After the excitement of the connection, there was the usual keeping it together and making for work. You could tell that the pressure was released when the boys came down from the Turbine House for their late dinner on Thursday. The main relief was that Sandy and his team came good.
There was still much to do and although the site works and landscaping will be left to the spring when the weather improves, programs, hydraulics, taking weights of the deflector, allowing for smoother drop and many other checks have to be carried out. The boys just had a couple of pints and looked pretty wiped out before making it back up to check the now running turbine before switching it off for the night.
Friday was a longish shift with some more of the Hydro guys and families appearing in preparation for an informal commissioning celebration, combining this with the Primary school coming out for their Christmas meal. It was a grand night busy but easy going and friendly. In fact nights like these hardly feel like work although the kitchen had to deal with 95% of their covers in around half an hour. As usual they coped well with top compliments flying back to the chefs. No mistakes from out front and all went smoothly, with Roddy and Elliot joining in only briefly. Did not stay out too late as a day at sea was planned for Saturday and I left the remaining revellers to it, leaving about 11.30.
Early start, up in the pitch black, a normal time for summer but does not feel right. Bit nervous the batteries would be flat but have disconnected the lighting bank from the starter bank and we were okay. Uneventful day although spent a fair bit splicing up cuts. Wasn’t out hauling these creels for about 3/4 weeks so other boats fishing close by catch them. Either that or the last day I was out must have been very careless and shot five fleets over other fleets of creels. No matter a good day passed rapidly
and it was growing dark by the time I got to the moorings.
Tried the new spotlight out, unfortunately it did not perform but got in safe enough. Result was that it was a bit of a rush getting ready for the evening shift. Did not discover it but forgot to pull the dinghy out. Only realised when I received a phone call saying it was close to the shore. No damage as there was no weather and she just rested on the beach as the tide slipped out.
HighlandEco had decided that their Christmas dinner was going to be at the Inn this year, partly to celebrate the success of building the Applecross scheme and of course they knew the food would be okay. Mick with a bit of inside info bagged the last venison loin the previous night and the fresh squats, scallops and langoustines made an appearance. Boss was a little worried that it was not going to plan at the start as it appeared a little bitty. But it was so informal and friendly and it wound its way naturally through the evening.
The late arrival of Steve, Craig and the irrepssible Kyle added to the numbers and bonhomie. I managed to squeeze in a delightful squat lobster Thai green curry. Highland Eco use the same contractors and you can see a strong bond that results in everyone working as a team, complimenting each other. There was a short spell we as a board were looking to another contractor to carry out the works, but circumstances allowed for that decision to be corrected and the final result vindicates the Board taking the Eco route. Despite everything put in the way, every hurdle and problem was cleared with a whole day to spare. The main feeling I picked up from the evenings entertainment was the buzz of a happy group of people,
some just in for the music provided by the Coast Road Truckers,
and many out to enjoy the achievements of the community built scheme. The music was complimented by many first time listeners and there were a couple of times during the evening I took a step back and just thought WOW, hardly believing what has just been achieved. Always planned a couple of Crabbies to celebrate and it was noted by many, concerned of course that I was on the road to alcoholism. Severely limited and now back to not drinking. Too much effort and have no time to spend just recovering from drinking too much no matter how much the enjoyment of the evening. Quote of the evening was, “this scheme has given us the most satisfaction in all the ones we have built”. That is saying something considering all the stresses along the road, not least the financial pressures involved in the contract. Delayed payments and trust ran through the whole project which inevitably lends more to the achievement. There was a suggestion that a few photos should be taken
while every one was still standing
and that was duly carried out with Kyle appearing quite prominently in many.
Seems there are another series of photos taken later while he was modelling underwear. That is for another part of the Internet and may be used in later life…….another reason not to imbibe too much in today’s technological age.
I made it home happy and relatively sober by 1.30am, still I think not completely taking in the immensity of what has happened. It was great to meet Leanne, Paul, Jen, Katie and reaquaint myself with Steve, Craig and of course Kyle. Taking Dougal out looking up at a crisp clear sky, the stars of Orion’s Belt, bright to the south west there was a small element of satisfaction that Applecross is now producing some green renewable energy for the foreseeable future. So small in the grand universe but the ocean is made up of many drops.