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

Noticeable on the way over the Hill that the rivers were full, white water running down the Russel Burn. Knowing what the forecast was like from keeping an eye on XCWeather, http://www.xcweather.co.uk/forecast/Applecross as good a forecast around just now although dipping into BBC Inshore Waters and Magic Seaweed help if you want to dodge out for a half day, it was not too much of a shock coming from the summer of Cambridge back to the autumn of Applecross. And Tuesday was wet windy


and even a little cold and involved a lot of catching up by getting the prawns back on the menu going out to the Varuna to land the last of the prawns hanging over the side. A fuel delivery arrived and we got a call for the new receiver about padlock keys. I went back up to help receive the delivery taking Dougal and Co with me to wander around the Bay.


Bumped into the tree surgeon who has had a lot of work to catch up on this summer.


Commented it was a shame that all this lovely beech was being cut up for firewood but the integrity of the paths took precedent over taking the wood out in plank lengths.  We have had the best ever monthly sales in July selling over 25,000 litres. The new system and the 5p a litre has helped greatly. The connection cable and now the nozzle shut off problem, fixed by Duncan, shows there are always going to be problems but the system is working well and great the book-keeping is going well. I am carrying on dipping but Zuzu has taken over the book work on that and although not a major job is one that has to be done. And one that tends to be at the bottom of my list.

Back into the fray this evening with an extra shift and it is as busy as ever but the weather is causing little problems along the way. If you are camping and it is cold and miserable and wet where do you go with your family but to the local Inn. While at the Inn trying to feed everyone is the objective and guys sitting on tables chatting for four hours while we struggle to find seats for the next wave. Many, almost all, the customers are aware of this and willing share tables or offer their tables and move to the bar but every now and again you come across an awkward situation where people just look at you and think “tosser”. Had the opposite reactions on Wednesday evening when a group of thirteen came in unannounced, willingly split up and passed up at table for a young family while another small group on a big table after hogging it for four hours slagged me off for daring to suggest they could possibly move on for another big group. Ears are always sharper for picking up abuse. While it bothers you that not every one is happy coming to the Inn there is little you can do in certain circumstances. Thursday evening and the stresses mainly came from the kitchen, a long day to start with and at the middle of the evening shift there is a bit of a lull before the second wave comes in at around and after eight and then the kitchen get hit meaning they are flat-out till after nine, a long time since they started cooking and prepping in the early morning. Couple of social media connections in the form of Maggie and another family who read the Blog celebrating their son’s eighteenth. Also my brother-in-law’s wife’s mother appeared, staying at Clive’s.

And the fishing recommenced on Thursday with the southerly still blowing throughout Wednesday morning. It quietened off and the rain started. The morning shift in the Bay


landed a few prawns but was hauling through a layer of fresh water until I moved out offshore a little.


Crustaceans do not like the fresh water and even the short time they come through it are disconcerted to the extent  they are tricky to get out of the creels. Wee breeze that was not forecast got up and as I was trying for a day and a half’s work plus a night at the Inn was finding it hard going. Coming up to what was possibly the last fleet the rudder went again. Round the wrong side of the post, my fault for not securing it properly the last time. So with me drifting broadsides, water coming into the aft hold and the aft pump choked it was five minutes of “what do I do now?” Working on your own has lots of advantages, any mistakes you make there is no time for recrimination but get it sorted. So with the pump freed up and replete with sockets, spanners and stilton loosened of the ram and swung the rudder back round. Hatch closed and headed back in feeling seasick and knackered. After ten minutes started tailing the squats again and realised what effort you put in to sort out stuff at sea. My left arm was in spasm for the next twenty minutes due to forcing the rudder round. Five minutes ashore and then to the Inn for a busy evening, stressed kitchen and finished off with a fine mascipone ice cream of Aron’s.

Friday just as hard and although not off the mooring too early doors it was full on day. Bolted up the rudder properly and only have to change a coach bolt as the one I lost was replaced by a shorter one before the original turned up. Main problem solved and movement of the plate the piston is secured to has been stopped. Out to haul 250 creels before heading to Rona to pick up Castaway Clare after her month on Eilean Garbh raising moneys for The Glasgow Burn’s Unit. http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserPage.action?userUrl=CalderClaire1&faId=594243&isTeam=false


Would have been in better time if not fouled gear on the last haul. Tried it last week in a northerly sweep but dropped it for a better day. Picked up from the other end before it got tight. Only way to haul it on board was to cut off my last seven or eight creels and two of the other boats. Breeze had picked up so this meant we were alongside the Rona pontoon an hour later than scheduled. Just the board to take down,



loaded up and away south to home, decanting creels and Clare before landing the prawns and squats late. Service already well underway so prawns to be blanched later. Still despite the long days and exquisite tiredness it is good to be back where I belong, seeing the changing season through what turns up in the creels. A larger number of berried prawns


coming aboard for short stays, signifying the onset of autumn, and we are still waiting for summer. Picked up a three-fingered starfish,


regenerating, and reminded me of how the fishermen when they worked the ground nets would cut the starfish and throw them back, dead they thought, before realising they were actually increasing the population as each part regenerated. Some large starfish


about and the distinctive looking blackbacks.


Of course the bonxies are ever-present although numbers appear to be down this year.


To finish off three days of satisfying graft, a meal of squat tails, leaves and new potatoes from the garden followed by a cycle south with the dogs.


And all that without MPAs and Hydro.

Comments on: "Big Starfish and small Castaways." (6)

  1. if somebody ( or group ) are being that selfish and are hogging the table cant you just tell them times up and could you please p155 off as there are other wanting fed and watered?
    I don’t think I am cut out for dealing with unpleasant customers!!

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      It happens very rarely but it is very noticeable especially as the general atmosphere is so good. Last night was crazy busy but everyone was either offering their tables after they had eaten or move to a smaller one. The comments and handshakes and bonhomie made you forget the table on Thursday evening ever happened.

  2. Enjoyed your blog which I stumbled upon doing some research on Scottish fishing quotas and how life is for a fisherman in Scotland today.

    i was hearing that a number of owners who own boats are choosing to register their craft South of the border as they are unsure as to the future policies of Scottish government and its effect on their livelihood.

    Are you being supported by current government policies or are there issues that regulators could improve on?

    Another issue is waste. Civil servants I’ve spoken to have explained that previously to the current EC regulations, extra fish to the quota were never just itched and lost. They were given to the poor and families that had fallen on hard times. The ‘boorach’ is the Gaelic for these folks? (I have no gaelic, I’m sorry to say).

    In this way the bureaucrats in Brussels may well be displeased but the children had full bellies and nobody got hurt in the process.

    Any comments on these observations?

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Have not forgotten to reply but need a little time to do so properly. cheers and will be back in touch.

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