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

A touch of Moro

Friday’s festivities were followed up by a day’s fishing on the Sound and on Loch Torridon. By all accounts there seemed to be a few happy fishermen around in the evening and although not confirmed there were 6/7 lb pollock caught with mackerel making up most of the catch. These competitions held up and down the coast are valuable indicators on the health of fish stocks over the years and the sad fact is that the Plockton competitions in years gone by shows haddock and cod being caught with a regularity that would make todays fishermen green with envy. This comes up time and again in conversations and every one I speak to is in total agreement as to why there are no fish to catch…..the prawn trawl. As was stated on our trip to the Scottish parliament the Inshore Fisheries Act is only less than 30 years old and can easily be modified or in fact admitted to be the biggest mistake in recent history of inshore fisheries management. Until this happens there will be little done in the static gear sector which also needs to put its own house in order. Over the last couple of days I have learned a lot about the world of Moro, through being in the company of Aaron and Sam Clarke. Sam was out on the Varuna on saturday to have a look at how we worked. Really interesting morning where he saw the catching and processing of the prawns, returning of the egg bearing females and the tailing of the numerous squat lobsters. Although he does not sell large quantities of prawns due to price consideration he was very interested in the returning of the berried prawns. Sam is the co-founder of the Moro restaurant in London with his partner Samantha, an eastern style of cooking which has a Moorish influence using cinnamon and other spices from the east. After three fleets Sam felt the effects of the previous evenings entertainment,work and young family so went and crashed in the foc’sle. Thought crossed my mind as I hauled another fleet that a year ago I had never heard of Moro, a successful and popular restaurant in London and today  the owner snoozing for’ard . Wind, not forecast, increased to a force 4/5 south-westerly so headed in after hauling 200 pots for very few prawns. Took Sam back to Toscaig where lunch was prepared, tomatoes,mozzarella,small leaf basil with drizziles of olive oil, fantastic along with some of Aaron’s soused herring, a taste sensation. Only in Applecross. Hard but very pleasant shift in the Inn. Two French families totalling 10 people wander in around 7.30pm were added to the waiting list of 20 customers. Hard, hard work for the kitchen who have been cooking all day to still be cooking at 9.30, but as usual all is well with happy people. There was no danger of me going to the dance at the Hall, recognising I am not as young as I used to be meant that, although tired today  it is still enjoyable. Jill and Annan,Wee Annan and friend, frequent visitors over from Plockton had a pleasant lunch while their boat sat peacefully off Milton.

After a lovely lunch of lobster, squat, crab and mango curry followed by a selection of Aaron’s ice creams it was off home to chase hens back into the run and wander through the autumn garden. Picking apples is one of next weeks jobs as yesterdays wind has blown quite a few off. Although a bit breezy for tomorrow I aim to get half a doz large prawns to Toscaig and try to keep them on the Inn menu. Hope to negotiate with Aaron a tub of kraken ice cream and one of rhubarb and stem ginger. Aah the good life of good food and good people.

Could not resist a photo of the blooming hydrangea which came from my mum’s garden in Kyle, always think these are a living reminder of people especially as they came from a cutting I took myself, one of my few gardening successes.

This photo is also for the ‘pink ladies raft team’ who although were photographed were a bit distant behind the lovely ladies who won.

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