonderful the fishing is in inshore waters, just feeling a little sarcastic when I think back into the past and what we had fishwise from shoals of pelagic, salmon and white fish and now it is bottom feeders. Gets me out of the house anyway.

After the excitement of Farr, Saturday morning started early with me counting out prawns for sending South. All a bit of a palaver but needs must. May get to be a little old running around doing little sales. Used to grow scallops, both king and queen, oysters, catch a few crab but now it is down to prawns and squats. Busy little time over the weekend, both Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. Sunday saw the musicians over from the other side of the Hill and it was a fine afternoon of music,


pipes, whistles, fiddles and even the odd banjo. The chappie on the banjo was tall but we reckoned it was the cap that did it, must have been 6.8ft and a Geordie to boot.


Seemed a little chaotic as they all arrive settle in and the general running off the Inn carries on. A bit of table swapping and good humour, everyone settles down to the music and food. Made it to five and with everyone back from breaks it was home to a fine Macaroni and cheese away from the mayhem. film crew has arrived in town, arty film based on an Italian artist and examining our relationship with the environment and so with each other. Both do not seem to be going too well at the moment, read recently that the Gulf Stream is at its weakest in recorded history due to Greenland ice melt and just go across the world and go through half of Africa, Middle East and Eastern Europe to see the similarities.

Think I wrote the above on Wednesday evening.It has just been one of those weeks where everything and nothing goes right and before you know it you are dashing out a post before going to the local wedding of the year. Beginning of the week was a little knocked over by a mini version of the bug going about, as there was bad weather did not mind and a few creels were mended


before the wind turned to the north-west and blew.


As Alison was on her work break in Germany company was the Dougal and as ever very entertaining.



Unfortunately the result being that in the resulting motion I have more prawns on the sea bed. Just back from an unsuccessful recovery mission so another favour being asked for next week from our visiting divers. Yu realise that there are many types of fitness and diving fitness is one I have grown out of. Cheesed off that I have found another way to lose them but in the grand scheme of things no great loss and I hope to get them back mostly intact so I will tuck that away. Outboard engine in for repair at Gaelforce and an interesting row out to the boat for prawns with a helping hand turning up and gratefully received, to give me a tow across against the wind. Wind settled on Thursday and it was a gentler row across and a few creels lifted before another shift in the evening at the Inn. These rows again are an indication of how we have drifted one step away from nature. On Thursday afternoon I was followed and watched by over a dozen seals.

9Q7Q9130 They kept swimming alongside me, popping heads up and darting of under only to reappear on the other side. It was a nice start and end to the day. Must do the row more often as it is so much more peaceful than buzzing about with the motor.


The Wednesday and Thursday shifts busy but not too silly although Thursday had a stag night under way by the time I left and a 21st kicking off. Busy weekend when you throw in Easter.

Friday was a day when the forecast got it very wrong. They kept telling me that there was currently light winds and later a pickup from the north-west again. I got 200 up before getting fed up and heading in.


The fishing still not too bad, I have hauled 500 for less so the Inn is well stocked and todays couple of boxes will see them through the weekend. A little aside, a visitor caused a mild panic when he called the Inn to tell us that he had filled up at the Filling Station and had to spend £150 to sort his engine from the water content. I wonder if people think that just because we are in the country we do not run our operations properly, almost a psycological way of thinking. As a result I confirmed what we already knew by pasting the bottom of the dip sticks with a magic formula which turns red if there is any water content. Good to see no turning, the tiny dots of red you can see is the misty Scottish drizzle. So it is a case of “not us Gov”.




A busy day culminating in the arrival of a blast from the past in the form of Andy and Jill. Andy crewed on the Emma Goody before heading back south to Cambridge and is up for the wedding this weekend. Before I settled in to cooking a prawn and squat Thai curry, with  help from the Inn, noticed a lovely end to the dipping sun over the south end of Raasay.


So despite bugs, lost prawns, poor weather, we are still battling on, sometimes it just feels like that. The wedding now and a busy weekend ahead, music will be good as Iron Midden are coming over and the skies clearing a bit.

Farr Conversations.

This is the sort of post you would really like to write in situ trying to capture the buzz of the evening but needs must and it was a long trek home but so worth the effort. By the time I was on the road on Friday all seemed well. Big improvement on the head front, tooth healing up nicely so with Dougal for company it was over the Hill in an easterly direction. Coming up to Craig the scenery was a good excuse to stop and take a wee shot.


Obviously beautiful but peaceful as well with few cars passing. Dougal a little reluctant to get back in but I knew he had not long to go before his regular stop at Rogie Falls.


He enjoys the new smells along the paths but does not like the bridge so have never made it across the Falls yet with him.


He was happy enough to go up the river with me. Then it was to the vets where he was put on a light steroid for an irritated foreleg and also purchased an organic tick tablet lasting three months. Should have had him on a lead as he made an escape before getting up on the table. Rest of the day involved a bit of shopping and dropping off an outboard before meeting up with Alison and her dad, Raymond, a meal and out to Farr.

This was the main event of the day, the rest is just a west coast way of justifying a trip east by cramming in as much as you can. After another Dougal walk round the shinty pitch it was into the Hall with the other 300 and settle into an evening of music and chat.


Lurach had the evening off to a fine start, well after the coffee and cakes which seems are a tradition at Farr. Fiddles and Whistles before Julie Fowlis and her man, Eamon, came on stage for an enthralling spell of Gaelic song from the Strathdearn and Strathnairn area.


Interesting how she over rode her strong feelings to sing her native island songs and turned the evening to a project and research of songs of these parts. The voice and accompaniment have been reviewed by many people but suffice to say you could not hear a pin drop as the songs became part of you. The connection to the land is so powerful as is the sea and hearing this through music is the ultimate. The land is ours.


Then it was Lesley’s turn and although I have now heard her speak on a few other occasions there is always another aspect to travel along. The land reform package proposed as well as the Community Empowerment legislation is not the most radical moves in the west, but the reaction to it tells a story. painting Sturgeon as a communist is laughable and it is more interesting to hear the story from Durness. There they have been told that there will be no “development” and the good reaction to that is a proposal to take control themselves. That is the people who are living on the land, not the new owner based in Liechtenstein. The psychology of land, land ownership and land is so hard to break into. The fact that some one distant owns land for decades or centuries does not give him/her the right to carry on in perpetuity especially when you wander across the Highland and you see land degraded in the extreme. You also know that this has only taken place in the last two centuries. A chat with Jim Hunter at Ullapool comes to mind when he told us that he is doing yet another study on Strathnaver, this time about the abundance of wildlife that coexisted with the then human population in the Glen. It shows up this new “wilding ” map where there should be a wilderness. If you superimposed another map on top of it, that is the pre Highland Clearance map of where folk lived, you find that this is a well populated area of rivers and glens. Where as Lesley pointed out if you walk along a certain river in Caithness you will be guaranteed to meet a water bailiff within minutes.


The theme of “it is our land” was referred to time and time again and it is. Ours in the sense it no ones and every ones. Reminds me also of how far off track we have travelled and how careful new legislation has to be. Although LVT is not on the table at the moment it is an aim for many who see this as a means to stop land speculation. Side note why should land be so expensive? Why should the younger generation be excluded from owning a house through the unavailability or affordability of land? Going back to LVT, speaking to good friend on the Black Isle who could be caught in an unintended consequence of LVT. The aim of this tax would be to lower the cost of land, laudable in itself and allows more younger people access, but if you are running an agricultural business funded by loans backed by land as collateral, what happens when the value of that land comes down and the bank gets worried about the collateral behind the loan? I think I will stay local as I see too many greys in the picture, admire the people who see their convictions in black and white. Applecross got a mention at Farr and there is so much out there it is portrayed as an example of an outdated, unsustainable way of managing a huge land mass. No amount of PR can change that and going by conversations here and outside there is a stronger sense of capacity and well being at last emerging through the rural parts of the country. The drive home after an evening like that, although two hours plus, passed in no time despite the numerous “wild animals” crossing the road.


Last three days have been full of interest and hopefully some improving health. First the interest, well I find it interesting. The weather has helped in that the Rona broadband station was needing some work on it. Sean supplied with configs and other info along with some hardware came on board at 7am for another trip to the island. Uneventful trip across on a calm sea but with a northerly forecast imminent.


Not too worried in that it would be mostly on our stern on the way back. All went well at the mast and I managed to make myself useful in a small labouring way. snipping tie wraps and undoing stays and bolts to lower the mast, now with out the turbine.


The mast is now connected to Bill’s power supply and that is working well. Sean found three problems, cabling, the nano station and tough switch all needing replaced. So back down the hill after an admiring look around at the fine views.




Can see the Varuna tied up alongside the pontoon. Always love the perspective for afar. Shows how tiny we are in the grand scale of things. Next it was on to the “summer house” to fix the signal there. unfortunately this did not go so well. Not entirely sure what the issue was but Sean was hoping it could be fixed remotely as he got one of the stations up. Difficulties arise when our expert is working in London and our communications systems could be better, but texts did get through. Think Sean’ concentration could have been helped if there had been less chatter down below. Bill and I almost always try to discuss and have ideas to solve our land issues. Bill has a great working relationship with his Danish landlady and has a slightly different view on land matters, but not that different. He is as puzzled as anyone as to why our Charity cannot see the wood from the trees. Been a while since he spent any time over our way but was suggesting solutions to the foresting contacts as far back as the 90s, the same solutions that are needed now. With Sean having done as much as he could we headed off in bright sunshine


but with the stiff northerly up and running.




The Auk was fishing/diving off the Blind Sound and soon followed us in as their dive time would have been completed. Soon caught us up coming down the Sound. Mind you I am fuelling them up again on Thursday morning.


From the boat it was straight to the dentist, this time on the right day.


To cut a long story short, a quick inspection, a decision taken, numbed up, followed by a ten minute wait in the waiting room before going back in for an extraction. Cannot remember my last one and the build up for the dentist when he mentioned it might take some removing as the roots were quite spread. But all I can say is that living in rural Applecross we are so fortunate to have such a good dentist service just over the Hill. Tooth was whipped out, examined and reassured on right decision, before going back over the Hill with swollen face. The fact that I had no pain and swelling came down really quickly is testament to the dentist Parson’s skills

Wednesday was a rapid round of creel hauling and managed 300 hauled before the breeze increased from the south. Couple of the fleets produced some fine langoustine and made for a break even week. For the first time I ran out of battery power in the camera and missed a couple of nice shots on the way in of a flock of eiders and seals sunning themselves on a still low tide.The forecast for the rest of the week looks poor and again into next week. Which is a bit unfortunate as Bill and Lorraine are getting married in the Church Cave on Rona on Monday. We all wish them well and again are appreciating all their efforts in keeping our broadband going round the North coast. The day’s fishing would have been far more enjoyable if the breeze had been a little less but more if my head had been behaving itself. Try not to mention it too much but as part of the “rural story” it has been bothering me a lot recently. Wednesday, an example, taking far too many milligrams of paracetamol to function, coming ashore, lying down for an hour then going to the Inn for an evening shift and waking up the next morning to my first action of the day another painkiller. So up to the Surgery for a consult. And hopefully I do not embarrass our Doctor with too much praise it was nothing short of brilliant. Good down to earth discussing my pain, all the potential issues and solutions. Along with reassurances about my current level of painkiller take up I left with two set of tablets which hopefully will cut down my previous intake. I am sure there is physcological aspect to the visit, some probably not quite placebo effect but knowing that some solutions are being sought. Have to say that we are well served here in Applecross with health measures, certainly at my age and chronic pains, head and teeth. We are lacking in some elderly care and that is being worked on. So with the weather poor, and this morning pain and painkiller free, looking forward to an evening at Farr Conversations, with Lesley Riddoch and Julie Fowlis. It was only last night before I started to look forward to it as the pain receded. Although a bit fuzzy last night and worked round a couple of mistakes it was an easy night and was able to relate to the customers and not through a pain barrier. Too soon to say but a huge improvement on yesterday morning.

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