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

Another lovely quiet day for fishing. Went up to Shore Street to pick up my crew for the day but alarms were slept through. No worries though and ended up having a coffee with Chris before heading down to the pier. Stopped for a moment alongside Milton Loch.


Boxes, bait and a couple of creels and off out to the pots, an hour later than usual. The beauty of being self-employed and working on my own is that I only have to discuss with myself when I go out and come in, often a very short discussion. Uneventful with no splicing or cutting to do and quickly through 400 creels to land at the Inn by 4pm. Scalders have arrived in force this year. While writing this I have several nicks and cuts on my hands that are still stinging.


One of the few advantages of wearing glasses you get a bit of protection around the eyes. No wind and rain helps until a creel jumps off the hauler. Again the fishing was pretty scrappy but an unexpected but nice surprise in the last fleet that made it worth going out. Ran out of prawns at lunch time so only just keeping up with demand. It is a wonderful market, one I am fortunate to supply. Had a less tired chat with the Boss today and we reckon another couple of weeks and the back off the season will be broken!!! Reminded me of my Dad saying that once Wednesday was done the back of the fishing week was broken. Not so relevant now with weekend fishing.

 Met a couple  over the weekend who are related/friends to Duncan Macleod from Collieghillie, now in his 90s. I knew the story of the TB outbreak and the devastation that family suffered but went to the graveyard mapping site set up by Gordon at the Heritage Centre. To my shame this is the first time on this site and it’s fascinating, www.clachancemetery.org.uk. I took this info from it about the family. I have a strong connection to the Macleod’s as I lived just up the road in Kyle from Ian Ali Bhig and my Dad used to fish the herring ring net on the Mary Ann up till, I think 1971, when they could not compete with the steamroller of the East coast seine netters. This only led to a fishery closure and we still have not learned the lessons of this yet. 

“Ali Beag’s family was devastated by the Tuberculosis epidemic in 1928/29. The only survivors were Iain and Duncan (Iain Ali Bhig and Dunnchadh Ali Bhig). Duncan said that there were so many coffins in the lair in such a short space of time, his mother’s coffin was laid crossways at the foot of the others in the lair. Ali Beag was a fisherman, and he survived when a boat capsized in Loch Torridon which claimed the life of another Alexander MacLeod. Having heard the name of the deceased, his family thought he was dead until he returned home.”

Ruairidh,son No3, has left for Dundee this morning to sort out a flat for his up coming medical training/career and then is crewing for two weeks on a touristy boat which will include calling in at St Kilda. I am very rarely envious but that is a trip I hope to make one day. There are always compensations and tucking into the first Red Duke of Yorks is certainly one of them.


Comments on: "Scalders and Tatties, both Red" (2)

  1. basketbob said:

    Ali, are scalders Jellyfish?
    Talk of “breaking the back of the week” – Wednesday is also known as “Hump” day, because you are over the hump when it’s done.
    I’ve not seen red Duke of Yorks before. I grew white DoYs this year, but they have been disappointing, with a tendency to boil to nothing in the space of a minute if you leave them too long, but tonight, we baked a couple of larger ones in the microwave, and they were heavenly. Lifted the last of them today. All the veg has done remarkably well this year, with the exception of Red beet, which for some reason has been very slow to bulb up. I put it down to the hot weather, even though the garden has been copiously watered.

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Aye scalders are the red stinging jelly fish. Worst when the rope and creels are hauled through them and with a bit of wind and rain get every where. Occasionally have dunk your head in water and open your eyes if you get one in the eye. Veg very varied this year as but due to my inattention as work/cash takes precedence. Needs must although I really do not like it sometimes.Potatoes good as planted in last years hen patch.

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