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

Walking down from the site of the Pen Stock at the Hydro Intake, Mike Vass playing his In the Wake of Neil Gunn, just low enough so the tumbling of Alt Breugach over the rocks is also part of the music, all is well in my world. Put that together with the expansive, awesome view of the Inner Sound and blue sky you would expect me to say that. The last part of the journey has been a little fraught and to explain one has to be on board the Varuna around 2.30pm on Thursday afternoon. The had started so well with the sacrificial hauler plates changed


along with the knife


on the way out. Never like “just steaming” and have to be doing something. The last fleet of seven just hauled and was kept on board to take ashore for a wash when things went awry. I had previously picked up one of my own ropes, cut, respliced it and dropped it over the side before finishing my fleet. Turned to go home when I heard the sound of rope in propeller. Bit puzzled as I had all my rope on board but then realised that it was the other rope that I had spliced had caught either on my sounder or the keel and then went into the prop. Bar tight and tried to get clear again by putting into gear and hoping the rope cutter on the prop shaft would do the job. Unfortunately what happened was like putting a winch pull on the gearbox which smashed the centre of the drive plate and pulled out of the bell housing.


It was still just engaging so hooked rope, onto the creel hauler to cut free and engage gear but too much and complete breakdown.


Nothing for it but to call for assistance and DJ on the Grace Anne was the recipient, coming across from Raasay, a fair bit to the south, but rope on and an hour and a half later we were back on the moorings, grateful for the help.


When a little younger fretting about lost time and expense would always kick in but now there is too much to do. Showered and up to the Inn where the Boss was taking the evening off so it was Linda and myself out front. A good night and all the tables enjoyed themselves, so many people are just a little sad in leaving and I have attended more than a few “last suppers”. New group have been in at least twice, live in London but were so complimentary about amazing food and friendliness. Phone call to our resident engineer, Ewen, to explain my plight and arrange an early morning visit to the Varuna. I think it is fair to say bad enough but could have been worse, always have in mind the Ivanhoe which was lost in Portree Sound with a rope in the prop, tried to remove it by thrashing the engine revs and ended up cracking the stern gland and sinking. Last thing before coming ashore yesterday was checking any water intake which was nill. What I have never done is to raise the revs to try and free any ropes, just not worth it, enough damage without doing that.

Lift over the Hill with Ewen, after taking numbers and details for part ordering, walk round the head of Loch Kishorn,





followed by a lift to the Van Hospital out side Lochcarron. The lift almost came too soon as everything was stunning, more than a little hint of autumn.


DMK Motors and another fine job done, back over the Hill,


down for the bike and up to the Hydro Scheme to see the further progress. Worked up a sweat in the beautiful weather but well worth it to see how it is going, getting ready to pour tomorrow,


having finished putting the panels up, this being where the water falls over the dam, through the screen and fills up the box before making its way down to the turbine house and generating electricity,


while Steve was laying the first of the pipes.




A few more lengths to go but the speeds they are working at….no problem, so thinks Dougal.


Gravel sand mix arrived and I nipped half way back up, well quarter of the way, to see where they wanted the load dropped. knackered by this times and have settled for a couple of bacon and egg rolls, a cracking mug of Peruvian coffee and The Elephant Sessions playing in the background. One or two wee rumours suggesting they may be heading this way. So I should be cheesed off, down but what ever switch was flicked about three months ago is still on and a wood cut is on the cards for the afternoon. (written yesterday afternoon.) Two ways of looking at events, could mope about a four figure bill and four figure loss of revenue or think that I have a bit of time in the next week or so to catch up in so many things.

The week had been quite good for weather,


langoustine catches and work effort. Mornings,







followed by pleasant days at sea


and meeting regulars at the Inn have filled the days. On Thursday evening took a trip back with Ian Wallace, over with Jamie, and recalled with him many of the old names and characters sadly gone from the area, Straight, Douchie Douch, Peerie, Morag, Straight and Gillies and many more. He had been woking on the first bit of the Sand road with RJ Macleod’s and had a pretty impressive memory going way back to the 70s. On the odd grey day there has been plenty of activity going,


Dougal and Eilidh are getting plenty of exercise with all the coming and going.


Little time to read about supposed rogue helicopters landing on the shore outside the Inn.


Some one put something up on YouTube and it was picked up by the press, a no news day. Good response from the Boss.


Comments on: "Hydro and Disconnected Gearboxes." (4)

  1. Excellent blogging Ali – bad news about the boat – another of life’s trials – but your positive outlook is a credit to you.
    brilliant pics, as ever. It’s so good to hear that it’s all coming together.

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Aye, the ups and downs. When you get older the downs used to be full on worry while now they are just part of the journey.

  2. Excellent.

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