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

Monday morning, with a fresh breeze from the south I was excused going out onto the Sound and as there were prawns hanging over the side of the Varuna the menu at the Inn was not in danger. The morning began down at the pier putting together the fleet of creels that will be shot in the next couple of days to check out the catching potential of different sizes of meshes on the creels. To be quite honest I think a 44mm would have been a better size to try as they look very similar to the mesh sizes we already have at the moment. Once into a routine it does not take long to get ropes spliced and creels tied on.

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Feel it on the thumbs in the evening, RSS. Afternoon involved a little bit of gardening and the beds are slowly filling up. Decided to buy plants from the shop this year rather than cover the porch with my own seedlings. Works out the same cost as you never use all the seeds and knowing they have been raised locally helps. Evening

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saw me heading up the road to attend one of the last ALPS meetings, the project drawing to a close, but still a lot to talk about as the Gateway project is causing no small controversy. As a Group we have not managed this part very well and there is still a fair bit to be settled. my views have been clearly expressed at several of the meetings so feel able to put across my points. This is relatively easy as I have no liabilities as have any of the other partners apart from the Trust. Always thought and said it was never a true partnership, better than before but a long way short of where we would want to be if working together. Shared liabilities would have helped but then the projects would have been radically different. Gateway is proving to be a bit of a headache as the option of the pier has been dropped (but now resurrected for a week) and 13,000+ tonnes are going to go out the North Coast road. Being constrained by confidences you have to accept statements as fact and go with the majority but even if the cost of the pier became prohibitive for the Trust, taking the timber out by road does not seem the right option. Local opposition to the pier was enough to have it dropped but the same will not happen if there is opposition to road transport. The actual cost will be more but that cost will be borne by bodies other than the Trust, fair enough if a Trustee or work for the Trust but other members of the Group keep pointing out the amount of tax payers money that is accessed by this project is startling. I have stated all the way through that the pier option was the best, being one of these green people, taking timber out of Applecross at four miles to the gallon on lorries that will cause disruption and will be hard on the road does not seem to be a well thought through option. Hindsight is brilliant but what the Group should have done after losing our first project officer is employ a forester consultant to take us through all the complicated hoops and politics of this project. A near million pound project run by crofters, retirees and fishermen, all good people, was probably not the best thought out idea.

On to other things, saw Marion heading into school at lunch time on Tuesday with a brood of home-bred chickens. They slept the whole of the next day, recovering from their visit to Nursery.

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She is now moving on from buying in fertilised eggs to fertilising them locally and already has a local market for on growing. There has been a trend for crofts coming back into use again and they are being used in a slightly different way other than everyone growing sheep. There is far more vegetables being grown, pigs, poultry. Hard and time consuming work but so rewarding. The bees seem to be going well and working up to splitting them in the next four weeks.

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Have to assemble the new hive and make some new brood frames. they are busy bringing in plenty pollen on the less rainy days. The sycamore is just about there with leaves and buds opening at the same time. They will be humming with bees very soon.

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Just a trip out to  the Varuna to pick up some langoustine and take a couple of snaps of the watchers.

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Very wary when you get a little close, but others reckon if you close your eyes you are not there. Bit like humans in that regard.

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Fishing yesterday and wet but calm. Not much activity on the water and that is reflected in the creels. It feels like some one has turned the prawn tap off. But always the bonxie.

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This is where supplying the Inn comes into its own and keeps you going out to make sure they are on the menu when you work the evening shift. Took a creel full of hermits that had come out of their shells for a feed of bait. May struggle to survive unless they find a new home pretty quick, being soft and vulnerable.

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Not tremendously busy evening, people waiting for tables, but that is every night. MOD trials on just now and accommodation in the village is full. Merlin helicopter flying overhead during the day, improved since the ditching off Sand a few years ago. Stag night in progress when I left for home and not a uniform in sight.

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What a setting for a stag do with the sunset as dramatic as ever.

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Comments on: "Timber Extraction and Local Food." (4)

  1. Jamie McIntyre said:

    Ali

    Your timber issue is interesting not just in relation to extraction, but in its approach to management and end use.

    Your own creel fishing offers a model for rural forestry too – managed using appropriate technology, harvested at appropriate scale, and with the lowest impact; and then producing a high quality product used locally first and exported second. It would be great to see a local forestry model like this.

    In contrast, the current model of forestry (if translated to prawn fishing) would probably equate to very large prawn trawlers periodically hoovering an area clean and then exporting the prawns to be made into fishmeal in remote factories!

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      We seem to be a bit topsy turkey here. Rather than working out the best way, or greenest, or most sustainable for the community, the plans are based on the cheapest. And not for the country.

  2. I find this totally offensive and am appalled at your under hand way of having a go at hardworking people who have worked extremely hard to get the ALPS scheme back on track. You maintain our Landowners are bullies but I can assure you they are not the bullies in this community.
    To correct your blog, road transport is not more expensive than building the pier. You are correct – there will be No sustainable woodland if Gateway is not felled and you appear to be hell bent on stopping it going ahead.
    Also we would benefit from the road being upgraded!

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Hi May, you have said a lot in your comment that I struggle to find in the post. You are assuming an awful lot, always remember two people can look at the same thing and see it differently. I can only suggest that you read something else if Applecrosslife offends and appalls you, that’s what I would do.

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