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

Although spring is my favourite time of year I am starting to question that I have a favourite season as they all seem so beautiful here. I think autumn,with the colours, ever-changing light and rainbows is probably up there. As a fisherman, in the past, autumn has always meant the portent of winter with it is storms and the poor income that follows. Now with a more relaxed view on life I can take in the beauty and the gentle falling away of the growing seasons. I have had two long days at sea in particular friday when I hauled 500  creels and although the catches were not great it does keep your life in perspective. Just being on the water in nature even while working away you gain a sense of peace that no one else impinges on. This is despite major MOD exercises around the boat. At one stage there was a Merlin helicopter flying over head and sonar buoys floating past with the usual naval traffic both above and below going on. As I was hauling off the Range they were content to let me go about my fishing and I was not disrupting the Exercise. Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings were spent at the Inn and again it was a fine mix of conversations with everyone enjoying the food and welcoming atmosphere. This is commented on time and time again and is a tribute to our boss in how we work and look after people.

With all this in mind I have decided to apply to join the Applecross Trust as a member because I want the Trust, Community Company and the people of Applecross to work closer together for the future of the community than we all have done so in the past. I have read some of the press comments about the Land Action Campaign and even accepting it is an emotive subject there is very little illuminating over the past week that has swayed me to pick one side or the other. In fact I do not think there are sides. I was related a conversation based on the “devil you know” concept and the reply was he did not know who the Trustees are or what they think so he thought that argument was pretty baseless.. I do not think that argument is very sensible in that I do not think there are any devils in the debate and we would still be living under feudal law if we did not progress in fear of doing something we did not know what the outcome would be. The issue is simple. It revolves around more community involvement in the decisions that affect the community. I am trying very hard not to say what this is not about but finding this almost impossible when there is so much misunderstanding whether deliberate or not I will never know.It is about having a say however small in what happens in your community. It happens when you elect your community councillors, it happens when you elect your Community Company Board and so on up through the democratic system. Although no one knew it at the time what is happening now began in 1975 when John Wills put the Applecross Estate in charitable trust status. Everything stems from that decision.The community Company boasts how many members we have to show the widespread support through the community, why does The Trust not have the same outlook? I have always laughed when tourists ask me what do you do here especially in the winter.The problem most of us have is finding enough time to fit it all in. Humour is so important in all of this and taking yourself too seriously is a big mistake. I was very briefly on Reporting Scotland and I was told Joe from Ullapool saw me, did not know what I said, but really liked my jacket and wanted the pattern for it so he could get one for himself. Unfortunately for Joe it is original Ecuadorean taken back from there by Calum a couple of years ago so Ailsa will not need to get the needles out.

With the SEA course in mind and reading about Stephen Covey I constantly questions my actions, beliefs and thoughts which hopefully makes me less antagonistic and slightly more thoughtful. One of my constants is that two people can look at the same thing and see it differently and neither have to be right or wrong. I was washing some creels on the pier with the headphones on when I looked up across the bay and saw a rainbow over Camusteel, a shower coming down the Glen, and Blair Douglas playing Kate Martin’s Waltz….need I say more.

Comments on: "Membership Application and finishing with a waltz." (4)

  1. I love the way you write, Ali. Really enjoying these blogs.

  2. Brian Wilson’s allegations in the West Highland about it all being a tax avoidance dodge for the Wills – is that right do you think?

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Hi Neil, “My son and I as joint owners of the Estate have been increasingly worried about what would become of Applecross should anything happen to one or other of us as Capital Transfer Tax would be so high that it would mean that the Estate would have to be sold.” and later in the same letter, “For these reasons and in order to preserve Applecross we thought it would be best to put the whole Estate into the Charitable Trust and this has now been done” written by John Wills in 1975. I am concentrating on how the community can work with the Trust and it is the Trust who should be answering your question.

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