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

Coming Together.

Where to start, Thursday, a hard days fishing in the Bay in an awkward southerly,


Friday, a funeral in the baking heat and Saturday,


a wedding after an easterly gale and driving rain on Loch Coruisk.


Do it chronologically and the fishing was expected to be a lot easier than turned out, the blue arrows giving a lie to the conditions and spliced and cut my way round the start of the day. Lots of unmarked gear tight on each other. The fishing was okay and some creels came up with some nice prawns. Very unusual and unseasonal weather may be contributing to the catches these days. Little increase in the squats so things may be settling down into the summer fishing. From the sea straight into the Inn and a fairly quiet but still brisk evening service. Nothing of note apart from the good food and service its usual immaculate best. (Writing this on a quick sunny break) Just received a high-class compliment for all the staff about how welcoming they are and how efficient and friendly everyone is and compares to any pub the customer has been in, in the UK, adding as rejoinder that had been in many! The Boss can rest assured that everything is going well downstairs as she recovers from the high dose age antibiotics she is on to get rid of the infection.

Funeral on Friday and although the day was still and hot


there was no question of not attending Eachain’s farewell to go fishing.


Unusually there were many “enjoyable “moments and memories as his life story was read out from the pulpit. I say “unusually as at many funerals there are no or little mention of the person who we are saying the last farewell to, maybe tradition that dictates this, I know not. A strong and varied life which included many fishing boats and WWII convoys to portering on the railways and helping the Fisherman’s Co-op in his retirement. Got one or two of the other stories as well. Was very honoured to be asked to lift Hector’s coffin from the church part way to the hearse. The call to the coffin lift cut short a chat about the powerful singing of the 23rd psalm in the church. We were not talking religion but a humane moment when everyone comes together as one. Good to know it was felt by others as well. Maybe we do not speak of these moments in fear of being ridiculed. Feel this coming together could be used for a common good rather than constantly competing against one another. The community movement understands this. At the graveside I felt very emotional as Lea played the Macleod’s lament with his seanair  already at rest. Memories of the days of the ring net fishing and my own Dad who was a crewman with Hector. He often turned up at our house in Heathmount, Kyle, for his hair cut and a Gaelic ceilidh with my Dad. I do get affected by music and the pipes outside, evocative and powerful takes you where ever your memories guide you. Baking hot afternoon, big crowd sending off a fine man in a graveyard by the sea meant time flew by. So the Thai massage had to wait for another day as I was on shift again in the evening. Busy with fine food and banter. This keeps going amongst the customers and you do so little to encourage it. Just a little initial contact that you play with and people just love being made welcome. Its the coming together earlier in the day that makes it so easy and puts things in perspective. The weather has provided some fine moonlit nights


and the sunsets feel even more prescient


maybe due to their scarcity.


And now to the wedding. Not at all hopeful at five on Saturday morning. Got up to look out the window and it was white water from one side of the Sound to the other from the east. Although we never got an early phonecall we half expected a call off as there was a boat trip up Loch Scavaig to get to the wedding site. Miserable wet and still a little windy by the time we made it to Kyleakin,


but it was all go and Jason had everything organised. Stuart assigned to take us to Elgol and then on board the Eilean a’Cheo.



Lovely trip up


and disembarked first and had a wander around the shortest river in Scotland.


The scene,


the bride,

9Q7Q0152okay the groom as well,


the sound of the pipes and pipers,




guests, bridesmaids


and the ceremony all played their part in an unforgettable day. Bit of relief in arriving.


A non denominational service of marriage which included a nice touch that I had never come across. The rings were passed round all the guests to warm them with everyone’s love. Karen and Martin obviously quite like each other although Martin at times had to ask what he had to say


and was asked to look at Karen when he was saying it. The weather held up and after a lunch and a swig of champers it was back to the boat in a spirit of bonhomie. Martin’s brother made a spectacular effort to get there as he has MS. The big guys, with lots of mountain experience, constructed a stretcher with wheel and got him there and back with minimum of fuss. Heavens opened as we waited for the boats to take us back to Elgol. I went slightly higher to take snap of the brollies when I put a foot knee-deep in a bog hole. Much hilarity and even a couple of snaps taken of me sprachling about trying to dry the sock in the pouring rain. Boats arrived and soon all loaded up and making our way back to Elgol. Had a good chat with the skipper on the way back and even here there is a decline in the fishing. Caught up on the tensions ashore between the two rivals in the boat trip stakes, none among the skippers. Corry, may not have the correct spelling, was not impressed by the day and was relieved to get back home. Out of time to upload so next post for the sad dog.

And finally back to Kyleakin Hall for a rip-roaring dance with an extremely good ceilidh band, including the very talented Mr Cameron from Glenelg, on the box. After a good few wee ceilidhs round the hall and a fine buffet this was all worked of with a series of Strip the Willows, Virginia waltzes, Boston two steps and not very slow Canadian Barn dances. The fitness levels showed up but giving up is not an option and by the time I left the dance floor after a fine dance with the lovely bride the black shirt looked cool with its silken sweat soaked appearance. All that was left was a reflective drive back, passing martens, stags and mountain hares on the way home. A fine day with lots of unforgettable memories, like the day before when Eachain’s was laid to rest. It was a honor to be at both events and to be able to appreciate lives both past and present. Leaving the Hall for home the view to the North was special in many ways and made for even more reflection.


Feel so fortunate to have lived and shared these events and to be connected to both events and people in them.

Comments on: "Coming Together." (2)

  1. Ali ….hope you “lot” are all well! What wonderful scenes you paint.Be it the start or end of a journey you always come up trumps! Oh to be in ax but hey ho not yet for a little while. Tea break over so back to the grind but the pensions man is coming later so who knows where that will lead.Take care out there . ……..Ryan’s dad AKA Dave!

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Cheers Dave, thanks for your heads up. It seems to come in waves and we are on a breaker at the moment where everything is happening all at the same time, never boring. Off to do an extra shift tonight.

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