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

Forlorn and Heart-broken.

After two hours sleep it is back to it. There is  a lot to think about today. Looking back on the last few weeks one of my main aims was to pursue my hopes through the ballot box without losing any friends and acquaintances. Time will tell if this is true. I know that I have lost a little connection with one or two people through postings or tweets but such is life. What I will say is I have rarely experienced the feelings and emotions that I had while working last night at the Inn. I called in at the Polling Station to cast my vote, to hope instead of fear, to put we before I, to live in a sustainable environment and economy. It was n’t about nationalism, or separation for me. It was n’t about who said what to whom in whatever debate. It was n’t about what expert said whatever about the currency, NATO, EU, personal pension plans or whatever else was used to worry people who just want to survive. It was about something bigger, an ideal, a better way to live our lives within our environment. A belief that the way we live is unsustainable and we have to change our greed for need. I have read much over the past six months and been inspired by the incisive thoughts of many people and groups who have provided a different way of looking at life. I have been in the company of inspirational people, read their tweets and posts, watched them on television and thought they spoke for me. As I write this I am going to make it one of my ambitions to try to make some sort of contact with these inspiring people. I feel so down hearted at the moment the only light I see is to keep believing in the better world  of community. I sincerely hope that people like Lesley Riddoch, Derek Bateman, Gerry Hassan, Jean Urquhart, Jeanne Freeman, Ian McWhirter, Jim Hunter, Andy Wightman, Alastair MacIntosh, and many others, groups like RIC, The Jimmy Reid Foundation, The Common Weal, WomenforIndy stay to the fore. There may be a celebration of “the union” just now but when does £1.4 trillion debt and rising in one of the wealthiest countries in the world become too much to handle. Corporate power allowed to burgeon and use services paid by the working population without contributing anything to the taxation pot. Quantitative Easing, another word for printing money does not make our inherent problems go away. We have become used to living well beyond our means and I do genuinely fear for the future. I feel hurt and sad that most people look to their own circumstances when they vote and work out how they will individually gain or lose rather than see the common good for what it is. We edged towards the common good in the last few months but last night were afraid to take the plunge and experience the immense and sometimes intoxicating rush you get when I becomes We. I wish those well who voted No yesterday, probably as many reasons to vote No as Yes, but there we go. Over the years I have grown to love this place, the community and my life as a fisherman and all the other bits and pieces I do and every day of my life there is risk, maybe even fear. As a fisherman I have always hoped and I think that is where I will get my strength from. Taken a risk in writing this so soon and it hurts, it hurts badly but that will ease and I will have a good malt today to raise a toast to those fearless and good people who voted for a better way of living.

Years ago, yesterday I went out fishing to catch prawns and mainly squats for the Do in Inverness which the Inn is cooking for. An interesting day and one I would normally have not stayed out in as it was dark and misty.Lovely ethereal morning looking across to Ardhu


and out to the Sound over Norman’s dinghy.


Did not really register the fog bank until I was on board and steaming north, but suddenly we were in it and actually I had to pick and choose the fleets I hauled as it was easy enough to find them with the help of the GPS some were close to other boats gear and when shooting back you are liable to go foul on their gear if not put back exactly . Only saw the Boy Ryan and that had to be close up.


As I came across to the Applecross side of the Sound it cleared up now and again. Landed prawns with my head full of Indy thoughts and home, showered and posted a thought on fb before on my bike to carrying out one of the most important task for my country. Son No1 was just leaving and asked him to take a shot of me at the gate.


On the way up the road going past Milton Loch looking west was special.


It was emotions of the highest degree and found it hard to communicate with anyone for the first half hour of my shift. But apart from a couple of customers it was a shift that flew past and was exhilarating in the extreme. Had wonderful conversations about hope and the future, full of expectations and taking responsibility, conversations that included Germans, Americans and English bikers, all were hoping they were witnessing an event that could shape world politics. The food fantastic as usual with the Texans enjoying a seafood platter in the dinning room while the bikers


got tore into some slightly bigger langoustine.


It was n’t a naive hope but one that was going to shake the entrenched Establishment to its core. The Glasgow girls were excited, regulars, to be in Applecross but missing out on the George Square party. Surprised by a local Yes declaration and also by an undecided going Yes. The shift was interspersed with lots of humour and banter and only had to be careful around a couple of guests, one in particular who had thirty years service in the forces behind him, very adamant and humorless in his view of the world. And how others see you….I was brought up in a Presbyterian home with no Christmas celebration so have never become attached to this Festival and this is fairly well-known locally. So when Joe wandered up to me and said “Ali this is what ordinary people feel like on Christmas Eve.” Burst of laughter and said it all. Unfortunately it feels like the middle of January now with the long winter ahead. The big question of the evening was Applecross Ices a Maybe Yes or Maybe No. I know but do you?


But already after a few consoling hugs at the Inn and a couple of conversations with equally devastated Yes voters and a look at Twitter we have to emerge stronger and “Keep the Faith”. Although I do not really care about party politics I suspect that Labour in Scotland will be in trouble. The other emerging stat is that the older folk voted to keep their security and the younger voters voted for Hope. Less access to Social Media for the older generation possibly meant they were not able to counter the bias of Mainstream Media about pension security and general fear. I do have an advantage in that I have been fishing for over thirty-five years and know all about risk. I have always had an inherent hope over risk, the weather will improve, the catch will be better, I will arrive back on the moorings safely. Voting NO does not increase anyone’s certainty about anything. We have been sold a Dud and not quite enough people realised that but succumbed to their own fears (I think). One certain casualty of the campaign, no more BBC News, Ch4 for me and Social Media for my sources. No more introspective pondering as does not achieve anything. I feel nothing but pride for my tiny involvement in a Movement that at times felt momentous.

Life goes on and looking after a Hotel tonight and fishing tomorrow followed up by another shift in the evening. Will still be feeling raw so hope no one says anything too silly. So goodbye flag but just for a while, you will be back out sometime in the near future.


Comments on: "Forlorn and Heart-broken." (23)

  1. Ali – little time to answer here, but don’t be too down-hearted. The effect of all this, South of the border, has been amazing. I lot of people feel galvanised by what has taken place, and Westminster isn’t going to have it all its own way again. Change is afoot – I feel sure. (Y)

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Hope so Bob, cheers for your comments and even although it did not go as planned something is underway locally and hopefully nationally. Really do not like the word national but there is no other word at the moment. Everything seems up in the air, Boris,UKIP,2015,EuroRef.Finally the coming of Aquarius.

    • can’t agree more with Bob ,x

  2. Sorry that the outcome didn’t go your way yesterday, It was a close run battle. All is not lost, though not exactly what you wanted, it has put a shot across the bow of westminster and they will now have to reform the houses and give more devolution to scotland and perhaps some of the regions.

    However I fear that english Mp’s voting on English matters, which is correct IMHO, will unfortunately lead to a right wing bias, though a tory myself I fear UKIP and what that could bring to the UK post referendum.

    As I said before i won’t stop reading your blog………… its far too good.

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Thanks for your chat and comments. Even with different opinions keeping the channels open is essential to any progress. Open post and a little exposing as I have used it to try to move on myself. I will and over time.
      cheers Ali, always appreciate another view as when you become entrenched that is when trouble starts.

  3. Steve Lewis said:

    Tiz a sad,sad day Snod – ‘pecker’ up ‘old boy’

  4. Ali,

    Don’t be downhearted. Many No voters are as keen for change as yourself, we just weren’t convinced that independence was the best way to get there.

    There are lots of folk working hard for democratic and financial reforms within the UK and around the world. If all of the independence enthusiasts direct their energy and goodwill in that direction then good things will happen.

    There’s more than one way to skin the establishment cat.

    All the best,


    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Cheers Malcolm, as I am sure you can tell I am not an unthinking Nationalist but believed that, and still do, unless we take power over our own affairs we will be powerless. Still have to find a way to empower those who feel disenchanted or those who do not even feel that. Is it any coincident that as you go up the scale of age and prosperity one stops thinking about those less fortunate. Maybe naive but I was voting from a position of “relative” prosperity and hoping Community would win over Individualism. Know you well enough you do not fit that category. Possibly at the start of something big. cheers and take care.

  5. Ali dont be too glum You still live in the most beautiful place on Earth and we will always be your friends WE are not that shallow xx Liz and janet Ceol na Marra – Sunday x

  6. You express our thoughts so well, we are totally gutted this morning on Skye.Hope it was enough to start a change for the better 🙂

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Just looking at Ch4 News and it is not just you win we lose. I don’t think it was ever that from the Yes perspective. It felt on the cusp and after a bit of reflection I think we may still. Here’s hoping to continued decency. Thanks for your comments and take care.

  7. Richard Porteous said:

    Very well written and clearly from the heart. Scotland has been the focus of world attention during the past 24 hours & I think is now greatly empowered by this passionate display of democracy. You are gracious in defeat, unlike some I have seen today and teamwork is now the order of the day. Change will come to God’s Country and the rest of the Union is onside, fear not. All the best from the Kent coast.

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Cheers Richard, many thanks for your comments. Stayed away from the news bar CH4 now. BBC Scotland has been atrocious during the campaign but maybe I am biased!!! Possibly things have changed for good up here but unfortunately here the older and more prosperous the easier it was to vote “I am all right Jack”. I just do not think that natural but also divisive. A continued underclass is dangerous. Take care anyway and if nothing else it is not boring.

  8. Barry Campbell said:

    Really disappointed in the vote for a Free and Independent Scotland yesterday…Ali my family of five are looking forward to our visit to the Inn next June…Sure hope we get to meet you and dine on some of your fantastic fish at the Inn…Thanks for all your efforts to secure a Free and Independent Scotland…You certainly can take comfort in the fact that you live in one of the world’s most wonderful and beautiful places…We are looking forward to our visit next June…Sincerely, The Campbell Family…

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Yes I know where I live but the last 20 hours have been hard to take. But if nothing else something may be under way, something that is people based and not from the elite. Look forward to meet with you next year. I hope to be still fishing and working at the Inn as I love both. Next June we hope to build our Hydro Scheme, so it is positive. Thanks for your comments and to be quite honest the blog has been cathartic and helped me process our disappointment. Thanks for reading, I am humbled that nearly 500 people have read it today. Take care.

  9. Oh, Alistair, I saw you outside the school gate today and knew to avoid you and went back in again. I shouldn’t have read it, but I did and it made me weep again. I feel so very sad.

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      I have tried three times to reply. Heartfelt thanks for your wee note. You say so much in a few words. You know there is so much that does not need said, it is just there…thanks again but sorry for making you cry!!! So love everyone’s passion and take care.

  10. Rod Coldwell said:

    Don’t worry Ali, things are never going to revert to status quo…it cannot be allowed! I agree with you that it was the older generation who made up most of the NO votes. Speaking as one of a certain age, I find that way of thinking selfish and short-sighted. We must think in the long-term for future generations and not sink back into our comfort zones. Never in my life have I found politics so stimulating and exciting as I have in the run up to the vote, and I felt privileged to be living in the country where this was taking place. Like you, I was devastated by the result but it makes me more determined to press ahead for the changes we want and I think the likes of those inspirational people you mentioned are not going to let matters lie. By the way, the day after the referendum I tuned into France 24 (in English) to get a more balanced view of the way our continental friends were viewing the result. Take heart, things will never be the same again!

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Cheers Rod, what seems to be happening should be used to create and stimulate a new momentum. One that involves people which is a startling new idea for our ruling classes to deal with. Thanks for your words anyway and we will see what happens.

  11. I’ve never posted on anthing on-line previously but I wanted to congratulate you on a very well written article.

    I would love to think that things will not continue as we have been used to and things will change as No voter Malcolm has stated above (I was going to make a joke about knowing where he lives, which I do, but following recent Daily Mail/ Media paranoia I decided not to !!!!).

    However as I sit in Frankfurt airport this Sunday morning I have just read an article in the Financial Times that quotes an English Tory MP state and I quote “We have had an excellent result and he (Cameron) deserves credit for the fact he has come up with a plan for an English settlement”

    I suspect normal political service will be resumed immediately as clearly nothing has been learned.

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      It certainly is going to be tricky one to keep a momentum going especially as some are already saying accept it and get a life. That is as silly as saying to Labour voters, after losing an election, accept it and join the Tory winners……. mind you that is what they seem to have done already. Back to the same old same old surely cannot be an option.

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