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

Bit of a strange day. Went out this morning on a flat calm sea with a sunrise on the Cuillin hoping to get round as many creels as daylight would allow. Working out on deck getting ready for the first fleet looked up as I felt a sudden breeze from the north-west and before getting to the buoy it had settled into a steady force 4, at least it felt like that. This coupled with a small leak on one of my hauler return pipes and plates that are getting worn meant a stop start motor on the hauler with the rope starting to jump off. There was a short nasty motion coming across from the north of Rona and it did not take me too long in deciding to head for home to land the 3 kilo at the Inn and not do too much for the rest of the day.

On the way out I was listening to Andrew Marr’s Start The Week and in particular to Michael Ignatieff and Mary Robinson. I find many items I hear relate to situations at home. Although you hardly ever hear politicians in power talking about how things are not going to continue to improve in a materialistic vein for the foreseeable future Ignatieff tried and was fairly well shot down for his attempts while involved in Canadian politics. Mary Robinson is always worth taking time out for and was really interested to hear her talk about “meitheal”, the Irish equivalent of “ubuntu”. She described it as a co-operative labour system in rural parts of the country where groups of neighbours help each other in turn with farming work, such as harvesting crops. They in turn receive so the heart of the concept is community unity through co-operative work and mutually reciprocating support. It is a response to social need and she went on to say how the Irish lost this notion going through the madness of the Celtic Tiger Era where buying and showing off the latest gadgets and making as much money in as short a time as possible became all-consuming. They are now going back to this in times of financial distress. It would be great to think we would have this “meitheal” as the driving force of our communities rather than growth economies whatever they mean. I believe that the crofting system was based on this and it is sad to see that it has broken down here, difficult to resurrect but not impossible and things like community broadband will help.Systems put in place for the benefit of all.  As long as we have our establishment in place I suspect we will not be allowed to go to far down this road as it would be  a threat to current status and wealth.Another interesting theme from the program was that you must continue to listen to people and opinions that you do not agree with and this prevents you becoming polarised in your own views, something that is happening across the water in the presidential campaign. You hear views that do not seem to be very well argued but are held all the same. Something that made me smile was the comment that fanatics do not have a sense of humour and living in Applecross I find humour and not taking yourself too seriously is an essential ingredient of life up here.

So it is off to Perth early tomorrow morning to the Salutation Hotel for the CES AGM and catch up with other communities and compare our trials and tribulations with them. Maybe they will not seem quite so overwhelming.

Comments on: "“Meitheal” and a short fishing day." (3)

  1. postmandick said:

    AHhh The idea of you ranting away at radio 4 shouting at the baffoons on start-the-week whilst the submarines listen in Brings a smile to me……..

  2. IJ Finnerty said:

    Hi Alasdair,
    I trust you are doing good.
    Your views on meitheal, and its potential for developing change, resonated deeply with me. I agree the similarity to the concept of Ubuntu is strikingly similar – I am because you are.
    I know of a group who are planning to take things forward as agents of change with the attitude of meitheal.
    Drop me a line if you are interested.
    Best regards,
    IJ Finnerty

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