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

Friday morning and it is a different season from yesterday. This morning after a short doze on the couch it was an early start, mainly to get langoustine away to Loch Ness Inn and with the forecast not very good, a quick look round the remaining creels. Turned out it was very quick. Hauled the first one with lots of berried langoustine, more than a few squats but enough langoustine to go to the next one. Went to pick up the buoy without checking the GPS and turns out it was the south end, meaning I was broadsides to a southerly force 4. Half way through the second fleet, called it a day and was back on the moorings before 8.30am. When I was out there it crosses my mind about why we put ourselves out so much and for what. Pouring rain, grey skies and heaving on a white-capped sea do not make for an easy life, then this happens.

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I am surrounded by a small pod of dolphins

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with lots of babies

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rushing to and fro and all is well again,

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not questioning why or where I should be but just living the moment.

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I feel a rush of gratitude that these magnificent mammals include me, even for fleeting moments, in their daily meanderings.

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This follows on from coming home last night after a shift at the Inn where the staff used the word “carnage” quite a few times to describe the evening. It was n’t really although at times you did wonder about the functionality of the operation. Weather wonderful and the kitchen were going pretty hard to keep the food going out as many of the customers were eating out in the garden enjoying the evening sunshine and the truly magnificent views across the Sound. I had a feeling that it was not going to continue like this as it was perfect midge weather for around about 7.30/8pm. Sure enough by 7.40pm they arrived and with a vengeance resulting in everyone wanting to come inside. Full bar and they kept coming, this time I got the last orders well before everyone were on their tables, but even then this was not enough. The nine Italians  who turned up and were served at 9.30pm as the kitchen were still cooking anyway. The only restrictions we put on at this time of night it is past time for steaks and lamb so the shellfish and fish go out. Not a problem for the Italians, scampi all round, with their kids enjoying the wee person’s menu. You try and keep a handle on it but what’s a langoustine meal more or less and the couple of Dutch girls, coming in at 9.20pm, managed one amongst all the melee. End result is the 21 kilos of langoustine landed this afternoon is now down to one. Despite a couple of rooms of residents getting absolutely pie eyed, one couple disappearing off to their beds before their cranachans came out, the neighbouring table had a nice freebie, it quietened down enough for the staff to have a welcome drink around eleven. With todays early shift in mind I headed home around 11.30pm, tired but pretty content and that was despite being in the dark due to forgetting that my torch was on charge back home. Slow cycle back with some good music on the headphones and coming round the bend passing Alt na Chriche the tumbling water over the rocks caught my attention. With Dougal and Eilidh in attendance I wandered back up the brae and sat on the little stone bridge just listening to the stream gurgling its way under the road and of down past Burnside. After the concentrated application of the previous six hours it was the perfect relaxing, slowing down of an over active mind. It had been a pretty intense day all in all as earlier the morning and indeed all day the conditions were simply awesome,

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a word that I use in its proper sense.

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Conditions during the day could not have been better, the sky,

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a landscape painting with clouds breaking up the blue and keeping the temperature to a reasonable level for the natives.

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The langoustine, despite the numbers of berries were still okay and the squats kept coming on board.

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Going through gloves at a rapid rate.

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It was a day when I honestly wanted to stay on the water till sunset but the people need served and the demands of the market still has a say in my schedule. I was fortunate to see so much during the day from setting out and throughout the day. I reckon the Varuna is a bit like the Inn where it looks and at times feels chaotic but it works and provides for what she was built for.

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The first signs of autumn is apparent in the sea when you see cuttlefish

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eggs on the creel.

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Amongst all the sea life coming up you see the weird and wonderful at times.

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The first part of the week, with the weather at times breezy, meant I finally caught up with the gear ashore and had it washed and back on board to be taken out on Thursday morning. Fitted in a Trading Company meeting on Tuesday and a long discussion about Broadband and its future. There are so many variables to fit people’s needs and wants around. The coming of fibre optic, connecting to the AppleNet system, the communities to the north who may be joining and the BT “promises” meant it was a fairly long evening, always difficult after a day at the creels.

Also managed a return to my Thai masseur as phone numbers were changed in the interim, painful but worth the trip over the Hill.

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I am upbeat just now and enjoy the intensity of the challenges I face, but I am sure I will come across a grumpy bad-tempered customer and the Varuna will break down, I just hope I will treat this in a way that will be conducive to keeping my positive outlook on people and the life I lead. Great to welcome a couple of new wee residents to the area, another Oscar and an as yet named Kilbride/McInnes only a few days old. Of course Oscar’s parents,the new teacher and partner have also settled in and great to see the age of the community decrease, a welcome change. Unfortunate incident a couple of evenings ago involving tasers, CID and a bit of a stramash but that story is better left to the courts to sort out. Also there are a few employees or soon to be ex-employees who are not too happy as the Hartfield Hostel is laying of most of its staff. It does make you query how organisations apply for community based grants and use a community to procure monies with lots of promises only for those aims to be so wide of the mark as to be off the scale. Just to leave you with a quote and a link so you can make your own minds up if this is a good use of public funds, bearing in mind the imminent closure and laying off of staff.  http://www.venturetrust.org.uk/news/2014/3/marketing-and-developing-adventure-tourism-applecr/

“The project will leave a legacy of sustainable economic activity in the Applecross area; activity which is socially advantageous, environmentally responsible and ethically grounded. This investment will generate a robust social enterprise local employer, maximizing usage of the hostel facilities as well as developing adventure tourism in Applecross.”

Comments on: "Dolphins,Meetings,Massages,Italians and Layoffs…in a Week?" (7)

  1. Stunning photos, even by your high standards. You’ll be spoilt for choice when you plan the next Applecross calendar!

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Very kind indeed of you to say so. Yes a couple of that day’s will be put aside in the Calendar folder. Thanks again.

  2. Liz McKnockiter said:

    Stunning photos.

  3. Caroline Morrison said:

    Hello Alastair. I’m John Duffy’s cousin, I want to thank you for your wonderful hospitality to my so and his friends when they visited. The blog is amazing and I loved the photos. What a life you lead. I’m jealous. Very busy but so interesting. I hopeful of visiting and staying at the Inn some time in the not too distant future. From my enquiries, you are exceptionally busy. Hopefully, I’ll find a quiet time when I can catch up with John and the family over a meal. Meanwhile. Thank you for the blog. I shall continue to look out for it..
    Regards. Caroline.

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Hi Caroline, it is a pretty good life although the tiredness of the season catches up with you some mornings.Much appreciated what you say about the blog, means a lot. May be see you at the Inn some day. Cheers

  4. Caroline Morrison said:

    Hello. I really hope to visit. I’ll try to give a call to the inn and find out when is the best time. Keep up the good work. Love the blog. Kind regards. C.

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