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

Knockando Memories

I was going to write this post yesterday but the loss of my power of speech and lack of co-ordination put paid to that. The health has recovered somewhat although rather tired and not through over work. Finishing off a shift at the Inn that was not too onerous, the earlier shifts have been hit harder as many people are coming out for lunch and not travelling during the evening. The poor health and other symptoms were directly related to the exuberant welcoming in 2017. Yesterday began next door with a fine spread for lunch, good chat and some fine whisky. Some slightly bizarre tales of men becoming women and ending up in women prisons as sort of men, one in particular changing his mind half way through. I had with me a drappie of Knockando to keep me going through the day. This dram has memories of an epic weekend in a different life. Many years ago a weekend trip was  arranged and began with me collecting my pickup from the Lochcarron Garage after its MoT and heading to Kyle where I parked it at the Pier. With nothing in my mind other than jumping into the car with a couple of mates and heading to Portree to see Runrig. A fine night in prospect but the first indication that all was not well in Kyle….I had parked the pickup at low tide and with a spring tide that weekend, well, it does not take too much imagination to work out what happened. Managed to forget what was under way in Kyle and had a cracking night. So saturday morning, 6.00am, high tide lapping through the pickup, along came help. A fisherman returning from a party towed me through Kyle at around 30/40 mph to the local garage for a clean up. That was bad enough but the driver was far from sober and I was being towed in reverse. I decided that there was nothing more to do but keep going on the planned weekend, phoned the garage from Inverness, took a lot of stick, (sinking a pickup, being a fisherman etc), but ended up at Knockando distillery having a wee taste of their malt, given to us by a quite eccentric/old-fashioned manager. Back to Applecross and bit too much banter about sunk pickups and a local, that to this day, does not know how lucky he was to survive the banter unscathed, one of my mates that day was an exbouncer and was 6.6 foot by 6 foot and later I learnt he was debating whether to squash my tormentor.

There are so many empty houses in Applecross now the traditional first footing does not happen as in the older times. Now we tend to gather at pre arranged houses or in this case a Shed. After leaving Blaven, replete with food and drink, I made my way to the Cheffie’s Shed where there was a grand supply of many fine malts, Glenmorangie, Bunnahabhain, Highland Park and the rest of the Knockando with a fine Dalmore 15-year-old thrown in. Time passed very quickly and I blame the two pear ciders for my poor state of health. But the craic was immense and the company better. Met the lively wee photographer, Jonathan, and had good craic with the sisters although things were getting a little hazy by then. I rolled home around ten knowing the next morning may be a rough passage to sail through. Actually although the pain was pretty sharp first thing it eased in plenty of time for work. Decide the walk to work would be therapeutic and so it turned out.


Hogmanay was a fine night at the Inn, there were a few later bookings, but all was done  in good time by 10.30pm. Again there were lots of craic, humour and banter and Amir. Turned out that really was Ahmed, (he was n’t playing hide and seek) an Indian who decided he wanted to experience the Scottish and Hogmanay. The “skirt” was requested and delivered and off he went to the changing room or the toilets in this case. As he did not appear after around 20 minutes I decided to see how things were going. He definitely had not mastered the dress code and he had the kilt tied on like a sari. So I had another first experience at the Inn……dressing a little Indian, all in the best possible taste of course. Over the course of the couple of days he was here he lost and found his car keys, phone, kilt and discovered how cold it is in the North. He said he was coming back, we shall see.

(And yet another day later) And still on Hogmanay with every one well versed in the etiquette of the night the Inn was empty by 10.40pm and I went off to the turbine house to take end of year production and exports. Then it was off to the head of the Bay, I like a bit of peace and quiet, contemplation time and spent the last hour of the year with a wee drammie of the Knockando. I welcomed the new Year in standing outside, listening to the placating sounds of a stream running down the hillside, gazing up at the Plough, and just being. Surprisingly hard thing to do even living in a place like Applecross. Then it was down to the Hall where the masses had gathered and there were the comradely greetings and well wishing. Local and visitor alike, in fact I think it is so important that those who visit here are made welcome and that seemed to be the case most of the time. Great atmosphere and good humour that over rode the lack of sounds coming from the stage. The key for the music room must have gone missing again as the sound system being used did not seem to be working too well. Did not take anything away from the night though and it was all over, for me anyway, by 1.30am.

Last night at the Inn was pleasant and easy-going and finished fairly early, walked home with only the one minor incident, dropped a glove in the dark and smacked my nose on a wall trying to find it. So only scar from the weekend did not involve any stimulants of any kind. getting back to a bit of normality today with dipping the tanks at the Filling Station and going up to see the Turbine was in good order. With Ewen having changed the two breaker switches there has been a good run of 100% since then. Paper work slowly coming through and for those who want to claim the tax relief the Apple Juice ref no is WMBC/MSB/S0970/39920 18331/SCEC and office we are dealing (Cardiff), hoping the forms are through in the next week. I know that the admin with HMRC has been a bit of a mare but is  coming together. Angus and his two mates were wandering around the Turbine House,


unconcerned to any human activity.



Then it was a bit of wood chopping and getting batteries of the Varuna for a charge and thoughts return to work and a bit of fishing. And just to finish with hoping that everyone has a year that brings contentment and peacefulness to their lives and all friends and family. A heartfelt thanks to all who have read, commented, liked and tweeted the Blog, I have enjoyed writing and taking photos for it.

Comments on: "Knockando Memories" (14)

  1. Happy new year to you! Thoroughly enjoy your posts, full of every day interesting tales. Please keep them coming!

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Thanks Ian, much appreciated, there does seem to be something happening all the time. When I write a post I often remember something I missed. Have a great Year and thanks again.

  2. Peace ‘n love Ali. All the very best to you and yours. With Scotland 2nd top tourist destination for 2017 you may have a few long shifts ahead!

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      I saw that with a fair bit of nervousness. You can understand why people want to come this way but there may now be an element of over doing the selling. We are worried that the services and infrastructure will not be able to take the increased numbers….but then you have to say what a good problem to have to deal with. Cheers anyway and have as good a year as is possible.

  3. It was good to see you at Hogmonay. Hope you are OK Liz xx

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Brief but whatever. It seemed a good night made by the crowd despite the atrocious sound system. Alcohol through the system, light box on and doing the stuff that needs doing. Cheers.

  4. David Cobley said:

    Ali and all…..a happy new year to you all …..no sympathy for your sore head(s) but all in a good cause and long may it continue! See you soon but have some special birthdays to celebrate first ie your number one admirer Isla tomorrow and dearest Sharon next week…..memories of their wedding at Clachan today so yes will have a dram or four later….stay safe ! X

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      And the same to all you guys. Tell Isla Happy Birthday from me and the same for Sharon. Staying sane may be the wish for the year as Scotland is the 2nd “Must see country” in the world in the Rough Guide postings this year. Maybe another word for busy is needed for this year coming. Look forward to seeing you all again. And a great new year to you all.

  5. Janet Lamb said:

    Happy new year Ali. You help to keep Applecross alive in my mind when I’m not there, thank you for that.

  6. Happy New Year Ali!

  7. The Liverpudlian said:

    It’s a pity we didn’t make it this year Ali. I’d have been more than happy to help you open the music room door again……..

    Happy New Year

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      And to you two. You know when something is so bad it is really good, but there is a stage when it becomes just bad………. Think the music room has become hallowed ground since our efforts.

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