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

Community Fishery and MRD500.

Fairly relaxed now but so different on Sunday. Unknown to us a club/rally of up to 60 vehicles were heading our way. Lunch time was not very pleasant for anyone at the Inn. Getting through another shift seemed to be the main thing about the last week. There have been one or two “eejits” about and they spoil it for most. Saturday was a classic for this, group of eight guys, all good banter and craic, bar one. So much so that on Sunday morning a member of the group apologised for him. Always good to have confirmation. Another other couple refused to share a table despite seeing five twos waiting for a seat and a meal. I suppose most establishments this would be okay but this is the Applecross Inn where people look out for each other. Such is life and it is good to know the people I associate with and call mates do not act like this. As Alison and Zuzu were away at the DTAS AGM I had to nip down the road to let Dougal and Eilidh out as I was back in for the evening shift. Turned out it was not so busy and did not stay for long as the Boss had things under control. It always strikes about Applecross that you can make of it what you want. The busy life at the Inn can be balanced out by cycling down the road to Culduie,

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a wander over to the seals on the rocks and just taking in the serenity and peace of nature,

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this despite Dougal shouting across to the seal pups.

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Times have changed and thirty years ago there would have been no seals there, managed in a different era in a different way. Back at the Inn the weather was fine

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and there was a number of people eating out, hard on the kitchen but a little easier to deal with for seating. Only thing was we were a little short on the staff side as some Aussie band were playing in Glasgow taking the contingent away for the weekend.

But on balance, an elderly American couple, in for a meal on Thursday were looked after by the Boss as they arrived were given a seat in the dinning room. To cut a long story short I chatted to them, gave her our last three langoustine of the night, showed her how to tail one and left her to it. Just talking to them, being kind and on the way out she turns to me and says she will never forget her night at the Applecross Inn for the rest of her life. Sometimes it is so simple. Another couple of instances of kindness where I received a lovely card from Perthshire, such complimentary words, a sheer pleasure to read and along side another regular visitor’s appreciation puts the grumpies out of sight and mind. The end of days do that as well.

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Friday saw us through in the big smoke, an unusual meeting involving trawler men and creel men, unusual in that it was pretty well controlled. There had been a meeting locally which sounded a good one to miss but this one was fairly civilised and was mediated. The main downside were the two Reps from the bigger national organisations and they were representing three boats working in the area being discussed. Also the meeting although facilitated did not have an agenda and was a little too free-flowing. Going over old ground again and again can be done in the pub without taking a day off the water and travelling on a 160 mile round trip. These discussions are taking place against a back ground of a couple of good years of fishing and continued gear conflict. The basic problem is a code of conduct that does not work, creels towed by trawlers are the fault of the creel men, according to the trawler men for being in the wrong place and the fault of the trawler men by the creelers for towing away from the “tows” and going into the shallower waters. Seems insurmountable as we have the same fundamental problem in that two different methods are being used on same ground prosecuting the same species……and that is what the position was at the end of the meeting. I suspect that the two Reps went away happy in the knowledge that very little emerged from the meeting, in fact nothing. Interesting to watch people talking from a position of power, repeating stats again and again although they are irrelevant to the discussion. That they are representing an ever decreasing group of boats seems not to matter to them, they just want access to all grounds for all their members whatever the environmental cost. The most relevant issue about the whole meeting was the idea of a Community fishery, a fishery that would benefit the small ports directly involved in local grounds. This idea appears abhorrent to the larger organisations whose members depend on a nomadic fishery. Fish an area hard, then move on to another area, do the same before returning to the original grounds to start the cycle over again. The ground is degraded so much by this method that the local and static gear works in a greatly reduced and inferior environment. The reasoning behind a Community fishery is that an enhanced fishing ground better protected by a localised fishery would produce far better returns for the Communities involved. Leaves it open to accusations of selfishness but if a whole community benefits that is somewhat dissipated. In my humble opinion the better fishing of the last couple of years is directly connected to a decrease in effort. This has been the first year for some considerable time where you can move the fleets of creels, not by much, but more so than in last few years, thus giving some ground time to recover from the constant take of the past. It was really disappointing that the idea of a Community Fishery was not taken seriously indeed cannot be taken seriously by the larger national organisations as it would restrict outside fishers from local waters. Huge amount of complicated discussions would have to take place but would be worth it to protect valuable grounds from detrimental fishing. The glimmer of hope is that the idea of a Community Fishery is being put on the table at all and once an idea takes root……..

Fishing only took place last Monday so for most of the week, due to the weather, it was just looking west. Possibly added to the mood on Sunday, flat calm bright day, and I wanted to be on the water. Rest of the week spent going back and fro to the turbine house, doing dips at the Filling Station and walking through Carnach Wood.

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We now have our own 500. I was a little surprised to get a bill for the Music Room door along with the Community Hall hire for the ceilidh, even more surprised that on a Sunday evening it was priced at £500. Think of a number and quadruple it. The guys who run the Community Hall are not exactly advocates of the Community Company so there may have been ulterior reason for the rapid bill issuing. On the positive side the door was bought, fitted and possibly even varnished by now, all by volunteers, with most of it being paid by the door takings. Key is still missing but no one is mentioning that. Small town life can be very amusing at times. MRD500, music room door £500.

Comments on: "Community Fishery and MRD500." (4)

  1. The Liverpudlian said:

    Morning Ali,

    As it’s a community hall, shouldn’t several people within the community have a full set of keys?

    It was good to catch up with you over the last few weeks.

    D and K

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      And likewise, good to see you and thanks for the bike work. Going great although wondering why I was on it in torrential rain and southerly gale coming home tonight from Inn. Thanks for the other help and of course no mention about the missing key!!!

  2. If it wasn’t for me sharing a table I would never have got my job interview next week on the 20th

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      It is a feature of the Inn and it works 99% of the time. Cheers and hope it goes ok.

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