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

After waiting a little while for the tide so I could launch my dingy, I went fishing for the first time this month. It is easy to see why there is little incentive to go out at the moment when you tally up such a small catch after hauling 250 creels. Still it was good to go out on such a fine morning

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with the snow caps surrounding the Sound.

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The sunlit morning did not last much into the afternoon and with a breeze and clouding over it became bitterly cold.

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Must change a fuel filter before going fishing again, few revs up on the way out. Settled down or the rest of the day so job for the bad weather.You always know what season you are in seeing what is coming up in the creels and with me not being out much the squid have been laying on the ropes and creels.

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When I finally made it home cold, very cold there was a message suggesting a trip back out to Rona to fix the turbine again. This time it had seized solid and coupled with lightning damage on Arnish the North Coast Broadband is down again. Parts to be ordered for Arnish and Sean will be heading out there once they come through. Complicated and still regarded as teething problems I suppose. Not good for the North coast people but we will get there.

So it was an earlyish start and after loading up and not changing the filter we were alongside the pontoon on Rona by 10.30am. As Bill was not around it was a gird one’s loins, load up and off up the hill to the station. Time was a factor as the Portree ferry was due at 11.30am and needed the pontoon so when we were up at the mast

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an eye was kept out for the boat coming across the Sound. Having spotted it and timed the ascent we quickly lowered the mast, disconnected the seized turbine

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with which I headed off down the Hill to the Varuna,leaving Sean to do the technicals to replace and reconnect. I made it down in time, moved off and came back on the outside of the Aspire.

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She was a scallop dredger working from Islay for twenty years before heading down to Whitby for a refurbishment and is now the ferry to Rona from Portree. Beautiful ship and was very delicate in coming alongside her.

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Unloaded and gave a wee hand shifting tanks strainers and the odd box about while Sean was up doing his connecting thing. The staining on the wheelhouse reminded me of my Dad who stained many a fishing boat when they came up for their annual at the Yard in Kyle.

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The Aspire made off back to Portree and the Varuna to Applecross, not before talking possible solutions to our Broadband Systems for the North. Coming out of the Blind Sound we were treated to a light show over Raasay. Do not often see Dun Can from this angle and not in this lighting.

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Seeing we are on the Community today the dreaded de minimus is rearing its head again. Firstly as I get ready for a rant against one and all there is no personal getting at anyone but this situation we are in is crazy and people who have far more positive things to do are trying to work out ways for us to proceed. All the founders, agencies and consultancies are in place to help people and communities who are prepared to help themselves but need a bit of seed corn to set up services that either big business decide it is not worth their coin to help or through public funding cuts. So why and who makes it so difficult for us to comply with all the rules and regulations. I understand the need for the above to prevent the abuse the some organisations carry out to get their hands on public money, usual those that are already rich enough not to need grant funding but do not move without it. In our case at the moment we are battling to get money released to progress the Hydro Private Wire, again only as a result of being sold a “package” which was not as it seemed. 90kw seems is not 90kw when it is sold as a connection to the Grid. This latest grant/loan wil take us over our 200,000 euros limit, and just for three months at that. Of course most of that is our broadband grant which we were only told was de minimus when we were awarded it and the rule has changed on this but not for us as there is no retrospective ruling. So communities who apply for the same grant as we got do not have this ruling imposed on them but we do……no wonder we are cheesed off, language modified. And how on earth are we distorting completion by providing a service where no one else will. Where is the competition? Now we have the best of people trying to give us advice on how to proceed, quite frankly I would argue that if any one came for their grant back I would first of all say that it wasn’t in breach of any rule and if they insisted then close us down and then see what happens. Surely we should be encouraged in what we are trying to achieve not have these daft obstructions put in our way to make our lives even harder. Bearing in mind that Sean and I were over on Rona earlier today getting the first stage of the broadband up and running again we really do not need this unnecessary stuff to deal with. Local Developement Officers should be spending their time on more constructive matters rather than trying to work out ways are these man made obstacles. One solution offered is to set up yet another community company and when the time period expires hand it over to the original Company. Again low numbers of population and even lower numbers for directors so why make it harder? Rant over and no one even spotted I was ranting as I between rants I be been serving customers for the last 2 1/2 hours.

Comments on: "Two Days at Sea, finishing with a Rant." (2)

  1. Bloody red tape and then some. It seems ludicrous that a community that tries to help itself gets penalised. I understand why they need regulations in place, too much grant money was sqandered in the past on private companies leaving little for the little guy, but this is for the community not for individuals or comapnies as such.

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Quite right and this grant money we apply for is seed corn to establish a service that generates income to sustain itself. It is all very frustrating. Some people are just not geared up to looking at the problem and thinking of ways to solve it rather than to accept the problem and do another day at the office. We live in our office.

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