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

Out on Friday on a wonderful and quiet day

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to haul a few creels and keep the langoustines on the menu board. Very little to report apart from a few tangles, a missing fleet,a couple of fleets foul on other gear and the odd but smart cormorant looking for a mate going by his crest.

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Although never feeling the cold during the day it is very easy to chill down on the steam in after you have cleared the deck but the scenery keeps it fresh.

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Time to talk a wander up the Sand path in the evening light with Dougal and Eilidh.

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The light all day was quite special.

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Evening free so the baked potatoes were enhanced by squat lobster in marie rose sauce. Left the Inn after landing the langoustines in the safe hands of a visitation of the regular “big lads” who come up for the Fishing Competition in August. They were up for the rugby on Saturday, taking a minibus trip (not ours) over to the Strath to watch the game.

Saturday morning and a morning spent up and down the road and on the phone to see if I could get the Hydro up and running. After a bit of tooing and froing and under instruction I managed to top up the pressure in the dump load tank and the turbine was under way again. Unfortunately it only ran for about four or so hours. Jumping ahead to Monday afternoon I was back up at the turbine house but this time in the safer hands of Mick. I had another go on Sunday morning, although there was a restart during the day it was only running at around 5/10kws. A new build which although the principles are simple involves, software programs, circuit boards, fuses and breakers has to go through a snagging period. Even now the turbine has turned over 68,000 kwhs so projections are on course. Was up on Monday for just over an hour and learned a huge amount about how the head sensor works, monitoring the levels at the intake, sending signals to the turbine, where the actuator opens and closes, regulating the water coming into the turbine. The level at the intake is maintained so it is the power produced that drops off due to the water levels. Mick was trying to work out why the turbine had shut down concentrating on the head sensor. Possible reaction to severe frost but not confirmed and the same sensors are scattered round the country and geared to withstand -20c. Started up when I was there and watched the power settle at 17/18kws and the head sensor control the level of water at the Intake. Fascinating stuff and am already able to take investors round the turbine house and heating unit at the Campsite. Sunday morning  included just such a visit.

Lots going on at the Inn over the weekend. Friday evening was left to the boys build up to the Saturday game and Saturday shift was pleasantly busy, the Boss being away to pack for an escape in the morning. Something about a birthday escape. Easy going evening but busy enough to keep on your toes, only down side was the plaits on the iPod. turned out it decided to die but kept playing the same song on repeat instead of shuffling. About four hours into this I was asked how many songs on the playlist before realising what was the problem. The teachers on the Big Table now know the words to Stacy Earle’s “Did I say I was sorry” word-perfect, said it was a good song around 7pm. Then it was the fireworks sent up by some of Judith’s dedicated followers,

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sent off in to the sky from the Garden.

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The expected Rugby invasion did not materialise although we did get a phone call saying they were on their way for late food splurge. The spirit had caught up with them and all but the local contingent came in. had a good last hour listening to their reminiscent of escapades from growing up times. It struck me that nowadays there are not many people living where they have grown up, a sign how mobile the world has become. Where you belong has become far more important than where you come from.

Sunday morning, passing a frozen Mill Loch on the bike,

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and a quick visit up to the turbine house to see if I could identify fuses but with no luck, came down and showed Mike around the unit and he was well impressed by the community’s efforts. Had been an early start to get some more langoustines from the boat.

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Then the Boss left quietly before 11am

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and found out there were just the two of us on till six.The weather was still holding and a busy day expected.

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Good banter on the check out with a couple. Just during the chatter found out the lady was working in the NHS and then as a dietician, door opens as I point over to the ‘big boys’ in for a breakfast and a break before the England/Italy game. But unlike junior doctors she claimed that she was not working weekends!! Would have been a great project…here is Big Derek on his way to Applecross taking a break and getting some sun before settling in at the Inn for the weekend.

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It was a full on but under control and very enjoyable shift. Every table was full right up till four and then again at six but we had reinforcements arriving then and the evening was a lot easier. Four years on this job and nothing panics you now. Systematic but friendly service sees you through, meeting the Black Isle farmers, the retired lorry drivers, the teachers are all part of a shift that flies by. Only little moment was when Dan was over from Lochcarron for a meal with friends, when he was paying I asked how his Dad was, knowing he was seriously ill, bit rocked by his reply….he had passed away on Saturday. For a few seconds everything means nothing and nothing means everything, all you can do is shake hands and try to pass some feeling over to a young guy who has just lost a young Dad.

The food was exquisite, the usual langoustine, scallops, crab were supplemented by some gorgeous turbot, comfit duck, seafood broth, pork fillet, followed by an amazing tiramisu from Marion. The usual array of ice creams came out of Toscaig, (Applecross Ices) aptly named for the day Love, Passion and Desire. The chocolate sorbet with the cherries was a great way to finish off a long day. Finishing off this post and checking up on a refreshed turbine power read out watching the power out put increase from 17kws going up to 29kws in the last two hours. Signalling a change in the weather from the hard frost and clear skies to a wet and windy Tuesday. We will always have this silver lining as we look out the window and see nothing but horizontal rain.

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