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

More Goodbyes

It has been a full last few days even with a lot less fishing taking place. The weather has broken and autumn has definitely arrived with strong winds and rain. Only out on Wednesday but the fishing was not too bad despite large numbers of berried prawns on the grounds. there seems to be a little more quantity this year of all sizes and Wednesday’s catch has lasted through till now. The extra-large in the Inn are raising amazed comments and one or two arguments about their identity. Although it was a wet dull day it was also very quiet and peaceful and 500 creels were hauled. The evening, at the Inn was busy and Jill was on her night off with Judith still out of commission but all went well even with the little blip in the middle. A  spectacular seafood platter and a bottle of Proscetto resulted in a warm hand shake and a hug, so all ended well.

Thursday afternoon saw us head down to Dumfries to say goodbye to Margaret. Needless to say in Applecross with the weather beautiful and 300 miles away you are not caught up in the immediacy of the emotion and loss of the people close to her but that was to change. On the way over the Hill the views were breath-taking and I had to stop on the bottom hairpin to take a moment out. No wonder this has made the National Geographic as one of the top six routes in the world.

Arrived after a fairly uneventful trip although a turn round Stepps and going in to Dumfries from Lochmaben was uncalled for but you must remember I am a teuchter. After staying the night out at Kirkpatrick Durham and a good chat about the pros and cons of sovereignty and independence,unresolved, we went back to Dumfries. I left early as Ruariadh wanted an extra 10 mins to tune up his pipes so checked out the destination and delivered him to a nearby lay by to tune up. Arriving with most of the crematorium full it was a quick entrance and sit down before Ruariadh entered leading the coffin in playing Leaving Lochboisdale. Suddenly through the sound of the pipes you were physically transported to the sense of loss and emotion of the moment and literally left breathless as you realise why you are truly there. Raymond read a hill walking poem which spoke of hills, herons, ptarmigan stillness and scenery but the last three verses were so poignant.

I pick a careful,solo path

across the boggy bits

of hill, trying to look ahead

to walks without you.

I shake my head and look away:

the prospect is dizzying,

it is so blank and bare.

Heaped up snow is in the air.

The silence is all-enveloping

here on the moss today.

This reading along with Ruariadh reading the eulogy meant that I have never been in the company of so many tearful men a testament to the little lady. Kenny and I working on saturday meant that a long haul up the road after tea and lots of kind words was in order. Arrived back about 10.30 pm to find that Jill had done a fine job with cat dogs and hens all thriving. Day involved landing the rest of Wednesday’s catch, washing a fleet of creels and working in the Inn. Good evening despite the weather, The Bealach Mor had to remove the Hill from the race on safety grounds because of the wind speeds. The season has taken a bit of a dip as the schools have gone back but busy enough for customers to have to wait for tables. And the Swedes were still playing music when I left after 11 pm. It was another goodbye in that our doctor Mark is away next week. Another little era over and it was good to get the opportunity to say good-bye. I know most of the community have a lot to thank him for and appreciated his time here. Although I they are still called our boys it has become apparent they are now our “men”.

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