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

Life goes on amidst the swirl of rumour, opinions and now petitions. The petitions, I think there are two, are curious in that one seems to be aimed at older folk asking them to sign for a status quo and another that appears fine . I did laugh at the comment that he could not sign that one as they he was more a Rolling Stones man.There is a strange covering note on both saying that no one has been consulted by the Community Company or the Community Council on ” the activity orchestrated in the press about the management of Applecross Estate.” I say strange because the ACC has issued a statement to the community and The Council met on Tuesday and only 8 members of the public turned out and there was a reasonable discussion that involved “if necessary there will be a public meeting if there is a known demand for it”. There should be clear knowledge within the community that both the ACC and Council could not consult with the community as they had not prior indication of the campaign, which was orchestrated outside Applecross, and once the campaign became public knowledge both have reacted. Personally speaking their reaction has been very measured in comparison to others. Understandably there is a huge amount of emotion and feeling of an outside threat to the community in some quarters but in most of my conversations many people do not realise that the problem has not been created for the community but for the Trust. I have been involved in stramashes in the past and think that ,for me , the best and sensible way to look at all this is put it in a timeless perspective. What will people be talking about in 20/30 years time? If this fades away or even if there is momentous change I do not think there will be any statues erected on what is happening at present.That does not mean to say that I am immune to stressing out and have missed a couple of breakfasts over all this, but I could do with losing a few pounds anyway. The land court case in Toscaig of yester year comes to mind when Alec “s horse was accused of eating Tormod Mor’s grass on his croft. It brings a smile now but there must have been a lot of angst and taking sides at the time. The beauty of this campaign is that it is directed at the Trust and they, with or without the support or consultation of the community, do have to act. They either accept or dismiss the applications. The main thing I like about the campaign is that it has shown that Applecross, although in decline over decades, still has a vibrant and active, thinking community. The slightly worrying aspect is that the campaign has been misunderstood locally. While there are calls out with the Council and ACC to put more local representation on the Board that is not what it is about. I asked for that over 6 months ago and similar calls have been made over the previous decade. Mine was simply to improve communication during the negotiations for the Hydro scheme as Trustees were saying they did not have the information that we had provided then with 6 months previously. I thought having a local rep would improve communications but it did not cross my mind that any influence would be gained. Anyway we have moved on and the request was turned down flat. I always have believed you work with what you have. Going back to the petition I will have to find out if I am allowed to sign it as it seems to be selective and confidential. The wording of one of them is fine by me and I am happy to sign it. It was pointed out a little mischeviously that it is only confidential until the Trustees see the names but of course that should not influence any one’s decision in signing. The over-riding factor in all of this Applecross is not divorced from the outside world, in the past with fewer means of communications and transport outside influences took longer to arrive here and now whether we like it or not we have to deal with, learn and grasp our opportunities in a way that was not necessary in the past. Wishing for the status quo is just that a wish.

Friday saw some torrential rain, both overnight, and during the day, this coupled with a difficult breezy but not windy day meant that I only put a fleet of creels together and went out to shoot it back on the grounds. Thought of hauling a few creels but decided on an easier day of visiting neighbours and chewing the fat. these days are as important to me as making lots of dosh, in some ways more so, because if you have not got the companionship of your fellow-man…. The streams were full and I cannot help thinking about all this electricity that can be harnessed for the good of the community. We will.

Yesterday I went out fishing and find it therapeutic. You are never completely remote for all the storms that swirl around you but apart from meditation I do find being on the water is the next best process for achieving a better sense of equilibrium. The process of hauling creels is very mechanical and not need a lot of conscious decision-making so you can let your mind wander and eventually settle down to a nice rhythm. The creels keep coming on board, the few prawns and squats are dealt with and 450 creels later and a little tired but content this part of the day draws to an end. No matter what day there is always something new, some new light on a part of the land you love. Just something that makes you stop and confirm that there is something good out there.

Off to the Inn after a quick shower and staff tea it was a shift at the Inn. All quiet until 6.45pm when Chris behind the bar mentioned how quiet it was. for the next 4 hours it was full on with customers waiting for tables but almost all happy and i think all were by the end of the night. Working here constantly shows the two sides to everything. A couple were celebrating and wanted to sit on a certain table, but although arranged we lost “control” for two minutes as another customer told Judith about a personal tragedy, another group automatically thought it was their table and sat down at it. So we have this expectant couple booked 6 months ahead, disappointed, this other couple who were leaving, distraught and this other  group blissfully unaware of the drama surrounding them simply loving their night out ,food and company. But again when you looked out of the window and saw this scene these little dramas do rather pale.

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