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

Every now and again you have a day that looking back on it seems almost as though it did not happen, but this morning the body says it did. But Wednesday first, spent the day buzzing about on the bike, Pier, shop, Estate office, Inn, with mixed results. Washed a fleet of creels

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and had a good evening shift although at this time of year finding people seats are slightly harder as dinners are slower to move, which is fair enough.

Yesterday was a day, when not going fishing was a no brainer, and such a right decision. If I had gone fishing then it would have been enjoyable, made a little money but maybe not too remarkable. Instead I was at the Pier where I took on board a couple of day trippers, Jill and Kenny

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along with George and Sean plus bikes and headed off to Raasay for a Community adventure.

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Always good to see others plying an honest trade on the water.

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With a fleet of creels on board that was shot on the way over we made it over to tie up alongside the new pier by about elevenish, seeing Simon safely anchored in Churchton Bay,

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and after making sure of directions, Sean and I headed off up to Arnish on the bikes. Not before seeing the Raasay House activities in full swing.http://www.raasay-house.co.uk/

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Directions were asked from the Postie who turns out to be Barbara, Paul’s http://lifeattheendoftheroad.wordpress.com/ partner and our destination. Small world which got even smaller when I stopped off at the water plant construction where there are three new turbines.

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Got chatting to Hughie Mackay whose partner is Joan and who was LDO in Raasay but only for a short time. He just said it “was too close to home”. Made me think even more that our Board, including me, should have defended our LDO,Alison from the attacks she has to suffer. Sometimes the niceties of living in small communities prevent you from saying what you really think of some unpleasant people. Also tells me that although under huge amount of stress she is still battling on. Today it the AGM of the HSCHT. Also chatted about the Applecross/Raasay connections of old. His family was the Maclennans from Fearnmore. Connections that we are now remaking, there is nothing new. Contentious issue for some people but not for me, I think these turbines can be beautiful and useful. People complain that renewable energy is so expensive but if we stop and think how expensive fossil fuels are in the long run they may turn out to be very, very cheap. Environmental damage is not costed in to our fossil fuel consumption and our legacy is our children have to clean up our mess. I watch with disbelief some of the objections to the Coigach Turbine planning application. This is a community who over the years have battled to get a valuable renewable resource up and running to regenerate a community. When it is built it will be worth going to see it and knowing what it is for and where the money is going would be inspirational for many other fragile communities to do the same in their patch whether, hydro or wind. A far different cry from the millions of pounds of subsides that disappear into corporate and land holders pockets. These hard-fought for community projects are worth the pain of development for the communities involved and hopeful will help them to sustainably regenerate into the future. More power to places like the Coigach in their efforts.

Back to yesterday, cycling north was simply wonderful.

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Just by chance when I uploaded this picture ,was it the view of Portree,or the cow but no, when you look closely in the hills above the town there stands a lovely wind turbine.I had been up here before by car but biking it was so different, views and time to think were cleansing although at the north end,

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all I was thinking off was the impossibly steep hills on the way back!!

A wee story told by a relative of Calum’s wife that in no way is meant to be disrespectful both in the telling and retelling. Calum died very suddenly while working on a drystane wall at his house. The only way that his widow could get him in to the house was to lift him on to his wheel barrow and take him inside. I wonder if that is the same wheel barrow.

Arrived at Paul’s in good condition due to the electric bike and Paul arrived not long after, having given Simon a lift up to the top with the cabinet. He loaded me up with a few bits and bobs and I set off up following the cable to the top.

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Could not help thinking of Paul and helpers paying out the 1080 metres of cable for us. I am utterly grateful for all his efforts. Hard graft. By the time I got to the top to meet up with Simon of Hebnethttp://www.tegola.org.uk/hebnet/ I was knackered. While I was there Simon took a couple of calls,

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the first from Paul asking if the power was connected ok and it was, this being the north end of Raasay I saw Paul strategically standing on the rear end of his ATV parked only where he knew he would get a connection, the second was from Ian, later ferry but all sorted at Portree. Slick operation in the wilds.

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But the beauty of the place is wonderful.

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The only downside to the day was the tight schedule as I was working at 6pm. So leaving Simon drilling into the rock,

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meeting up with Paul it was slightly hairy getting a lift down the hill. Back down as Ian, from Rhum, arrived from the AROS centre having finished the installation there. It was going to take an hour to set up the three dishes before taking them up so it was back on the bikes leaving three good men to finish the installation. Only regret was not being able to stay and help more, just being around people like Simon, Ian and Paul is uplifting. Found out the hard way that not having a fully charged battery on the bike makes for a broken man syndrome. By the time I got out of Arnish and made it to the top of the many hills back on the West side I was broken. But an hour and a half after leaving we were back at the boat just half an hour behind schedule. Bikes loaded, quicker than some people, but better safe than sorry,

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coming back on board on the lower tide. and away we went, glass calm and easy to spot the two dolphin pods, one breaking away to come and play briefly with us,

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talk about a special day. Good to see some feeding on the bait balls on the way home.

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Before I headed up the road, an all too brief chat with Grieg and yet another photo.

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Parachuted into work a half hour behind schedule, but even tonight felt wonderful as this is another community I enjoy. Lots of twenty-minute/half hour conversations about broadband, community, the  indefinable specialness of Applecross, otters, fishing, local politics, land reform, all with people I regard as friends, whether I see them again or not. Last night they belonged to Applecross but came from Chicago, Germany, America, Milton, and all over Scotland and England.

Stopped to read Maggie Cunningham’s lovely tribute to her mother-in-law, Alice Byrne, in the WHFP and poignant memories of a way of life going by. I have happy memories of going down to Station Road and always being made welcome at Alice’s being on the same class as Phyllis, also no longer with us. If we still remember those good people they will always be alive. Maggie talked about Alice being in the centre of things telling the tale of the crofter finally going to London but glad to get back home to “the centre of things”. I know what she means. And although I am off to Lombardy today for a week my heart will always be at the centre of things. Had a wee chat in the Inn about how it is important to always look and see how others do things in their communities, always things to learn. The comment came back that not only is it important it is crucial so I am off.

Comments on: "Applecrosslife Meets Endoftheroad" (2)

  1. lifeattheendoftheroad said:

    A very special and epic day indeed Ali, reforging old links and hopefully helping both our communities prosper, priceless 🙂

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