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

Land and Food Craic

Dog walking is great for having a good think about all the ups and downs of life in Applecross. Went out on Saturday afternoon,IMG_4716


Dougal meeting and shouting at the Ardhu “wild”boar, not really wild, in fact very curious at this loud nuisance


and again on Sunday evening with them and there is always something new to see and think about.


Little touch of autumn under way.


These trips around The Sanctuary help see things from another perspective, at least I give it a go. Talking to people with different persuasions, but who are your friends is a great way to allow ” Two people to look at the same thing and see it differently”. The growing debate about Land Reform falls into this category. Saturday evening’s company threw up some interesting thoughts and I always take comfort in the fact that there has never been such a state as the status quo. Events, developments, people, attitudes will always mean that our environment, economic,political and social, are ever-changing whether positive or not. It sometimes feels a little over the top sometimes when I describe what happens at the Inn, meeting and getting to know people, exchanging opinions, views even compliments, how it all feels so positive. Having learnt so much over the last couple of years from Judith and Jill and feeling a bit more confident about having the ability to deal with most things there you find that you can take this out into the community. You feel that bit more confident that although your views are by no means universally they are mine and can be argued without rancour. Been reading a guest blog by Dr Jim Hunter  on community land ownership and found it really interesting. But as well the blog the comment stream that follows these articles are equally of interest.http://www.andywightman.com/?p=3029 There are the usual comments that come from entrenched positions but these combined with meeting fresh views in the Inn are invaluable in developing one’s own take on the debate. Speaking to Steve about the comparisons with Norway’s land distribution and their land use which seems to be so different to what happens here. There are so many more people involved in rural decisions and a more populous and varied aspect of land use. More locally controlled and better managed forestry coupled with a mature grazing policy. Here we have barren moorlands kept that way for grouse and red deer where there could be a proper native reforesting that could generate fuel, improved soil structures, domestic animal habitats and amenities for the many. It is not as though there never were trees covering the Scottish landscape. Policies that are dependent on grants rather than community benefit will soon belong to the past. Just had a conversation with some one who is not a “land reformer” and even she had to admit all is not well in the hands of those who have the power to let nothing happen. As it was suggested on Saturday evening Patience is a key factor and that was what I was told, I am patient.

The wonder of Applecross allows you to have these “radical” thoughts and still enjoy the walks, the environment you wander through and you arrive back home refreshed and ready for more.

Sunday lunch was a fairly relaxed affair just keeping an eye on the big table groups that were coming in on the hour. One of the nice things was that there were five groups of 7+ in at the same time and 3 of them were local.


Finished the shift with a fine venison burger and later in the evening had a scoop of Scottish raspberry ripple which, I think, supersedes just about everything that has gone before….that is until you try another one.  A wee bit of tension from the Boss as she knew there was a review coming out this weekend and it turned out ok, with quite a bit of license. 7/10 is a good pass rate on a crazy day,http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/food-drink/features/restaurant-review-applecross-inn-applecross-1-3051022.

Going back to the theme of the “circle of life” it is everywhere. Was speaking to some Americans and found out they wee from Boston and that brought back a memory of my landing in Boston on the first stage of me hitching across The States. Had a contact in Vermont so phoned from The Boston Tea Party Gift Shop. Of course the Tcheuchter from the Highlands could not work the phones and always will remember the girl who not only helped me but put me up on her couch for the night. Not only that but trusted me enough to got out with her boyfriend and left me alone in her flat and the next morning took out to the freeway and from there I set off. Told the Americans this and you could see how pleased they were to be told how I never associate the people with their government. Only once have I come across a no tax paying Republican at the Inn, but left her to it. Really wanted to ask her why were their bridges and roads were now falling apart, maybe because they did not pay taxes…..but I served her the scallops anyway.

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