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

The seas provide us with such a contrast. If possible I have grown more and more attached to the ocean and know so little about them. On a day like Friday, all you are thinking about on the way out is putting the final touches to the fleet on board, planning where you are going to shoot it and then which fleets you are going to haul before the weather breaks again. Then, and there is no doubt that I sensed it rather than saw them but, coming towards me was a pod of dolphins


and coupled with the grey calm waters I stopped work throttled back and enjoyed a blissful twenty minutes.


All thoughts of langoustine, work and creel repairs disappear. The best thing about it all is they come to you and makes you feel humble that these beautiful beings play around you, jump, dart and swim under the boat.


The best day of the year.


Possibly one of the reasons I enjoyed Kirsty Logan’s mysterious story about the Selkie fisherman so much is the fantastic depth and beauty, combined with the harsh and uncompromising realities when it goes wrong. Helping anyone anywhere is fulfilling but there that extra layer when it happens at sea. Photos were forgotten until they began to go off and speeds only adjusted to catch the last of them.


Reminded me that the day when the Succorfish was replaced, as I was leaving the Varuna and started the outboard on the dinghy about twenty seals and pups slid of the rocks and took to the water. Something I have never seen before they then followed me across the bay coming out of the water, breaching like dolphins and looking across to me as though  they were playing and racing along at the same time. They were not as close as the dolphins  but it was still great to see them swimming and diving alongside. The weather broke as promised and I had an uncomfortable time in the Bay hauling the last fleet and untangling it from a neighbours. Some new eggs came up on a section of rope. nature does beauty well.


Blowing half a gale by the time I came back from Shieldaig, a massage, badly needed, and a bait and salt pickup.


(Now Monday evening) It’s not slowing down, Saturday was full with mending and roping up a fleet getting it ready for the fine weather forecast for Monday and then onto the Inn for an evening shift. If I do not write on the night things become a bit of a blur and I don’t think anything of great import happened. A normal busy evening with locals adding a bit of colour early on before disappearing to watch Scotland come close to France in the rugby. Better than the dismal performance in Georgia. Listening to Blackhouse, switching over to Twitter for the football and doing the CC minutes. Seeing how this multi tasking lark goes. Sunday with Linda on the Boss was able to do some catch up work and make an occasional appearance. It was pleasantly quieter and had a few folk for the Highland locale out ranging from Marybank, Dornoch, Dingwall, The Black Isle, Inverness and Kintail. Was able to take a break in the afternoon to finish Saturdays creel work before making my way back for the evening shift. Started off slowly but by 8.30pm was full on with lots of table juggling. Made it through to 10.30pm after a nicely cooked half steak, Janet having the other half earlier in the evening. Left the Boss sitting amongst the guests and surrounded by several almost empty bottles of malt. I think the object was to finish them. I was asleep before closing time.

Early start and a fine day it turned out to be.




Another fine defeat, or maybe not so fine going by some of the comments. Now live scores of Andy Murray, he was asked if he could lift the nation’s depression after the Georgia game and he replied that he always tries to win so nothing new so nothing new there. Joy to be on the water today. Another clean fleet shot away and extended another one to its right length. Gear starting to be in the shape it should be.


A couple of buoys missing, a couple of foul ups, and a slight breeze from the north. Couple of strange creels came up in one fleet. Managed to catch around half box of the extra-large and just two creels provided ten of them five in each creel. The rest of the fleet showed no sign that this was going to happen. Another creels had seven octopi in it.


Only caught about a dozen in the whole day. It is never a nine to five job. Landed a decent amount to the Inn and they had run out by the time I had come ashore. On the way in and during day there were signs it may start of on a misty footing in the morning… we’ll see.


Picked up Dougal and Eilidh on the way to the Inn and then went up to the hydro site and had a good chat with the boys, hoping for a dry spell as they were having difficulty getting up the track, machine was sliding back. Forecast for the week is perfect for them, dry and a south-easterly breeze to boot. Hard walk up to the Pen Stock site but in the sunshine,


bearable. Most of the plastic pipe laid out, and welded, across the field


and they headed up with more gravel and cement to block off the stream, the diversion already been pecked out.



No one is hanging about. Exciting to see it taking shape against so many odds. That over rides the feeling of despair in our Government who decide to give subsidy to the oil, nuclear and tracking industries while regressing solar, wind and hydro. Wonder if they could organise a drinks party in a brewery.

Comments on: "Dolphins, Good Weather and Hydro Progress." (6)

  1. Still remembering our sightings of dolphins from the Seaflower it was a nice diversion to see your dolphin photos. They had an instant calming effect amidst the doom and gloom of the current world’s news. Thanks Ali. That reminds me I must get a cheque in the post for next year’s calendar. I shall endeavour to do it tomorrow. Such a shame that we can’t be there to collect it in person.

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Thanks, its a mixed up world at the moment. Always seems to something going on but just now everything from climate to wars. Not making a very good job of it. Too many people believe they are right.

  2. Lorna Davidson said:

    Beautiful pictures, as ever, Ali, and great writing, too. See you next week – we’re staying at John’s house, Tue & Wed next week!

  3. Very impressed by photos, of course; dolphins put us in our place at sea. Particularly pleased for you that the hydro is really coming on so quickly. (Also will get cheque for calendar in the post!) And who can follow the logic of governments? They probably all need to receive yet another copy of The Lorax!

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Had to google The Lorax!! Passed me by but seems useful advice.Good dry weather up to today so they have been cracking on.

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