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


Just back from an unplanned trip to Inverness. The morning started off fairly slowly with a bit of reading a new William Boyd book interspersed with book work and getting our e-mails back on-line. Going well with getting the emails sorted and a little reading but all changed at 10.30 with a phone call from Alison. A blow out at 70 mph going through Loch Luichart put the day on a different direction. All was well with getting the van to stop but my last puncture repair did not have the desired effect when Mark and Francis stopped to assist, meaning the spare was flat. Only found out when Mark put the spare on. M and F headed off to town and I got the Inn van insured, fuelled up, and set off east. Picked up Alison and two wheels and headed through, dropped Alison off at her first meeting which was Community Land Scotland. I think we actually ended up having a good day in that after stopping off at KwickFit I signed off the Pier books at the accountants, late but done, another wee shop at Highland Wholefoods and back to pick Alison up at 3.00. Ended up having a good chat with like-minded folk regarding Land Reform in Scotland. Always good to get your views across and explain quietly what is badly wrong regarding land controls in some areas. I’ve met James Hunter before but the first time met up with Peter Peacock and it was good company. Guys from the Coigach were there as well. The suggestion that some legislation may be on the way is indeed good news but I will not hold my breath. On the way back to the van met up with Kay, a one time resident, and she gave us ZuZu,s camera to take back home. Then we set off for a meeting with our new legal beagle and talked over the transfer of the toilets and potential issues regarding the Hydro Project. All very interesting but I struggle holding it together as we go into the second hour, “standard securities,due diligence and assignations” blend into one. I always think after these necessary meetings how we seem to complicate things in our oh so civilised society. The surveyors were on the Hydro site yesterday and the project is progressing to the next stage, planning and finance. It often seems insurmountable but we are still in there.




I went up to have a chat with the surveyors as they made their way across the fields along the intended pipeline and on the way back down looking across the fields tucked into the corner by the trees and in front of the farm steadings you can see the site survey for the turbine house evidenced by the dug earth.

Then it was back to pick up the tyres and meet up with Chris at Starbucks…goes against the grain giving these tax dodgers my money but another informative hour talking about biomass, Coal Shed Pier, district heating systems and politics of the land and communities. 7.30pm saw me putting a new lovely and expensive Dunlop tyre back on the van and it was off west and home. Not before Mark and Francis turned up again, this time on their way home. they passed us,saw the lights by the van and turned back to see that all was ok. Typical Applecross residents,caring and helpful. Quick call into the Inn where the ladies from the North Coast had come down for the Red Nose Dance at the Hall tonight. A step too far for me, a shame because I have n’t heard the Big Field Blues Band for a while. Martin and Paul were getting warmed up at the bar when I left. So all in all what was to all intents and purposes a write off of a day turned out to be constructive and met up with lots of interesting people. Not fishing today anyway as there an easterly gale blowing and has been for two days now. Dougal and family were looked after by Jill but they had one or two extra snacks. Some one made it up onto the kitchen worktop and enjoyed half a tray of flap jack. They had agreed a collective vow of silence by the time we arrived back. Dougal by this time was trying to get into a jar of honey. He always retreats to his “safe place” under the computer desk when he is unsure of his reception and always gets away with it.


Comments on: "Trachles" (12)

  1. Suzanne said:

    You have a really naughty dog. It’s given me an idea though – we’re looking at traditional tales and fables at the school. Dougal needs to learn a lesson, even if only in print.

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Yes he is and any lessons gratefully received. I do think he is a lovely big eejit but if at any time he is OTT or a pest with School or kids please do not hesitate to let us know.

      • We agree and are not concerned really, but What Dougal Did Next is our theme next week (I think the interest in Dougal’s behaviour grew when he ate the winning petrol pump art)!!

  2. Starbucks “tax dodgers”? Oh! Remind me why ACC is registered as a charity and trades through a subsidiary!

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Very simple to reply to that Neil. ACC run by volunteers providing services to the community that in many cases were previously provided through taxes and all “profits” ploughed back into community social enterprises. Only a personal view but I do n’t think the world is best served by unaccountable corporations that hold countries to ransom for the sole purpose of getting even more wealth and power.

      • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

        That is one thing I have to agree with is that he does have a varied diet.

      • Alasdair, ACC’s website refers to a full time Local Development Officer funded by HIE and a part time DO funded by the CCF so I’m not sure it’s entirely accurate to say that ACC is “run by volunteers”. If it’s just that the website is out of date and this funding has now ceased and you’re all now carrying on as volunteers, then I will take that point back unreservedly.

        More importantly, I credit you with being a more thoughtful sort of person than to come out with cliched guff like “unaccountable corporations that hold countries to ransom for the sole purpose of getting even more wealth and power”.

        Global capitalism may not be perfect but you can’t imagine that by tucking yourself away in a corner like Applecross you can deal solely with local companies like ACC or the village shop etc. The community council mithers about Highland Council withdrawing the snow blower on the Bealach but where does its diesel come from? What about the diesel that goes into your fishing boat – it may come from crude drilled by ExxonMobil for all you know?

        Who is ACC going to sell its electricity to eventually? Not SSE, I hope which has a criminal conviction for doorstep mis-selling.

        The directors of Starbucks are not guilty of human trafficking, just acting astutely and legally to maximise the returns to their shareholders. A large percentage of whom are pension funds and insurance companies meaning ordinary people like you and me have a vested interest in their performance. If my pension fund was invested in Starbucks, I’d be bloody annoyed if they didn’t take all legal steps to minimise their tax bill.

      • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

        I am not going to start a justifying comment stream here.
        1. The board are all volunteers and line manage 1 full time and 3 part time employees.That to my mind is “run by volunteers”. Our Trading Company has been set up by volunteers and is run by volunteers.
        2. Funding may bother you but the country funds the private sector/corps who pay minimum wage to workers who need benefits to make the basics in life.
        3.I do n’t subscribe to globalisation but am not going to live in a cave. My beliefs are based on the facts that were are using up our global resources in premise that we have think we have three planets. Our whole ethos is promoting a sustainable future but within a system that seems to becoming increasingly shaky.
        4.Your comments about the diesel….I do as much as possible to use as little as possible. It may surprise you but I set out not to export my prawns to Spain and to a large extent have succeeded.
        5. I want to use the power generated locally but I live in a country that has sold off its assets cheap and these assets have had little or no investment in the last 20 years. We have no option but to sell to the grid.
        6. I do n’t have a pension, I do not have shares, I do not intend to retire, and I often wonder about the morality of companies who have departments to avoid tax but still expect services to be paid for by the country they operate in. From what I understand the States are well ahead of us in the fact that their infrastructure is crumbling while they have a huge backlash to paying taxes. Maybe I’m missing something. My mother, suffering from dementia, is in a home being looked after by amazing people and I willing sold her house to pay for it. Why do people get so wired up about money and inheritance issues?
        Maybe it is my upbringing but I feel very uncomfortable with the way we live our lives in the “developed” west. That is my problem and I have to deal with it, but we live in a world of want and not need.
        I am only replying because I have promised myself I would take the time out to do so as I am genuinely humbled by the number of people who take the time to read my blog. I think we should just agree to hold different views and get on with others things.

  3. Well I certainly agree that we can agree to disagree although there are perhaps more areas we do agree on than you might imagine! For example (although I don’t know where it came from in the context of this debate!!) the thing about having to sell your house to fund your care in old age. I don’t have any problem with that at all. Anyway, I’m happy to leave it there.

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Just another example of people not paying taxes and expecting a service. That was all. Cheers

  4. Ali, in Colombia at the moment, luckily a week after a very ugly conflict which saw the Coffee growers revolt and blocked roads (the one we were in ttoday) the Army and police reacted very heavy handedly. People were killed and mutilated. Now I will not be drawn into an argument BUT these people were harvesting coffee beans at a loss, subsidised by the government, at the end of the day the subsidy was doubled BUT why do we need to enjoy Starbucks & Costa at a certain price in the “western world” while the grafters who supply are struggling? Fair trade my backside! Guess where I will not be going when I come back? BTW still not had a decent coffee in SA, it all goes to feed the Gringos, now I understand Che Guevra’s issues

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Hi Gino, Good to hear from you. Looks and reads like you are on a pretty amazing journey. It is probably because I am on the bottom of the chain (by choice) in that I catch/produce food and serve people I have very little affinity with corps and profits. I do love my coffee but it comes from Highland Wholefoods who I know buy with more than price in mind. Even in this country but it must be far worse round the world….we just treat people like s***t and pay them minimum for food that keeps us alive. Makes you uncomfortable to say the very least. Off for a shift at the Inn, Judy is away for a couple of days. Take care and hello to Fiona.

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