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



We’ve decided that we want to use Ali’s blog to let people know what’s happening in the search for him, provide any news and to thank everyone for their support. We can see that there have been several thousand hits on the blog in the last few days and would like to tell the story ourselves through a post or posts instead of providing information to the press to do what they want with. Ali’s blog was a very important part of his life; he used it to work through his own feelings and thoughts as much as to provide information for others. So it is appropriate and helpful for us as his family to use it in the same way.


Ali is still missing; the first intensive search has been called off and it is clear that there is no chance at all that he will be found alive. There is still some official and unofficial searching going on, as and when resources allow. We’re all very grateful for all the effort that people have put into this; the police, RNLI and coastguards could not have done a more thorough and professional job. We are very moved by the commitment of all the local volunteers who willingly sacrificed their time to search the sea and coastline with the hope of finding any sign of him. Thanks to all who have offered support of all kinds, calling in with food and flowers and warm hugs, finding words to say that explain what Ali meant to them and to comfort us. We have been inundated with messages of support. It has really meant a lot.



We want to share some of our fondest memories by posting these photos, including two of a collection of pictures and words put together by the children at Applecross Primary School, next door to our house, which explain what Ali meant to them. The photos show Ali laughing as he listened to speeches at Niall and Rachel’s wedding in July, and Ali with his arm round a new found friend, Anders the reindeer herder from Lapland, who he met in Reykjavik when he was at the Arctic Circle Assembly last month. The photo was taken at a reception hosted by Nicola Sturgeon who headed straight to our group when she came into the room and happily agreed to pose for photos with Scots who were to speak at the Assembly.


Comments on: "Ali" (40)

  1. You are so brave for posting those words. Please just keep his memory alive, I am sure many will agree his blog was our little connection to such a wonderful place and a wonderful man.

  2. Janet Lamb said:

    Each night when I went to bed I would check to see if Ali had made a post to his blog. It was a way for me to connect with Applecross, a place Steve and I have loved for many years. I was very upset when I found out on Monday that a fisherman was missing in Applecross and then shocked to discover on Tuesday that it was Ali. I kept hoping for a miracle although sadly that now seems very unlikely. I am so sad for his loss and my heartfelt sympathies go out to you Alison and to your sons and all his friends in Applecross. It was only a few short weeks ago that we last saw Ali and it is such a shock to know that we will never see him again. His blog made you feel as if you were sharing in his life and I will so miss him and his missives. Please accept our condolences at this very difficult time and I hope that those working so hard to find Ali and bring him home to you will find him soon. Our thoughts are with you and everyone in Applecross.

  3. It’s strange to grieve for someone you have never met but I feel like I’ve lost the chance to maybe make a new friend. I only knew Ali from his blog but I had been looking forward to maybe bumping into him at the inn one day. I think his love of the place he lived in touched and inspired a great many people.

  4. Tim Daplyn said:

    Thank you for sharing Ali with us in this way. He shared so much of himself with friends and strangers wherever he went. Words cannot express our sadness at his passing out of our sight but not out of mind. Our love and our prayers are for you at this time. Tim and Anne.

    • lynne slater tinsley said:

      hi tim its john and lynne tinsley you married us two years ago this is so sad .I hope they find ali soon and bring him home soon with all our love lynne and johnxx

  5. Thank you for letting us know what has happened. It has come as a great shock. Ali seemed so full of life. I have been following his blog for years and had thought that I might get at last to meet him at the inn next year on a proposed trip to Scotland. I am so sad to hear this news and send my thoughts to all his family and friends.

  6. Both Judith and I were shocked to read about the boat going missing on Monday. We then waited anxiously, hoping for news that he would be found safe and sound. So it is with deep sadness that we now hear that the search has been called off. Ali was an intelligent, warm and generous man, but overall we will remember his passion – not only for people in general, but for the community and the environment. We will all miss him.

  7. Thankyou for these words.I hope Ali is found so you can bring him home. I am feeling this for you all as another fisherman’s wife and as one who knew his huge contribution to the inshore fisheries world, but most as an irreplaceable and loved man to his family and friends.

  8. Sandy Livingstone said:

    Such a loss, although I somehow still feel he is out there barely surviving and looking out for us all. I have rarely met such a kind heart and warm spirit and always at the ready with some very wise words. My heart goes out to Alison and all the family and my prayers are with you.

  9. Rod Coldwell said:

    Many thanks Alison for posting this blog and giving us an update at this very sad time. I was so shocked and saddened when I heard the news and my thoughts go out to you and the boys. I share and agree with the comments already made and I’m sure you already know that you both you and Ali have always had my full support in the many projects you have done for the Applecross community. Ali will be sincerely missed by us all but his spirit and enthusiasm will never be forgotten.

  10. Lindy Sharpe said:

    Applecrosslife was the first blog I followed, and the only one I always looked at when it popped into my inbox. I am shocked and sad to hear about his loss. I admired his honesty and reflectiveness, as well as his values — and of course his wonderful photography and his love of the natural world he lived in. I will miss him, and send sincere sympathy to his family, and his colleagues at the Inn.

  11. Sarah Burke said:

    We are so sorry to hear the news about Ali. We come up to Applecross every year and he always remembered us. He was always warm, friendly and welcoming. We know what an impact he has had in Applecross and send our heartfelt kind thoughts to his friends and family. The Burke family. X

  12. Finlay MacBeath (ex Kishorn) said:

    The thoughts of an old school mate of Ali”s -now living in Shetland – are with you all at this terrible time.

  13. Gordon Clarke said:

    Heart broken to hear the tragic news of Ali. My sister Roslyn and her partner Tom and family are living in Applecross and we visited them in May this year and had the pleasure to met Ali in connection with the hydropower station. True gentleman and incredible soul. I only met him once but he made a lasting impression on me. Love and prayers to those close to him at this difficult time. Great strength on your part and very appropriate to communicate to others through his blog – I know my father was an avid reader. It was a little insight for my father into Applecross life!

  14. Jacqui jones said:

    So sorry to hear about Ali. I didn’t know him but followed his blog and his tweets. I just loved them and quite frankly in the middle of a boring daily train commute to Edinburgh it brightened my day. When we were on holiday in Kintail earlier this year and visited Applecross I wondered where Ali and what he was doing. You have been so brave with this post and done Ali proud. Please accept my sincere condolences. I send you prayers, love and virtual hugs. Jacqui

  15. Lyle Metcalfe said:

    To Alison and Family, it’s unbelievably sad to hear of this news. I feel privileged to have met Ali and my heart goes out to your family and friends. He was an unbelievably nice person and I hope his legend lives on as I’m sure it will. I’m very grateful that he was kind enough to help me out with our latest video as well as some other work in the past. I hope our video serves as a fond memory of him. I also hope we will be able to return the favour some way in the future. My utmost condolences, Lyle Metcalfe and the VOLT team.

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      I’ve just seen a lot of these messages for the first time; most don’t show when you are not logged in. We love your video and have shared it on the latest post today.

  16. Gino Rondelli said:

    We are shocked and saddened, a great character, a friendly face and always an opinion, hard working, he will be sadly missed by countless people. We share your pain, please accept our condolences

    Gino & Fiona

  17. Dear McClouds I just wanted to say that I was,thinking off you all and terribly sad to here that Ali cant be found.
    When janet and I bought Ceol na Mara he and Alison were so welcoming to us and always spent tine talking with us whenever we were up to do jobs on the house. The,blog was an essential way we kept in touch from Manchester and wh en Ali. Had to move wood to Uags bothy I volunteered to help. It was a memorable day. Despite The differences in our politics I remember the day very fondly. I learned a lot about The history of applecross and was chuffed when he bought my book albeit for children. We shall miss his blog but not as much as you will and we too will miss him. Love Liz Harris and Janet Day

  18. I’m very sad to hear this news, Ali was always a good friend to me & loved his music. Sending my best thoughts to the family and wider Applecross community. Ewan

  19. Terrible, terrible news, Alison. My heart really goes out to you. Life won’t be the same for me, down here in Fife. Can’t begin to imagine what it’ll be like up there for you all. Ali really did make a difference to so many lives. To be honest, I got a fright when I’d read his July 14th entry back in the summer. Ali always made light of what was clearly a dangerous job. Terrible, just terrible. Ali was on the right side of life. As simple as that.

  20. Robyn Dutton Scott Coleman said:

    Friends and creelers from Loch Broom and visitors to the Inn. We were devastated to hear. We know how important he was to Applecross, to Alison, family, all at the Inn, his dogs…just everyone and beyond there to the fishing community. We will miss him immensely. Thank you for keeping the blog going. Robyn and Scott

  21. Judy Coplan said:

    Thank you for this post and out deepest sympathy for your loss. We were shocked to hear the news that Ali was missing earlier in the week and are now deeply saddened at such a tragic conclusion. As with many others who followed the blog, we feel we knew Ali through following his writings and photographs of the community that meant so much to hm. His love of music, the natural world and his service to the community were inspirational. We enjoyed many conversations with him on our annual visits to Applecross and cannot begin to imagine how his wife, sons, friends and colleagues will miss him. Ali’s spirit will be long remembered.

  22. Clare and Gary, Camas an Eilean said:

    We remember Ali with great affection and admiration for not only his commitment to the Applecross community and his love of the landscape but also the time he gave to us to catch up with our news whenever we visited the pub. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and work mates. His inspirational and positive approach to daily life will stay with us for many years to come- thank you Snoddy.

  23. Anne Byars, Glasgow said:

    Thank you for this post. I was shocked and so sad when I heard Ali’s boat named on Tuesday. His blog was always interesting and thought-provoking and I’ll miss it. I never met him, and I thought I would go up the hill at some point and buy him a Crabbe’s as small thanks for his wise words and beautiful photos. He was a magnificent citizen of Applecross, Scotland and the world. Deepest sympathy to his family and friends.

  24. I was only at the Inn in late October but I was so sad to hear of his loss. Everyone made my stay so memorable and felt like friends in such a short time. My thoughts go out to his family, friends and colleagues. xxx

  25. gavin ferguson said:

    so so sad my deepest sympathies to you all and this blog is a magnificent memory of a man who shared his passion for applecross and was determmined to make it a better place for those who lived and visited there. i feel lucky to have been in on this secret for all the years ive been following the blog.

  26. All of the Rabbie’s guides from Inverness will miss Ali’s warm welcome and craic at the Applecross Inn – he truly embodied the spirit of Highland hospitality. Our deepest sympathies for your loss.

  27. Colin Gordon said:

    Alison, family and friends of Ali. It is with cheerfulness and grief that I recall the infrequent but most joyous and happy times I have shared with Ali over the last two decades. I am deeply saddened by the tragedy on his beloved Varuna and your grave loss, but I know the spirit of his resilience and happy character lives on in, and with you. I am privileged to have known and sailed with Ali. Be now at peace my friend.

  28. endrickwater said:

    Everyone who has commented has spoken for me, too, especially the shock of hearing the news on an otherwise unremarkable, everyday sort of bulletin. I stumbled upon this blog when I was looking for inspiration regarding issues ranging from how to keep small villages viable to renewable energy. I remained a reader because Ali’s sensible and constructive attitude — coupled with a refreshingly clear-eyed and purposeful approach to authority of all sorts — spoke directly not only to the problems, but to potential solutions. And who could fail to be charmed by tales of screen washing, dog walks, shifts at the Inn, ceilidhs and weddings, reports from folk festivals and award ceremonies, and yes, fishing, all accompanied by the most astounding photographs? My only regret was that I never met Ali “properly”, and I’ve no doubt that everyone who was lucky enough to have done so will miss him dreadfully. My heart goes out to his family and friends, and with it, my certain hope that they will find peace and comfort.

  29. Alasdair Satchel said:

    I’m so, so sorry to read your words. I’m gutted for you all.
    I spent a couple of days in Ali’s company in Knoydart at a local development officer / HIE development event a few years ago. It was wonderful to spend time with him, his company was deeply stimulating, his conversation riveting and I really appreciated his challenging of my perspectives on various topics of conversation.
    I’ve loved seeing his blog over the last years.
    So sorry for your loss.
    Alasdair Satchel

  30. Brian Whyte said:

    Shocked and saddened when we heard the news. Ali spent time with us when we ate in the Inn a couple of evenings. It was great craic and we could tell he loved life. He even introduced me to the delights of squat lobster! A lovely man, a super photographer and most of all a fine human being – a great loss. Condolences to you and your family.

  31. Tears in my eyes reading the post here. Coming to Applecross and visiting the Inn was always a highlight of our motorhoming calendar. A busy Applecross Inn, stowed out and squeezing in for our dinner, Ali made sure everyone was settled and enjoying their dinner. You just knew he was special, kind, caring, funny.. one of a kind. I searched out his blog and it kept me in touch with the Applecross life when I couldn’t be there. A truly beautiful blog by a truly beautiful man. When I saw that he was named as the person missing, I cried. I never really knew Ali, but he touched my life like I am sure he touched many others. Applecross Inn will never ever ever be the same without him. RIP Ali xxxx

  32. My deepest condolences to you all

  33. lifeattheendoftheroad said:

    Much love to you all Alison, Ali was an inspiration. X Paul and Barbara

  34. Fiona McKinnon said:

    I’m so sorry to hear what has happened, and am sending you all love and prayers.

  35. Dr Peter Richardson said:

    I am so very sad to read this. My thoughts are with his family and the good folk of Applecross. I wish you strength, and, in time, joy in remembering your loved one. My family and I stayed with friends close to Applecross last summer, My son Ruben and I were lucky enough to meet Ali and go out fishing for prawns and squatties with him for a day, only to be served them by Ali in the pub for my wife’s birthday later that evening. Ali was the perfect host, on the boat and in the pub, considerate and witty, happy to chat at length about what was important to us all while we fished. Ali humored Ruben, who marveled at the octopi coming up in the pots, and he carefully showed Roo how to hold one – Roo will always remember that special privilege. It was a beautiful day in a beautiful place with a beautiful soul, a day I will not forget. I will always be grateful to Ali for sharing a flake of his rich life with us. Thank you Ali – you will always be loved here. Peter

  36. Terrible terrible news, so sorry. Leo Zinovieff, Fearns Raasay.

  37. Have just learned the news. So sorry to hear this – we chatted with Ali on so many occasions when visiting the Inn. He always had a cheery positive attitude to lift even the wettest, coldest day.

  38. Julie Brown(Henderson) said:

    So very sorry to have been told about Snoddy. I shared a flat in Edinburgh with Snoddy and a mixed bunch of fantastic folk a lifetime ago when we were all young and carefree. Haven’t seen Snoddy since the 80s but remember fondly our time in Edinburgh and in particular the West End Hotel. My condolences to the family. RIP Snoddy.

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