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

(Tuesday) Gentle shift this evening and feeling a little less stressed out having dived into some book work last night. May well be paying some fines but at least it is underway and setting up some systems where I intend never to lose sleep over it again. Silly really as I know I can do it but keep putting it off. Only New Years Resolution this year. Catch up and keep up. Quiet as it is we still did around twenty meals. The “maintenance” is still on going at Sand and the Hydro boys are back in town. Good news is the turbine was producing 90kw today for a while but they have to come back as a couple of parts are not compatible, so it is back down to the 50. No sign of it drying up yet despite the little rain we have had in the last couple of weeks.

(Friday) Weather has definitely improved and on Sunday it was a peaceful morning across the Bay


and the Milton whooper swans were quietly feeding on the bottom grass of the loch.


There was entertainment on in the evening, meeting a lot of people due to working through the week these days. Previously I missed them through just working the Sunday lunch shift. Good food, music and chat. Hopefully Treacherous Orchestra have another couple of fans. Only down side is the after effects on the Monday. Not terribly worried as the day was not for fishing, nor yesterday, but today was fine and peaceful although there was still the remains of a northerly swell in the morning. Fine day


although cold with a dollop of snow on the hills.


A few langoustines about on Wednesday and a fleet full of squat lobsters meant I had sweet chilli squats for tea after the shift. One of the few meals I have from what I catch and do not cook myself. Back on the boat the afternoon saw me taking a bit of time out feeding the small gulls


and cormorants.


They were good company watching them diving


and wheeling in the air,


chasing the pout I was throwing them, sad I know, but nice to be in the same environment as them and not doing too much damage to it. Been a couple of whale entanglements recently, some being freed but sadly an orca washed up dead on Tiree having been entangled on creel gear, either in use or ghost creels. Our activities on land and at sea are starting to cause havoc with our sea life, plastics and PCBs being major causes. Thinking about going over to leaded rope to at least cut down bottom foul ups. We do not get many cetaceans our way, possibly as a result of the MoD sonar activity, but I have had four encounters over the thirty odd years at sea, two bad ones and they were ones on the seabed.

So onto Thursday evening at the Inn where it was supposed to be quiet so I could do some paper work. Walking in I sort of knew it would not happen like that. A couple were on the Big Table by the fire and had booked on speck, the Conachers from Sydney. They and the scattering of local bods were on good form but the fire was low and it was cold. Caroline with a couple of gins Francis with her Sauvignon and Mark with a crofters and dram along with the Connachers meant it was a rather frivolous start to the evening shift. But good craic was had throughout the evening and the Conachers story was fascinating. Around the turn of the 20th century the family were based in Dunkeld, his great-grandfather being a keeper to the Duke of Athol (my assumption). Things hit the fan when his son Robert got the Dukes daughter “with child”. A big no-no in them days, so money changed hands and Robert and his brother made their way out to Australia. This saved me asking the Aussie question about voluntary or forced emigration concerning their predecessors. His brother did not survive more than six weeks but after serving in the WW1 Robert obviously established his family resulting in this return visit from Sydney. Another part of the tale is the great-grandfather became Baron Baillie of Dunkeld, a title conveyed by the Duke and was an ex officio, justice of the peace type role. The following is from a site I looked up.http://www.visitdunkeld.com/dunkeld-decline.htm

“In the reign of Charles II. Dunkeld received an offer which it declined. This was to raise its status to that of a Royal Burgh. The offer was renewed by Queen Anne and accepted, but although a Charter granting the appointment of 3 Bailes, a Dean of Guild, a Treasurer and 10 Common Council men, besides other privileges, was prepared, it was never carried into effect. Dunkeld is now only a Burgh in Barony under His Grace the Duke of Athol, the jurisdiction being conducted by a Baron-Bailie, appointed by his superior. The Baron-Ballie is ex-officio a Justice of the Peace and a Commissioner of Supply. Holders of this office during a long period were Messrs Conacher and Jack, the latter dying in 1906. The present holder of the office is Baron-Baile Watson, Deans’ Cross, who succeeded the late Mr Kenneth MacDonald.”

It is these little ceilidhs at the Inn that I work for, dipping into the history of a family, just being part of some one’s oral history and it is so relevant in todays land reform movement. That power the establishment still hold over the ordinary people and exercised in different ways in the modern age if any one steps out of line or in this case above themselves.

Our own wee run of people no longer with us stretches to the Big House with the news that Mrs Wills, Richard’s mother has passed away suddenly. Not having the stats but I am sure there are more deaths at this time of year, I suppose weather,short days and a general weakening of the body contributes.



Comments on: "The Conachers of Dunkeld and Sydney." (2)

  1. Ali, always a perfect read and you and me and many more who are are living this dream. Slainte !!!

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