What a complex mix of emotions over the last 48 hours. Starting out at the back of eight and a quick look in to see Mick on site already done an hour and a half. Roofers away having completed the House and Mick was just doing a site tidy.
The next stop after following the gritter over the Hill
was to Kyleakin for the first MoD public meeting five days before the “consultation” ends. Using inverted commas as calling the process so far a consultation is disingenuous. Generally consultations are carried out at the start of a process and ones the Scottish Government carry out last at least twelve weeks not 35 days increased to 49. We were given the controls over the land and sea that the new bylaws allow, the road to Sand, the foreshore and for me the right to close the outer sea area when the need arises. Passage over the Range is also in the hands of the Range operators. When asked for assurances that these powers will not be used we were told “ordinarily”, “don’t think at the moment”,”fishing can broadly take place”, were the responses when asked for reassurance about the outer sea area. There seems that little can be done about the inner sea area as the cabling and ducts have already been built and placed at the cable corridor coming out of Sand. It would be better for relations and an element of trust if we were told what we already know. What is happening at Sand is not maintenance but the new investment. Hiding behind a maintenance program and not being totally honest about the work at Sand is not helping us working together. The Range expansion is needed for the new technologies and bigger structures being put in the water. The socio/economic study has not been carried out so we do not know the dramatic effects of this will be on the local economy. An example, £1500 of local shellfish landed to the Applecross Inn becomes £4500 as value is added creating employment and profit on the peninsula. And that is for one week in the summer. Despite the awkward questions asked we have to find a way to exist together and continue good relations on the ground as long as possible. Ian Blackford called for a suspension of the process until studies have been properly carried out and assessed. I have my doubts but still hope to be fishing these waters my father and grandfather have long after Trident has been deemed obsolete.
So started with hydro and now back onto hydro with a quick leafleting of the “top table” before calling in and seeing Sandy as to when we hope to see SSE in Applecross. The problems of Abigail have turned out not to be so severe as hyped by the media. There is a line that keeps tripping and other smaller problems but Monday seems to be on the cards for work on the connection. Again like the MoD there is a huge difference with the people on the ground and how they have to deal with pressures from above and outside. How that affects us here may be further down their list of priorities and the local guys can do nothing about it. As long as we realise these pressures we can keep lines open locally and work with guys that know and sympathise with our situation.
Now on the way to Inverness and a quick call into Eilean Donnan castle to drop off some hydro leaflets.
The drive through Cluanie
to Invermoriston was beautiful,
shafts of sunlight on snow and water made for a very pleasant journey. Bit of a shop, a kilt pickup, snooze and was ready for the Award Dinner.
A curious mixture of an evening as it turned out. Met Tanya, of Kylesku Hotel fame, on the way in for a short photo shoot, then being mistaken for a musician who played at a friend’s wedding in Pitlochry, before making our way into the dining room. Speeches quickly over and the food was astounding. Pressed salmon, baby squid and crab, the venison fillet or the parsnip ice cream….take your pick and that was amongst many other delights. And after some fine, fine music we fire through the awards. There is a big screen that shows the various establishments up for the awards playing on repeat. Phil and Donald are shown prominently much to the repeated amusement and whooping from part of our table. We settled into the social drinking part of the evening.
Great to see Kyleskhu win hospitality award. There is great camaraderie between some establishments and the Kyleskhu guys are coming down to the Applecross in a couple of weeks. Judy said Tanya went a little pale when I said it would be a good idea for us to go up there. And apart from Kyle winning the young ambassador of the year the whoop of the night came when Judy won the Friendliest Establishment of the Year.
We agreed ahead that Steve would go for the Most Informal and I would accompany the Friendliest. A fine honour to accompany one of the finest landladies in the country. This photo is courtesy of Pammie, one of our friendly staff.
Lots of congrats all round, people who I had served, seemingly, were coming up to us and the photos were taken some better than others but great feeling of achievement all round.
The lady who had mistaken me for the musician came back and explained I had told her at the Inn about how the langoustine were caught. She was with the Dolphin Centre, shortlisted but had not won. She came back over after we had won and explained, word about sustainable fishing is getting out there. Then news seeped in about Paris and the awfulness of our world. You could not have two extremes. The opulence of the our room to the death and despair some Parisians would have been feeling. Kept quiet but Son No3 was over in Paris for the week. Found out via Caroline at breakfast he only knew about it in the morning. You stop your mind going to “what if” places. It is coming closer and it brings home what has already been already happening in other countries for the past decades. Decent people are on the move to get away from these inhuman acts. The dehumanizing of war, whether through drones or suicide bombs, helps the cause of destruction of everyone’s civilisation. Neither work, the only results are fear, horror and hopelessness. The festivities continued although there were many mentions of the Parisian horrors. On an aside I wonder what new law Dot was trying to get Fergus to pass next week.
Taxis duly arrived and I went in the sensible one back to the hotel and not on to Johnny Fox’s as I had already pushed my boat well away from the shore.
All the was needed yesterday was to buy a kilt, get home in one piece, check and bail boats
and do an easy shift at the Inn. A good evening at the Friendliest Inn in the Highlands. Almost forgot, a couple of quieter days on the fund raising front but still the total climbs to just over £470,000.