After saying goodbye to Carol on monday, I headed back home only to go back over the Hill to see Andy Wightman in Lochcarron. He was doing a talk about land issues and ownership in Scotland. Fascinating talk and good chat with him after. What first got him really interested in land was when he was doing a degree in Forestry in Aberdeen he went to a talk given by the then Scottish Landowners Federation. He was already working as a ghillie on the hills of Scotland so had lots of contact with landowners. It was about the time that Terry Wogan, Phil Collins etc were planting up the Flow Country with conifers with grants and tax breaks. He asked the question why were already rich absentee landowners receiving these additional benefits instead of giving them to the people who were living locally. He was taken aside by his prof and told not to ask awkward questions. That set him on his current path. Lots of interesting facts about public debt and land speculation coupled with some positive solutions to young people denied access to land due to cost.
Staff is a little short on the ground this week and as it is Applecross Games weekend this puts added pressure on every one and tests us to the limit. Done three session so far this week and with another three to go and a day to catch prawns I am not sure what day it is. Little scenario last night when people who had booked did not get the table they wanted and when they wanted it. And from then on it was down hill with them being quite abusive to the staff. Judith pulled them round with free drinks and chat and they left with a bottle of wine but not before more digs at extremely hard-working staff. Speaking to a few very happy people who were content to wait,enjoyed the busy friendly atmosphere, very complimentary to and about the staff and food and it struck me that the guys who went off with free wine were the grumpiest, most bad mannered customers of the evening, the others left happy. I know which I would have prefered. On the positive side the food was top quality as usual and this was an excellent Seafood Platter for three on Wednesday.
Managed another trip to Inverness to attend another fishing meeting about our faltering Fisheries group. Already our co-ordinator is gone and our Chair will have gone by today. Marine Scotland seems to have dropped the ball despite our attempts to give it back to them. Positives were us standing up to the bullying of the Pelagic boys and preventing an extremely biased new Chair being appointed. A lot of the meeting was taken up by the mobile sector on the west coast complaining about the large east coast boats using up the prawn quota and they are worried that the fishery will be closed by the end of september. It must be interesting for them to feel like the creelmen feel when they are dealing with them. The creelmen see the inshore trawl destroying the creel grounds and that is sustainable fishing but when bigger boys come on ‘their’ ground it is a different matter. Just having a little cynical moan and this was compounded by the total horror when a biologist was suggesting that we could work with him concerning the setting up of a Marine Protected Area. Some fishermen feel that science is only good if it agrees with their opinions and I had to listen to a fisherman’s leader say that fishermen knew best and fished traditionally and well for the last 50 years. Of course he could not tell me where the fish were and I did not waste my time asking. Still even on the busiest of times you still can take in the awesome scenery around here.
Lots more going on including the social media campaign for our GP practice. Facebook is certainly busy. More of that later.