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

Seems like an age since I posted and had to check, but only three days ago. Despite a strong feeling of not achieving anything lately there have been quite a few things on the go. Yesterday I was up at the Inn in the morning after a phone call from the Tokheim installers about the lack of equipment to install. When I arrived the Air Serv guy was there ready to install the compressor so went looking for the key.

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The Tokeim guys had it back at the Inn as they were finding out where their “Big Red Box” was. Turns out it was in Dundee and had not been sent north. So a Meet was organised at the Tore Service Station and our two went to meet the van from Dundee. The compressor was installed and Simon turned up to finish off his work, not much but still essential.

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And after a chat it was back down the road and out onto the hillside again. I only found out when I was up behind the schoolhouse that there was shooting going on further south going by the rifle shots echoing up the slopes. Just as well I chose another area to wander. I would love to be proven wrong but I have given up seeing Jenny again. Sorrow is a wonderfully descriptive word for how I felt over looking the Sound but you cannot help looking around

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and appreciating what a wonderful place we live in. And it was Jenny who took me up here today. The views to the south,

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west

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and north

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are spectacular and the breeze had died away to nothing. Stayed up for a good two hours before making my way back to the house. Referring to the talk later there is no accident that the hamlets are pushed down onto the shore line

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and there are none on the better ground around the Glen.

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Only archeological remains there.

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Love looking down on the clusters of houses, just observing.

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There has been a little bit of rain so the Culduie burn is flowing faster again.

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Bit less sad as I am telling myself it was quick. I have said it before, this is so out of character that almost immediately we knew something was wrong. Have to say a huge thanks to everyone who has expressed sincere concern both personally, on fb and on here. It is much appreciated and tells me how liked Jenny was throughout the community…… Not by the postie or one of our neighbours but everyone to their own. Went into the shop and there were tears there as a lot of other places. Everyone has their own story, not least Simon who mentioned his elderly cat, after a visit to the vet, crawling onto his chest, lies there purring and then dies.

However life does go on and Jenny will always be around, the Highland oral history is good for keeping alive past memories. More of that later as I went out to see and hear Tom Devine in the evening. The Filling Station is now looking marvellous and is up and running.

Wednesday night it was a busy shift and as I was going out to the Hall later I came up early and flew solo for quite a while. Just on the edge of what you can do but it is such an adrenalin rush you don’t notice the time. 8pm and it was down the road to hear what Prof Devine had to say and it was fascinating. An event organised by Gordon from the Historical Society.

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The Clearances and the Potato Famine  was the theme and his recall was impressive. Talked about the relocation, dipped into the Opium Trade but there were many references to the structures left on the land whether agriculture or ruins. Also reasons why the Famine did not have quite the same effect as it did on Ireland although the western seaboard and islands were badly hit. Gordon mentioned a wee tale passed to him from his uncle about my great-aunt telling him when she was alive there never was a winkle to be found on the shore between Ardhu and Toscaig, a sign of the hunger of the times. Something I have known a little about is the recycling of the stone, Hallaig across the water on Raasay being a classic example. The park walls were built from the houses belonging to the people who were cleared off the land. Such a brutal symbol of how the people were treated can still be seen clearly across the Sound from Applecross. The farm building here has more than likely used stone from the Broch. Had a brief chat with him after as he had gone to Edinburgh ten years after I had left. Told me a couple of salacious stories about one or two people who had taught me. Not for repetition on here. No lights for the way home so it was a shaky cycle from the Hall in the dark. A good turn out of over seventy people.

Yesterday, my first day not going out on the hill but will be heading there many times in the future, A morning of moping around a bit too much, still included another trip to the Filling Station, and then after lunch a trip up the road on the bike to take part in a bit of training. Great to see so many people attending,

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the future is looking good here as there seems to be more volunteering as time goes on. the Community Company is getting onto a stronger footing and governance is getting stronger as we put line management and financial systems in place. May well have forgotten it already but instructions have been left and it looks so user-friendly compared to the last system.

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A customer under the watchful eye of Jim takes a fuel delivery. Interesting to see if sales increase due to the simplicity if the system.Local cards were thought to be part of the package but it appears not and will be an extra cost. We will have to work out how much and who will bear this. The last system cost the Trading Company money and we tried to balance this out with extra fuel sales through loyalty. May not be enough and fuel cards may have to carry a penny or two to cover operational costs if we go ahead with this. A sideline at the moment and I never thought I would get excited about a Filling Station but it is looking good and simple to use. All these trips are on the bike and it allows you to look around and yesterday afternoon seemed very autumnal. That shared light across the mature reeds on a gloomy backdrop.

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Stayed up and began the shift early at the Inn and it was pretty full on with people waiting for tables and just getting the residents tables when they wanted them, even finding a bit of time to chat to them. A good night with a wee scrap at the start over who was to get the last prawns in the building. Once that was over then it was down to looking after everyone as the Boss was out for a meal and left us to it. From Lewis to Ohio and the Philippines in between it went well.  Really enjoyed it and despite being asked after Jenny managed to lift the spirits for a short time. Never forget her but want to smile when I think of her. Good craic with the Tokheim boys as well as the Lewis connection on table 5 who had been down the previous evening. Asked for lots of info through out the evening on walks, where to see otters and even about the concrete blocks on the shores of Loch Toscaig, but some other time for that. The indy Ref is still a hot topic and I for one hope it does not go away. There are so many aspects that can now be talked about that does not involve fear and if and when the next one comes along these fears will be discussed and worked through and we will no longer be the only country that voted not to be a country. Always a compliment when some seeks you out as they leave to shake your hand in thanks for a good evening. That handshake is for all the staff, everyone who works at the Inn. And to finish again on the kindness surrounding Jenny, had a phone call from Shieldaig and jenny was gong to be on Two Lochs Radio just in case some one may have picked her up and is looking after her. Lovely that guys are spending so much time trying to help. Thank you.

Comments on: "Stunning, Sad and a wee bit Devine" (5)

  1. The wall that ran alongside the road between the Coal Shed area and the White Gate was supposed to have been constructed by the people of Ach’ a’ Choirce, using the stones of the houses they’d just been cleared from. Just as in the Raasay story you mentioned, it’s a pretty efficient method of doing away with a township. Move the people to poorer coastal land and then give them work getting rid of their own dwellings. There doesn’t seem to be much mention of Ach’ a’ Choirce in records beyond the mid-1820s, so we can approximately date that event. Professor Devine spoke about the marks on the land that are there for those that have eyes to see them …

    Glad you enjoyed the event on Wednesday, and it was great to have such a turnout.

  2. Absolutely stunning photos. We have you to thank as we had never done the walk to Arigh Drishaig before and it is stunning Some told me in the Inn last night.. it was busy but The haggis was fantastic, that Adders can be found on that path… No sign of Baldrick but will go back and do the whole 4m walk next time as I believe some one leaves tea and biscuit for u out side his bothy. Enjoyed my meal at the Inn last night; good company and fantastic atmosphere; Always made to feel very welcome, as ever Liz Jan and Ruby

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Saw you were getting on with neighbours so don’t need too much attention. Busy night.

  3. Paul and Kate said:

    Just caught up with a lot of your posts, Ali, and very sorry indeed to hear about Jenny. Anyone who has lost a dog before its time will know exactly how you feel. We lost a one year-old springer which picked up some sort of (rat?) poison. That was ten years ago and we still find it hard when we remember. All our sympathy. Kate and Paul (Toscaig)

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      I have heard so many stories of people’s companions whether cats or dogs. They give so much pleasure. I really enjoyed Jenny’s company recently. She stayed in close on the latter walks as the other two scampered about. at least I know she had a good life.

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