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

Spanish Prawns

Tuesday, if I have caught enough large prawns, means a delivery to The Packing Shed where the prawns get prepared for their flight to Spain. I always find this a little strange, us selling really good local seafood abroad where often Scots go on holiday to eat it, but then life can be very strange. I take them by van round the North Coast Road and drop them off to Ardeslaig where I put them in chilled tanks waiting for the packers in the evening. In good weather there are not many more spectacular routes in the country.This is a view looking down the Sound with Lonbain houses in the distance. There are always changes in lighting every half day when the weather is settled as we rarely get wall to wall sunshine.

One of the views that always gets me is when you come round the corner at Cuaig and you see the road disappearing into the distance with the Torridon hills as a back drop. It is beautiful and bleak at the same time. In the past I have spent a fair amount of time at Cuaig as a friend and previous crewman used to live there and we have a few six-nation sessions in residence.

On the way to the Shed I pass several hamlets and that sums up the lay out of the peninsular. Although Applecross is a 65,000 acre Estate there are only about 200 souls living here and from the south end to Inverbain there are little groups of crofting townships around the coast, mainly in these positions due to the Highland Clearances as the people were cleared from the better land to make way for the sheep to increase the incomes of the laird to sustain their profligate living in the city. The township of Kenmore, pictured above, is next to the Shed.

The Packing Shed itself is beside a little inlet where the Torridon fishermen moor their boats and the operation was started up by these guys as a way of trying to secure a steady market and price for the produce. There have been a few ups and downs on the way but it is really good to know you can always have a method of selling the bigger prawns. It is run as a marketing Co-op and I am charged the cost of what it takes to put the prawns on the market.The prawns have been packed individually by me as they come on board the boat and held in the water until I have enough to land to The Shed. There used to be a regular van run to Applecross to pick our catch up at our pier but we do not land enough prawns to justify that now. There is usually only one packing night instead of the previous four and that shows the decline in our catches.

The Shed houses several tanks where the prawns reside and there is a constant flow of chilled and oxygenated water running through the tanks keeping the prawns live and also slowing down their metabolism keeping their quality for the market. The prices increase in relation to the size and liveliness of the product so all this attention to detail pays in the long run. On the way home it was a quick stop at Sand as I had Dougal and family with me. He is out of the picture making friends with a visiting dog.

Comments on: "Spanish Prawns" (4)

  1. I love being by the sea, my dads an engineer on a boat and seafaring runs in our family, my Grandad only a few years ago worked on a ship in portsmouth-the HMS Victory helping to make authentic fishing nets,…I can’t wait to move back to Essex and be back by the sea, not the most prettiest of beaches I miss the smell and the foot prints in the sand and seeing the fishermen pull up by the peir. 🙂

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      I do not think I could live away from the sea. The fact I have been fishing here for 30 years and hope to keep on doing so even as the fishing gets poorer speaks for itself. Thanks for commenting.

  2. thanks for this, i was wondering what your “vivier tanks” were, how they work, what they look like, etc. i am very very nosey. i am interested in the coop system. not so happy about the decline in your catches, but much interested in your political activism around that. don’t stop.

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      No intention of stopping. It will come and go depending what is happening on the political front.

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