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

After being immersed in land reform for a couple of days energy has returned to far better levels and just as well. A fine couple of days with huge varieties of emotions, the emotional highs and connections have been the strongest I have felt for a long time. If I had written this yesterday I thought my blog would have been “Bonxies or People”

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with the intention of writing that I preferred the bonxies.

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To explain, I was up relatively early and after dog duties and a muesli breakfast, I was on the Varuna before eight. Unfortunately with all the thoughts of land reform since Wednesday I had completely forgotten about the fleet I had left on board. Into the pier to take it ashore and off out west. Still had many thoughts floating around about land reform and they were mainly about how power and wealth have become so influential. How do we go about dissipating it in such a way that people who live on the land take the important decisions around their own communities. Interesting that the idea of Human Rights are presented just now as the defence of those in power. Surely they were created to help the disadvantaged. Anyway I was not hanging about as the forecast was for an increasing southerly and I wanted to catch some prawns for the Bank Holiday weekend. Succeeded in that by hauling 300 creels in a freshening breeze, awkward and hard work. The Mayday coming over the radio from the Mallaig area does make you think that you are always at the mercy of nature and simple mechanical failure. Catch slightly better than expected and they did last through the weekend, chuffed to manage that. I had one or two more round the boat possibly due to the lack of fishing activity on the Sound.

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Managed a snooze with the dogs in front of Netflix before making it up to the Inn. It was as expected although it went surprisingly well. Everyone did amazingly well at everything that needed to be done. Cannot describe how it all works, it seems to be a unit of which we are all part of and if you knocked out the individual components the unit would not work in the same way. Working at the Inn confirms my belief in movements like the Common Weal. We are far better together, in the true sense, not in the political slogan sense. Despite all this Did not have a true connection and felt more connected to my natural surrounds earlier in the day.

That all changed today and for several reasons and people. As our Company grows and learns how to deal with problems that emerge there are inevitably tensions and strains within the community and even the Company. Sometimes when we become so involved in running the broadband system, or the Filling Station we forget the people who take the strain in keeping these services going. We are not an anonymous identity like BT or SSE but live in the community where if the service provided fails we meet the people who want it sorted. And we all work as well. A phone call this morning followed by a return message means a lot. All this before a 14 hour shift at the Inn. At truely amazing experience although a bit concerned about the Boss’s fitness. Judith stayed behind the bar today and left us to “go for it”. And that is what we had to do. We had to deal with wave after wave of customers from eleven till well after food finished at nine. Food still going out at half past. Five highs amongst the floor staff after ten when we knew we had cracked it. Lost a bet of a pint with Steve as the M V Hampshire guys arrived a little before time. They do like their haddock and chips. 9/10 had them with a cod being the other although the cod was eyed a little enviously by some of the haddock eaters. Not a word about fracking passed our lips.

And at the end of the evening I had a wee reward. Earlier in the evening Garry came in with girlfriend Hannah. As Judith did not know Garry he is only classed as “well known” and not famous. I ‘ve bumped into Garry a couple of times over the years as has most of the Highlands and the rest of Scotland. Met Hannah for the first time and had a good banter going when they came in for their meal later. Very accommodating with tables and sharing at one stage Garry thought they were going to sit on separate tables and he was up for that, not so sure Hannah was. met up after everything had settled down and on the spur of the moment decided his offer of a drink was a good idea. A large bunnahabhain followed by a couple of hours of fine craic. Music, history, politics, land reform, a wee touch of the spiritual and yoga and just life in general. Time flew by and it was just what I needed at the end of the night. Not only that it seems Hannah has had a very interesting political past and always good to hear inside stories and opinions. Fond farewells and a quick bar clearance was followed by a thoughtful cycle home. Grand welcome from the dogs so wandered down the shore, time had wandered on to 1.30am, but in the company of nature’s sounds from the shore and Blair Douglas’s tunes, it was really timeless. Maybe the effect of a couple of malts had something to do with it but all was good despite the stresses around and about.

As well as all this going on  I had to make a few phone calls to organise tractors and tree surgeons for the morning ‘s events at the turbine house site. the first attempts to get the drilling rig in position failing due to the wet top soil. A 16 ton back axle did not help. The bonxies sometimes are easier to live with but they do have their scraps as well and are fiercely competitive so maybe are not that much different from us. Flying free does appeal sometimes.

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Today was probably more stressful but more later.

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