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

Putting the Hours In.

Bit dazed after many hours of doing stuff. Wednesday and thursday it was double shifts, out on the Varuna hauling creels for not many prawns and as there are hundreds of visitors visiting the Inn and many of them eating prawns this means after taking a break from fishing today there is another double shift planned tomorrow. The long dark winter is but a distant memory, long hours of day light and work are now the order of the day after day after day…… Not going out today meant a little less tiredness in the legs although a couple of hours in the engine room changing oil and filters usually means muscles not used regularly will stiffen up in a couple of days. I am not small and although I have a reasonable sized engine room there is a lot of clambering and stretching going on as I empty the sump of the old oil and replace both the oil and going around the engine to change the filters. Day shot by with a bit of gardening and hive checking and before you know it was work time.IMG_0004 The Inn is quite daft at the moment. There are huge amounts of people being served food and keeping everyone happy is hard, hard work. To be quite honest if we believed that this was going to continue throughout the summer at this pace we might just cry. Hoping the English schools half term ending will have some impact and we will go back to being just busy. Somehow manage to change the till roll at the Filling Station, meet the pleasant new Range watch keeper and head back to the hordes. Should be the last roll I change on that machine with the new system installation imminent.

The counterbalance is going to sea, the unfortunate drawback to this is that this is pretty tiring as well but there is so much to see and to stop and enjoy. With the bonxies well into their season they are pretty adjacent to any potential food source,


always keeping an eye out for a scrap of fish.


Huge thorn starfish came up in one of the creels. Never sure how they manage to squeeze in.


They are so destructive. When I had the scallop farm they, if unchecked would go through a young scallop bed in a matter of weeks. So he stayed on board. In the old days the fishermen used to cut up the starfish and throw them back over not knowing they were increasing  their numbers as they have the ability to grow new “fingers”. A fair few hermit crabs about and they have a bright pink polka dot membrane attaching them to their shells.


Summer warming the waters up slowly and there are patterns of scum appearing on the surface.


These look worse and appear to be a bubbling froth. All going into the food chain, I suppose.


Not a lot of fishing activity on the grounds, may be a bit of painting and maintenance going on but Range work just off to the west.


Back to the Inn, I was supposed to head off to Dornie and Eilean Donan castle with a wedding party around four and then back to help out front. Extra shift, but plan was changed and I stayed at the Inn to help through the mayhem, it was organised mayhem but mayhem none the less. Wedding family here, were, I was told, Victorian steam puncky.




Late party was fed well after time with the usual excellence but the Boss almost met breaking point with the little lady who began ordering with me around 9.25, well after service. She may well have been a chef and she may well have liked meat over fish but lamb,(25 mins), duck breast and steaks were no longer options. It was now 9.35 and still inconclusive. boss took over and I think it ended up with haddock and salad. Her case was not helped by her having consumed a 1/4 keg of cider before turning up for her meal after service had finished. Boss, although very restrained and after providing 400+ meals from her kitchen, went out side for a few deep breaths. So then at ten it was into the Community minibus, off to Toscaig to take the wedding party back to the Inn, then onto the Big Hoose to take other wedding revellers home to the hostel, campsite and Tigh Bradan. Home and unconscious by one and now off fishing for more prawns for the menu at six.

Oh and the sunset on Wednesday evening was sublime.


Comments on: "Putting the Hours In." (5)

  1. As ever, a fascinating glimpse of your interesting and varied life. I always enjoy reading your posts, admiring your photographs, and marvelling at the views. Today, I am particularly intrigued by the pink, polka-dot membrane on the whelk shell of the hermit crab. That is unusual. I haven’t seen anything like it before. Do you think it could be something like the beginning of a colonial sea squirt – some of those are very brightly coloured and form flat membranes that live on shells, stones, and seaweed? The scum is interesting too: I wonder what is causing that.

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      I know a couple of marine biologists who may be able to help out and will get back in touch. Thanks very much for your likes and comments. Ali

      • I consulted a few textbooks after my first comment about the pink polka dots. I believe now that, rather than the sea squirts I suggested previously, they may be the very early life stages of a Cnidarian organism from the Class Hydrozoa, something like Hydractinia echinata or Podocoryne carnea, both of which are known to attached to shells occupied by hermit crabs. It would be interesting to learn what the marine biologists say about them.

  2. Hi
    I’m David Hughes, a marine biologist from the Scottish Association for Marine Science, Oban.
    Winderjssc’s suggestion for the pink polka dot organism is almost correct. It is a Cnidarian, not a hydroid, but a species of sea anemone (Adamsia carciniopados, sometimes called the “cloak anemone”). This one is only found on shells inhabited by hermit crabs and is typically associated with the common small hermit species Pagurus prideaux.

    The bubbly scum in the other pictures is probably exactly that, i.e. a layer of mucus, bacteria and mixed organic soup shed by various marine organisms and accumulating at the sea surface.The bubbles are probably just air mixed in by the motion of the sea and trapped in the layer of goo.

    I hope this helps. Please get in touch if you have any further questions!

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