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

A Good Old Moan.

I always appreciate being corrected and this is a sort of post meeting note added a few days after the initial post of “Keeping it all Alive” and after a chat with the far more knowledgeable retired fisherman, Donald, than me. My memory of Norman coming up from below after hand cranking the Kathryn was from the Galilee, a boat they bought after selling the Kathryn and she had a 66 Kelvin that would be started on petrol and then once running would be switched over to diesel. Another correction was that the Kathryn was the Mary Ann’s neighbour ring netter and not a sister ship as that would have made her the same model.  Possibly the picture of the Kathryn was taken as she came back from Lossiemouth after damaging her bow on the south end of Raasay. All good information and good to factually correct childhood memories. A lot of these memories one does not even realise you have them until some one comes along with a photo or story.

Been a bit of a whirlwind two days and lots of good chat meetings and old friends along with a short dip into another ceilidh at the Hall on the way home from work. So as the mood is positive having a good old moan about some of serious negatives we have to deal with out on the western fringes. I have been fortunate that I have never been a political party animal  as I have always found something I disagree within each one and would not be able to spin a story to suit a cause rather than support the cause in itself. Have been talking a bit about local government and decision-making and how outside agencies take decisions that affect local conditions without truly understanding the difficulties these actions create. It has already been well documented by better people than me how sparse local government is in Scotland in comparison to most of the rest of Europe. That is well-known but to see it drift even further to central control is slightly disturbing. We have had a few examples of that in the last while with local democracy coming up in the Community Council meeting on Tuesday. Seems there is going to be yet another review on how many councillors are going to represent our ward and the proposal that is favourite will be the one to reduce our representation from four to three councillors, resulting in greater numbers and geographical areas they will be representing in the future. The closure of service points are another issue which will result in people having to travel far longer to find a registrar to carry out required duties. We used to have a registrar in Applecross, now Lochcarron, the latest proposal is to close Kyle, Broadford and Lochcarron with the result one will have to travel to Portree or Dingwall to access Council services. This coupled with the “popular” Council Tax freeze means that local government is restricted year on year and more and more services are withdrawn on the back of a policy of reducing tax take. Sounds great until your toilets/service point and road maintenance is either closed or cut back. As well as the number of people being represented at local government per representative rising, decisions are taken at the centre that do not take into account local opinion and knowledge. We see the situations arising more and more where, as an example, a salmon farm is objected to in its locale by, in some cases pro salmon farming councils, being over turned for reasons that do not fit the picture but serves outside forces and interests. Mind you people need to be more interested in local politics to have local elections. There has not been one here for six years or so, as not enough people have put themselves forward for election.

Enough of the moan and some times there is too much to do to stop for one. On the way to work last night I stopped to greet as fine a friend as one could have, Andy had arrived back in Applecross after an absence of close on fifteen years.So it was a night for old friends to catch up and new ones to be made.


Spent a fair bit of time chatting to lots of people on a busy shift. looked at the clock for the first time around half nine. Good sign when time is meaningless. called in briefly to the Hall on the way home and did not stay long as the Flensburg guys left not long after and I am not a fan of karaoke. Today was similar but even more special, with the weather not all bad,


and the fishing conversation carries on with the arrival of Ian from Kyle, lots of stories from Brighton, about the Johan, Scalpay, the ring net and lots more. Had an amusing interlude into the past with Murdo discovering some old newspaper articles in which the Major wondered how he could afford to pay the rent of the Big House when the Trust was first established. He also showed me an article written in the Scottish Field in which a photo of my dad on the Puffin at Toscaig was prominent and this was in 1973. It is amazing when you delve into your cultural heritage it comes flooding at you from all directions and more and more archives, photos are being unearthed. So after keeping the langoustine on the menu,


a fascinating shift, it was then off to a Community Company meeting …..it just never stops. Despite the moan there is so much that is positive going on in such a small place. A little aside in that the constant temperature has meant that the bees have been carrying home some bright yellow pollen


and the ticks have been finding Dougal and Eilidh very attractive.


They have been in tick country recently keeping the rodent population under control.


Comments on: "A Good Old Moan." (2)

  1. Ah! 73. Remember it well Baxter should too. That’s when he moved to Toscaig with the caravan and the expectant Margaret. That’s the year I had the old Ford Anglia with the 1500 GT engine in it. There about 2 or 3 days when the clutch release bearing packed in. Lifted out the engine at the roadside and identified that the slider sleeve had disintegrated. Over to Kyle on the Puffin crewed by your dad and a trip around the scrapyards to no avail.(Would you have been onboard for the run.) Refitted the engine and drove back to Glasgow starting the engine in gear and crunching the gears. Was a bit worried going through Glasgow as I had to negotiate about 14 sets of traffic lights and didn’t know if the starter motor could handle it. (Timed the light right and only had one red light.) Later that week it was decided to head off to Lochcarron with Legs driving his Morris Oxford with Baxter and Margaret on board. Just above Lochcarron I just found out that Legs didn’t have a license and wanted me to drive. Back in Toscaig I descovered it wasn’t insured either. As you say it just needs a trigger point to bring it all back. Yes 73 I remember it well.

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Great wee story, the Baxter story could fill many volumes. It is interesting when Taddy was correcting me I could see myself on the pier in Kyle and watching the scene as Taddy said who was doing what on the right boat. All good stuff, possibly a lot more of uninsured unlicenced chaps on the roads then.

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