Starting this late Tuesday evening and should be in a good mood. Celtic Connections are looming large this week-end, starting with The Lone Bellow and following up with another four days of what should be cracking music, ranging from Songs of Separation, a bit of BBC ALBA, and the brilliant Riannon Giddens. Have managed about 5/6 hours of book work today and that has not lightened the mood. Not terribly bothered but getting books to Inverness and doing three VAT returns is a bit of an achievement. These systems that have to go into place will be sorted by February, they will have to be as the season at the Inn seems to be already starting. The Inn’s accommodation is already mostly booked for the rest of the week.
Monday was supposed to be the last day for getting the accountant sorted, well it was Sunday, but I am a brilliant procrastinator. As the Hydro had shut down on Sunday and Ewen had tried unsuccessfully to restart it I went up to the Intake to check the water flow. There was plenty water coming through the bottom of the screen and as ever I had the brush with me as it seems to attract a fair bit of grass and sediment just now.
Not enough to impede flow but a brush across to keep it clean takes no time. I have picked up one of the bugs going round Applecross, slowed my progress on the climb but gave Dougal lots of investigation space on the way up. Taking a break to have a look at the awesome views and wee fire over the Bay.
Back at the Inn and after a phone call I went up to restart the Turbine as Ewen had put it back onto manual start. Successful, but the next job was to get a tow out of a rut on the track into the Hydro. Val was first up but after a fine effort which included some intricate reversing, Owen was next up. Broke the rope and finally Ali arrived in the Track Machine and was easily pulled out. Good to get towed out and Applecross again when I get three offers in the space of half an hour. Time flies by in the mud and water of a Hydro Scheme. Followed this up with a wander round the Bay with Dougal as the sun was lowering to the west.
Cattle happy chewing the cud in the field at the Big House. So a day away from the books.
Wednesday evening now and the feeling of “can’t be bothered coupled with stress” has lifted a little, helped by a pleasant and friendly drive to Inverness, catching a few photos on the way and way back. Did like the one on the Bealach heading home. The skies brightened as the sun was setting in the afternoon lighting up Kishorn through the snow of the Applecross Hills. May make it on to next years calendar. The Inn is already booked up for the rest of the week and we are expecting a busy, busy season. The Italians and Belgians loved the banter and seafood tonight. I think the North Coast 500 have done a pretty amazing job on their advertising. A really good problem to have but we are already nervous about the numbers for this summer. We are trying to put across that just driving the route is not an achievement in itself but enjoy the local food, drink, hospitality and scenery while helping the local economies that need a little boost. Article after article is appearing across the world, the latest being the NY Times and you wonder how our roads are going to cope with this extra pressure. But it is a good problem to have.
Finally the bad run of losing people connected to the Community continues with the passing of Ian and Alec. Ian “Cruary” a local historian of repute used to come up to his Mums in Toscaig and get the tatties planted on the croft. Son No3 was often down helping and Ian made a lot of time for him. I heard many a tale from Ian over large drams. Reminds me of my uncle Robert when we called in at Shieldaig, he would say “you’ll have a dram” while going to pour one. The option was limited to having a dram. About a half inch from the top and then he would ask if you wanted water. There were quite a few sips taken to get the right amount of water in and the drive home was slow and careful. Alec, I knew less well, owned Tilda’s house in Camusterrach and had not been well for some time. We are losing many of these characters just now but they will live on through tales and memories.