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

Been AWOL this week and just concentrating on sleep when not working. The weather has been mixed but good for being at sea. The fishing has been okay with it being very patchy now, meaning parts of some fleets are empty but other creels are good and making for a reasonable average. And the size of the langoustine is still reasonable. On Tuesday, after a pleasant and guilt free day off on Monday, I almost burst a gasket by trying to do too much. Have in mind that next week is fishing policy and Cambridge music so trying to do two weeks work in the one. All very good in the head but physically difficult. hauled just short of 500 creels and kept one on board meaning to wash it after tea. I did manage that but all in by nine. Took the dogs across by dinghy and Varuna, they are definitely not sea dogs but once ashore they do amuse themselves very well. On the way back I spotted a cormorant on a redundant mooring buoy and on passing with the sun low in the sky he looked very serene on his perch.



The green creels are the newest and need little mending so left till Wednesday to rope up and shoot.


Hauled the gear out on the Middle Bank and up to Sand. Have had a fleet on the edge of the Range for years and decided it is not actually a very good spot. Sometimes very good but over the year it is not worth the effort in keeping the place. Probably the edge of the BUTEC Range is the most heavily fished area of the Sound and although the quality of size is good these creels are very often not that abundant.

Back to the Inn on Wednesday evening and although busy it was fairly easy-going. There is a good change over when you come in for the evening shift as the day staff know what is happening on most tables and where, if any, the residents are sitting. The Boss is taking it a bit easier and have not worked with her for several shifts now. Interesting chat with her the other day with her saying she misses the step back as she has less interaction with the residents and other visitors. For a few of us the monetary incentive is far less than the pleasure of work and achievement. Seeing people enjoying the food and service, meeting new people, passing compliments on to the kitchen are all the positives of the Inn. American and Scottish table of nine in and they were easy to serve and amusing aside. The matriarch said she was paying but knew her son-in-law well and asked me to get her okay for all the potential bottles of wine he may order. It worked for one bottle which was approved with a wink and the other bottle ordered was approved belatedly as she was strolling along the Street when ordered. All good craic. Even the elderly Danish couple who got off to a confused start but managed to seat them in the Dining Room for some oysters and crab. They were effusive in their praise of the curtious service. I smiled when they congratulated us on getting out of Europe and staying in the UK, all part of the job is to hear other opinions and still make people feel welcome.

Back at sea yesterday and little to report apart from catching a rather large octopus


and watching a bonxie on the receiving end of a bombardment by some terns.


Although the prep room at the Inn would disagree as I landed over a dozen kilos of squat lobster tails. I have been fishing a few creels on shallow waters and the squats arrived in huge numbers along with enough langoustine. Every spare minute was used to tail baskets of the little beggars and most of the evening when you went through the prep room some one was peeling the tails. They are not popular on a commercial level as they are so labour intensive but taste wise they are preferred by many to the langoustine. Thursday night at the Inn and each shift is so different, with the weather holding, the Boss out again, and the Inn quiet all was looking peaceful. The rain started falling and the door opened with the hordes coming in for feeding. By this time in the week you are recognising the families who are staying in the holiday houses and quite a few regulars are gathering for the Games weekend. From 7.30pm till after 10 it was pretty manic seating everyone but not a word of complaint from anyone waiting. Ballsed up a room bill and took ages to sort out, had to adjudicate on the ID of a golden eagle, keeping the orders and seating going while chatting and pretending it was not a stress job all part of the night’s work. Nice to see Lizzie, who lived for a brief time in the Schoolhouse. Sold out of sole and monkfish but the breaded cod came on to save the day. Langoustine and squats were still available. The last order from a couple of bikers who finally got a seat at 9pm was two steaks, not something the kitchen wanted to hear, but they were so well cooked judging by the comments from the couple. Second last order the chappie commented that his soup was not what he had ordered….he got tomato and lentil, not broccoli and stilton. unknown to me we had run out of the soups still on the Boards so Soup A was now what he was served…c’est la vie. He did enjoy it but no disguising what it should have been.

The fact that I did not wake up till 8.10am was a sure sign the body is creaking along with a middle of the night cramp in both legs. I never use an alarm as I want to wake naturally, later when tired and early when keen and fresh. On the water by ten. Only mishap was on the way out when I steamed too close to a buoy when caught under the keel. It was bar tight and could not get to the rope so took a chance and put her astern. the rope cutter did a job, picked up the buoy to be returned to owner in the morning. Maybe not quite awake enough.



Reasonable fishing


again in peaceful weather.


Put on my iPod all day for a bit of music and leaving it to its own devices I ended up with mostly Southern US music for the day. Longish day as I was not in at the Inn till five. I, after a little miscommunication, received my lens back £190 poorer after its dip in the sea, so tried it out. On the way in you can clearly see our Hydro in action after a night of heavy rain.



Bonxies in numbers round the boat and today I was hand feeding some of them.


Not quite taking from hand as I would let go just before she would clamp her beak on the fish. It is a hefty beak and would do the fingers damage if caught. Speaking to customers at the Inn in the late afternoon caught sight os a gannet soaring above the shoreline, I think my favourite sea-bird, a beautiful sight watching it soar back and forth. Tired but fulfilled. Politics will have to wait as that is reaching different levels of absurdity and worry. Two different worlds hearing the chaos on the news and living amongst and earning from nature.

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