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

Sunday lunch began with Sam and Carolyn  in for a quick drink after a bit of sledging on the Hill and it was part of that conversation that has initiated this post. I have always picked up on environmental issues and one that surprised me last week was the plight of sea lions. I heard in the passing an article on radio4 about a Canadian research programme which is going to try to find the reason why the sea-lion population has declined to its last 10%. As they are specific to the pacific rim and I was lucky enough to see them first hand it got me reminiscing about a trip with Mike and his group into the Broughton archipelago of the NE of Vancouver Island a couple of years ago. The trip was organised by Mike as part of his business of kayaking and mountaineering. Great to benefit from some one’s very impressive organising and also to have a feeling of safety being in the company of a skilled rescuer. Although you had a certain amount of personal responsibility it was not like going fishing where you had to plan for everything. His company runs from just across the road from the Inn.Being interested in the local fishing industry I was fascinated to see the chinook salmon season in full cry. I counted 38 lights of boats after the fish on our first night camping on Kylash beach. From there we headed into the islands across the strait and away from most human activity coming across just a few other kayakers.When we went into the islands we traveled using the First Nation beach middens as the shore line was generally inhospitable for beaching kayaks. These beaches were built up over thousands of years with the discarded shells the First Nations used as part of their diet. We have a site in Applecross that was dug and recorded back in 2000. Sam would have enjoyed some of the lichens, flora and fauna.The scenery was spectacular and although there were ‘interesting’ moments paddling in tide rips and a couple of breezy days the weather was mainly calm and not too sunny, I am a fair skinned west coaster.We had a hard day’s paddling against the tide to get to a water fall. We actually thought it was a lot closer and from there Mike showed us the spectacular sea world of sea lions, humpbacks and back to Johnson Strait where we had a baby orca swim in amongst the group. It leaves you with  indescribable emotions that always stay with you.


The evenings were spent round the camp fire, sounds a bit naff but it was good craic and every one slipped into doing a routine mine being gathering of firewood and the lighting of fires. The trip ended up in Vancouver but after the trip it was a little anti climactic. Brilliant city but still a city. Living in Applecross going away somewhere it has to be special and this was. I hope the sea lions will recover and the orcas which were also having problems.

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