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

Applecross Weekend.

Lovely day to go fishing on Friday and had a passenger, keen photographer and bookseller from Yorkshire. A fairly brisk east/south-east wind meant that it was an awkward start to the day with a motion on the port quarter. Started the day with some one else’s rope in my prop.

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But with that wind it usually comes and goes and it did settle down during the day, only getting up again on the way in. Again fishing is bearable and the weather beautiful. Fortunate I do not have to go on holiday to enjoy it.

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Uneventful and in by three having hauled 300 creels. Back at the house there were a French couple changing a tyre, yet another car clipping the kerb at the north end of the school, third this week. A chat, a phone call, a trip to DMK’s, organising a new tyre and fitting for Saturday morning and off to leave message at Tina’s, their BandB in Sheildaig. Going there anyway for massage so not too much out of the way. Handshakes and exchange of names and the hope that another couple believe in the Applecross spirit. Maybe if I am ever in France with a puncture……. Massage sore and neck tender due to wheelhouse smack, good chat afterwards and home by seven. Operations have started on the Gateway Woodland project

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and I stopped to take a photo of the before,

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looking down from the Bealach. Evening finishes well.

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Son No3 slowly recovering from his ailments, worrying in the fact that he could hardly walk from the car to house when he arrived home. Blood tests have not revealed any nasty African problems and is on broad spectrum antibiotics. Speaking of which there is a Health Service drop in consultation about the Services on Skye and how they may possibly affect us here. This is taking place at the Surgery between 2pm and 4pm on Monday afternoon. And well worth a visit to hear what is being said. Ironic I will not make it as I will be using the service visiting Broadford for a repeat on my back. Cannot speak highly enough of our own Service, blood tests back on the same day and an offer to phone  anytime if condition of No3 deteriorates.

Weather still holding out and forecast to do so till at least Tuesday,

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so fishing planned next couple of days. Saturday was mainly spent recovering from the massage and the general wear and tear of the week before going back into the Lion’s Den for an evening shift. Did not evolve into a stressed out night, busy but manageable. Seems Friday night was silly and people are starting to comment on how on earth the Inn is coping with the pressure of numbers. Had an interesting conversation with a fisherman friend over with family about what is happening on the North Sea. Fishing has recovered well and boat tied up and by Wednesday as they catch their quota for the week so quickly now. Great position to be in, making enough money, preserving fish stocks for future generations and having time off to live a life, but not good enough for some. Some Scottish whitefish boats are exploiting a loop-hole which means they go over to Norway for the Norwegians to buy into their boats and as a result of cross border agreements are given unquote access to the same waters they were previously retracted to through the quota system. Quick conversation and did not fully grasp the macro side of the arrangement but the result is these boat can and are fishing 24/7 and landing into Peterhead, depressing the prices and creating a huge disadvantage to the fishermen who are working away at a far more sustainable level. Motivation is simple avaristic greed. SFF surely should be petitioning the Scot Govt to close this loophole.

This morning met a very pleasant and interesting New Yorker and the conversation ranged from how impressed he was with our Community run toilets, to his travels in North Eastern India, community life and green energy. Definitely get a buzz from these connected chats and they carry you on to meet up with others good people, today, more Americans, Canadians, Hungarians and Germans everywhere, all pleasant and appreciative of what they see and experience. The Filling Station is still causing problems and four reboots today followed me cycling up with Dougal to sort it out yesterday morning. Always there are chats and people to talk to. Another good community chat and it comes time and again, what you can and can’t say in public when your view is different from the establishment. The thread of deference runs through centuries of being told where one’s place is in the world and in your own community. There is a growing awareness of this conundrum and this thread will inevitably be broken. Dougal, oblivious of the chat, meets his nephew, Scratch, and all is very amicable with Scratch playing submissive. Suits Dougal down to the ground. Also Eric, the cokerpoo from Milton, passed by and there was a lively but friendly passing of views. Photos may follow of Eric later, meanwhile the flowers in the Camusteel ditch are spectacular.

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Also the weekend of the Celtman, an Ironman event which takes place just to the north of us. A swim of just under 4 miles starting at Inverbain and coming out of the water at Shieldaig, then a 120 mile cycle going as far as Gairloch and finishing off with a marathon taking in 2 Munros. Any one of these events on their own……… The reason I mention this is that there was a survivor/competitor in this afternoon and did extremely well. Second in her age group and was walking very gingerly so she got an Aron’s lemon ripple ice cream on the house. Speaking of which the Airstream is slowly coming on stream, so to speak. Hours, coffee and fish and chips are not fully up and running but if the ice cream is any thing to go by it will be a busy addition to the Inn. Joining the fashion of taking photos of people taking photos. Also in the picture is our very own tidy up man John who picks up all the scrap our throw away society spits out.

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