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

Wednesday and thursday were days that seemed seasons apart. Both were hard work in their different ways. Forecast was for a decreasing north-westerly in bright sunshine and with prawn supplies at the Inn in a precarious state coming up to the May bank holiday week-end went out about 9 ish and headed north to Sand. Uneventful day on the fishing front with very little fishing activity and only what I think were the remnants of last weeks NATO exercise heading north.

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Unfortunately the forecast was not quite right and the northerly breeze continued and is a very awkward wind for a single-handed boat to work. Anyway with enough on board it was off in early afternoon and the Inn in the evening. There was enough warmth in the early evening for some hardy souls to eat in the garden. This was my first shift this year where we had the flags out although they were on the go earlier this week.

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Martin came out yesterday on a fact-finding mission and with a bad forecast, miserable weather, cold and wet, and a last fleet that was shot over from end to end, the company and chat was a good diversion. Having very similar outlooks on life we had very little to argue about and although chilled through by the end of the day the time passed well. Conservation and fishing methods were the theme of the day and everything that was not kept on board and went back over we saw how much returned to their own environment alive. Fleets on the middle bank picked up a variety of fish, wrasse, flatties, codling and ling, also a bit of gash rope on which sea life had already taken up residence.

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Often wonder how these rather large star fish get into the creels.

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I always think that although we are involved in a generally declining fishery, if left for a period, there would be a fairly rapid recovery to the eco system. The three young ling that went back, I thought would return down, could not as the pressure difference was too much for them as were the small cuttle fish. It was a day for squat lobsters so the weekend visitors should be well fed with their squats, prawns, scallops and crab. Plaice, cod, lamb and venison all on the menu.

A badly needed shower, more for warming up, and it was off to the Inn and a busy shift. Soon forgot the cutting cold of the day with a busy evening, with Yorkshire, Minnesota, Ireland and all “pairts” of Scotland represented. Shift passed really quickly, making sure every one was served what they wanted, dipping in and out of conversations in which fishing featured a fair bit. Richard was in and again chatting about berried prawns, to others about trawl and creel caught along side dived and dredged scallops. I use the analogy that you would not run a stag across the hill, stress it out, shoot it and then expect the meat to be tender and taste well. Why would you expect a trawled prawn to be any different.

Miserable day weather wise and health wise today but got under way by evening although still cold and wet outside. Took Dougal and Co to the shop round the long way. Tim stopped for a bee chat and learned that my hive is going well with all the signs in place. He was saying if I was seeing the workers coming back with pollen that is a sure sign the queen is well and laying as this is the protein for the larvae, the nectar is for the adults.

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The bee keepers, I know, are really helpful and are keen to provide information and seem to care that you are given everything to keep your own operation going. I want to repay this help when I split the hive and hopefully build up my colony and maybe start others up. It is a whole world in your garden, uncomplicated but busy, efficient and natural. Further along the wander chatted with Ali as he headed off to do a bit of fencing, little things like the world price of flour were discussed….. then on the way up the hill the ice cream man stopped for a chat. We are planning a to Loch Ness Inn with prawns next week and then off to Inverness, which reminds me, last night’s carry out of lemon curd ice cream went down a treat especially as it was with a scoop of rum and raison.

Great news on the community hydro front this week as we now have a signed lease and planning permission has just been granted as I was writing this post. There is a huge amount of work that has been done to get us this far and a lot more before it is built.

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