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

Good day yesterday, Friday, well productive anyway. Mainly an afternoon as we went out to the Varuna in preparation for the return of the Auk. I got a phone call in the morning asking for a fuel up so it was the bike and dogs to the Pier. Very quiet morning and almost went out despite the forecast. This was poor, and early as well, boats were back in by eleven so glad did not go out. Was on the Varuna to change the oil, top up the hydraulic tank and change the fuel filter. Generally do not like these jobs but they have to be done. Engine rooms and me not being a small chappie do not go well together. Had trouble getting the filter off and then getting it bolted back up. Usually a knack to these things and I usually find the hardest way to do them. Being scrunched up does not help. Anyway jobs done with half an eye on what was happening alongside as the Auk had turned up and Davie was in the water. He had three moorings to check so looking for the boxes was a handy addition for me. He had a good look before coming across them, hearing the whistle from the engine room, picked them up in the dinghy and then towed Davie over to the other moorings before finishing off my maintenance.

Relaxed weekend so far in that there was a little catch up with some paper work before going out to the Inn and having a surprisingly quiet evening.Lovely weather on the way up the road and stopped just before Milton to nip down to the water’s edge as it was bright and breezy.




Now ten o’clock and six people in the bar. Meals equally quiet especially with three out front and two behind the bar. It balances out over the year I suppose. Spent the last hour or so chatting to the Pitlochry couple before the Boss came back from the Ceilidh at the Hall. The Sunday lunch shift shot by as it was busy in the extreme. Weather between the showers,wintry ones, was cold but fine.


We were cruising along until two when the door open and stayed open for around forty people. The second sitting was rapidly underway. Before this I met Northumbrianlight https://northumbrianlight.wordpress.com in the form of Robin Down. We follow each other’s blogs and occasionally comment. They were on their way to Gairloch for his first ever book signing. A book just published called Golf in the Wild (a journey through time and place). I was given a signed copy and had forgotten I had contributed a small quote to it, not confident enough to put my name to it at the time, how things change. So back home and not too tired, aware enough to nip out and watch another shower race across the Sound with spectacular lighting


and with the new arrivals just messing about oblivious to what was heading their way.


So with the hydro back on stream with very tight deadlines and corners to not so much cut but go round very quickly the news from the MoD is making a few people nervous. My only source for the last couple of weeks has been the WHFP where the was an article that if remotely true spells big trouble for the local fishing fleet. At the moment it is hard to winkle the true nature of the future plans for the Range. We are only receiving information through the local paper and that is through questions asked of the Defence Minister, Phillip Dunne. At present we are not allowed to fish within an area of 26 square kilometres and this is surrounded by an out sea area of 56 square kilometres where there is no dredging or trawling permitted. The following reply raises serious concerns among the local fishermen and will undoubtedly take several boats of the water if allowed to proceed.

“The proposed by-law extension is for a single range area (around 110 square km) in which no fishing activity (including dredging or trawling) will be permitted, although this does include the possible creation of local agreements, that would permit controlled creel fishing or dive fishing in the area”. This map looks great to what is now being reported.



Already the MoD have said that there are no plans to double the closed area and now we find that this is true, they are planning a quadrupling of the area. Make no mistake what they say is controlled creel fishing means we will be denied access to a new Range. This is the history of the 70s repeating itself. “Don’t worry boys you will be able to carry on your fishing activities as before” then quietly in a couple of years we find we are excluded from carrying out our way of life on the basis of some spurious ‘national interest”, testing weapons we cannot ever use. What a crazy world we live in when men of power run roughshod over the little guys just keep their positions of power. Never has the phrase “Emperor’s clothes” meant so much to me. People playing dangerous games with similar people in other nations while the ordinary man is just cast aside, a casualty in some inconsequential power game. I find it bad enough seeing these sinister and useless vessels


plying the Sound but to think I may be watching them from the shore makes me angry. Also the way we are treated by the duplicitous way we are fed information and even misinformation. But this just seems so run of the mill nowadays that lying to the public is now an everyday occurrence. It really is such a mismanagement by man of such a beautiful part of the world. On a practical level I have about 90% of my creels in the proposed closure and so where do I and the other boats in my position go? I have also seen a map released by the MoD through a FoI request where lines are drawn which, if interpreted in a certain way would mean the end of any type of fishing on The Inner Sound. Just do not know what to believe any more.


Comments on: "MoD, Duplicitous in the Extreme" (4)

  1. Moira Blurton said:

    So sorry about this news, it seems so unfair, I hope it doesn’t turn out as bad as it looks.

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      We are starved of information but it does not look too good as the history of the MoD in this area from the 60s on does not inspire confidence.

  2. It was good to meet you Ali – a shame you were working and we were on a such tight schedule heading north. In Ullapool we had an interesting chat with some Cornish fishermen which I must share some day. All the best, Robin & Pam

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      And you, that is how I meet people these days, short disconnected conversations, with different people all at the same time. Interested in the Cornish though.

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