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

On the point of getting repetitive saying how the hours are filled up. Reminds me of being told how the Orcadian outdoors people find almost manic amounts of energy during the long days of summer knowing that it will end with many dark days of winter ahead. It feels a little like that and who knows where this energy comes from but it feels natural and a waste not to use it.

The Sunday shift began with a trip out to the Varuna to pick up some prawns for the Inn and by 12.10pm we were knee-deep in customers. Noticed the road side at Milton full, mainly of meadow-sweet.


Every table being used and only three of us holding the fort. A wee bit scary at times but went well and what started with Hawaiians, who were over setting their daughter up at Edinburgh Uni, ended up with a day that we decided to call “collecting Americans day” By the end of the day we had chatted to a mother and daughter from S Carolina, met a services family, living in Cambridge, but from N Carolina and California, next on the list were the couple from Wisconsin closely followed by the two from New Orleans and the day was finished off by the two exuberant recently graduated PAs from Florida who were called Catherackie. Seems always together and knew what each thought and said, Catherine and Jackie. Scary the amount of money is involved in the American education and health systems. Went in to say cheerio to them and was wearing one of my Tibetan colourful jackets which was immediately commented on. Conversation went along the lines of Joseph’s coat of many colours and I could not for the life of me remember the Dolly Parton song, that was until The Shetlander strolled in, she had had one or two since last seen, took one look and started singing, “Coat of Many Colours”, the Dolly version. Don’t think she quite knew why we were laughing so much. In amongst all this “weather” we are also shown what a wonderful place it is with the unexpected.


Driving anywhere just now can be difficult for “locals” as many people on the road do not comprehend that not every one is on holiday. Generally slow or inattentive driving does not bother me even if I am on a time but the driving over the Hill last Friday was special. On the way up it was the usual, behind five cars trucking along at thirty, made easier listening to Rura, Despite the Dark. Lost a couple at the car park at the top but picked an Italian up at the first hair pin on the other side. Parked, or so I thought, but no, darted into the traffic and now joined our queue of four cars. Going well round the second hairpin with one car parked there but at the last bend one car decides to cross the road and another stays on the left while a stream of cars come up and edge between them both. Not quick enough with the camera while the chaos below cleared we all set off down the Slips when I noticed the driver in front was taking pictures on the move. Now I reckon I know the road pretty well but even I would baulk at this. Was obviously too much scenery she was missing so she pulled in to take more photos, letting me past was incidental. Getting a clear run and now running a little late reverted back to my old method of driving, that is putting the headlights on (not full beam) and driving at a fair pace up behind the cars in front. Remarkable how quickly one lets you pass. Not dangerous but I like to call it noticeable driving. It seems to work as I never flash my lights or use the horn.

A sort three-day fishing marathon has just been completed with a still reasonable but declining catch. I think it is going to be hard to keep the langoustines on the menu as the creels are filling up with the female carrying their eggs. The occasional creel is just emptied back over the side with a half-dozen returned to set their eggs into the plankton chain next year. There are always the birds,




unfortunately we are not seeing many dolphins or whales about. Managed to wash and mend and reset two fleets, by early start on Monday morning to finish a wash and again missing a meal at the Walled Garden to wash the next one.


Missing a good meal did have its compensation though as I made my way back across the bay around half nine.


The rope on this fleet was spotted by today’s passenger Karen and it was alive with tiny crustaceans.


Amusingly her partner, Darren, who is a cycle expert promised to have a look at my ebike and while he was doing so he was pulled up by a passing “local” asking if he was taking parts of it and another took his registration number. Good to see us checking up on anything unusual….and he did not have a Scouse accent, sorry. Chain cleaned and brakes now work well. The weather was perfect for Karen




who tailed a few squats for the Inn and seemed to enjoy her day at sea. Weather was still fine on Tuesday although there was a fairly stiff breeze that blew up in the afternoon,


not made any better by have to put one of my fleets back together after removing two other fleets from over the top of it. Like driving one just gets on with it. Another change in the season after coming back from Cambridge has been the appearance of the “scalders” ,the stinging jelly fish, although we do not have the midges of Ullapool to contend with.


Noticed a string of eggs that are coming up, may have been around before but not registered. not sure at about their provenance.


And towards the end of the afternoon and low-lying sea mist rolled down the Raasay


and Skye shoreline


before being quickly burnt off by the strong sun. So signing off with the knowledge that all the creels are hauled and rebated, another fleet on board to be taken ashore to be washed and the forecast is for strong winds. I rather like this changeable weather system as it gives a brief recovery time. Family news has been concerned with American visitors, Alison’s cousins from Oregon, Dave and Jan, along with Raymond. They stayed a couple of nights, one of which was the meal at the Walled Garden and the other was a Thai squat lobster curry rustled up by me courtesy of the Inn’s paste and a few additions. Todays freshly caught squats being the star attraction. The sunset with the mist back in called for a wee trip outside.


The other important visitors were son No 4 and Rachel who have been up for the week and have announced their engagement. They are well content together but amusingly went up to Sand to do the deed but found it overrun with little Yorkshire people so went off to Ardban instead where it was a lot quieter. It’s Applecross and all relative, it does not take many people to make our beaches crowded, at least to us. So life goes on and the next generation are finding their feet and living their lives. A shift at the Inn finished yesterday off, quieter and the light outside emptied the bar at one stage. But more of that later. Morning off, away on the bike to see what is happening about our hydro scheme, call into the Inn to check hours, do a dip at the superb looking Filling Station replete with photos,


erected by Padge, and a bit of paperwork this afternoon. Dougal and Eilidh will be my side riders. Now really signing off, there is more much more.

Comments on: "Collecting Americans and an Engagement." (8)

  1. Ah how I remember the summer drivers who think it necessary to stop at every view and photograph it, and those who don’t quite get the hang of passing points on single track roads and those who assume that everyone is on holiday and that the speed limit is 10 miles an hour.

  2. Oh you have also reminded me of lifting nets covered in stinging Jellyfish………….. not a bother until you need a pee 😦

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      One of the few advantages of sweating a lot is not getting that burning sensation!

  3. Claire Calder said:

    Hi Ali. What is the bird in the top bird picture please? I saw one of these harass a heron whilst I was on Eilean Garbh.

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Skua, Clare, its local name is a bonxie. And they are pretty vicious, predators and opportunists, always on the lookout to harass anything for food. Good for keeping the gulls away.

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