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

Just been hit by a bit of a lurgy. Started at about 2 o’clock yesterday and has really kicked in this evening. Another very, very busy week that has been so varied as well. In the last eight days fishing has taken up four days with seven shifts in the Inn. Jess, the “awesome” Aussie came out last week and this continued my recent theme of seeing what I do and where I live through other people’s eyes. Although she had a fear of being seasick and handling sea life I think Jess really enjoyed the day out. She was slightly surprised about how many prawns go back over the side but at no time did she suggest that we land any of the berried ones. The staff in the Inn, on the very rare occasion a berried prawn is landed, immediately are on the case. Anyway the constant supply of fish, cuttlefish, starfish kept Jess going for the day. The political scene has moved on somewhat in that the SCFF has been formed. That is the Scottish Creel Fisherman’s Federation. Eight associations from around the Scottish coast have come together, with a ninth expected, to represent a large part of the inshore fleet that up till now has had no political voice. Creel boats represent 74% of the inshore fleet and 49% of income, figures that in themselves tell you of our efficiency and lower running costs. These small working units are locally based and are an important contributor to the social and economic make up of small communities up and down the west coast.

Although the Mairead M is not an Applecross boat and lands berries this type of operation has a minimal effect on the environment. So we shall see what this new body can achieve. I still think it is a long haul and my ambition would be to overturn the Inshore Fisheries Act of the 1980s and redress the balance of fishing in favour of the stocks. Ambitious, I know, and not a universal desire among the fleet but I do believe in it.

The Inn has been providing me with lots of great moments and I have been meeting some special people and all you have to do is be kind and look after them and you get so much back. Dick and Joan from the States have been staying at the Inn for a week and they left this morning but their interest enthusiasm and company was second to none. They are a little older than me and I could only pay them the best compliment I know and that is if I ever get to their age I would like to have their energy and outlook on life. It is something we do automatically, finding accommodation for any one who wants to stay in the community and it is met with such gratitude. Last night finding four French people a B&B in Culduie and this followed by their meal of Coquilles St Jacques and Langustines was one of last night’s highlights. Unfortunately all this is tinged with some sadness as Judith and the rest of Vera’s family were called through to Inverness on Sunday as she become very ill. Listening to radio 4 on Monday morning I heard Tori Amos talk about her dying mother and how upset she was but also her mother , part native american, telling her that she will always walk with her ancestors. So even after she dies she will always be with her. It resonated immediately as you think of your own forebears, you remember conversations and visits to your own folk and you keep them alive by just thinking about them and occasionally talking about them.

Went out to Coillighillie today with Dougal and Co to see Tim for Judith and he was talking about the circle of life especially the mother/daughter cycle where at birth the mother is looking over her daughter but the roles are reversed later in life. Today also included hearing a very interesting presentation about the removal of timber from the Estate using the sea route from the coal Shed. This was where coal and lime were delivered in the past and in some ways a return to the less carbon consuming past may be the way ahead to make some of our living excesses more affordable. So on the way back from seeing Tim, with Waterbound by McGoldrick on the iPod walking through the glades of Coillighillie thinking about anything and nothing the Norman MacCaig poem came to mind about Assynt.

Who possesses this landscape?

The man who bought it or

the poacher staggering downhill in the early morning

with a deer on his back.

Who possesses this landscape?

The man who bought it or

I who am possessed by it?

False questions, for

this landscape is masterless

and intractable in any terms

that are human.

Getting used to our new fast broadband. Ironing out the problems as we go along. They seem to be mainly router based and we got our’s up and running this weekend. Alison has completed the application for more funding to roll out the service for the rest of the community next spring. Lots planned for this week. Picking up the bees tomorrow from Audrey with a quick lesson on feeding, fishing may be sparse due to the poor weather but looking forward to going over to Eilean Donan castle on Sunday evening to see Treacherous Orchestra for the first time. Seen just about every one in other bands but not as this unit. So bees, great music and meeting lots more kind people…… I was asked today what more did I want and had to reply nothing. Got a questioning look but what I said was true. And Brunei arrived on Sunday.

Some people are really poor…….all they have is money.

Comments on: "SCFF,kind people and some poetry." (8)

  1. Love your yarns Ali! Makes me miss the west as Ali Rouag would have said you can be quite a philosopher at times!

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Cheers. Sandy and Sheena were over couple of weeks ago with Johnny Dounsie and Donalda and had a good craic with them amidst a crazy work night at the pub. Glad you enjoy reading them. Cheers again.

  2. see you Sunday for great music and love the chat

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Thanks Fiona, Looking forwrad to it pity Alison will be with her Dad for weekend so will miss it. Bees now.

  3. Maggie Stuart said:

    Thoroughly enjoyed today’s thoughts from you! Really hope your bees will settle in – we’ve had a poor year with ours; no honey, no extra hives and no new queens. We’re feeding them again and hoping they will have enough stores to see them through the winter. Do keep posting your progress!

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Got the bees back without incident and they seemed to be ok by the afternoon. They were checking out their new patch. Bees in this area did very well with a swarm being picked up in Lochcarron a couple of weeks ago. Getting them through the winter will be a big achievement for me so here’s hoping.

  4. liked the scff facebook page, a wonderful way to remember my father (a fisheries biologist, scots heritage). poetry, beautiful. lovely trees and happiness, beautiful. thank you so much.

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Just come from the Inn and it is great making contact with all the different people and exchanging views,opinions and just the time of day. Many people are interested in our way of life and I am lucky that I am like minded. Possibly the best, previously unknown, benefit of writing a blog is just that…a meeting people through print. I need to practise writing my thoughts in a more articulate way. I never want them to be sugary but hopefully sincere. This is a long winded way of saying that I find your comments very kind and I thank you.

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