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



Ali’s body was identified much more quickly than we’d expected; we had been warned that it would take several weeks take to do this using DNA. However it was suggested that dental records might be used instead, and since Ali had visited the dentist now and again his records were detailed enough to make this straightforward. By Monday evening the fiscal’s office had phoned to say that ID and post mortem were complete and his death certificate could be issued. Alison went to Inverness on Friday to register his death. The cause of death is recorded as “drowned while creel fishing”, although we believe he had finished with the creels for the day and was on his way back to the mooring when he went overboard. All the prawns had been tubed and were in the vivier tank. We were told that the Varuna was travelling at around 5 knots when she grounded on Saint Island, which is much faster than she would have been going if Ali had been shooting creels. The Marine Accident Investigation Board is investigating what happened and will issue a report. This is done with the aim of producing recommendations based on what has been learned with a view to safety being improved for others as a result. Sad to see that there were two more fatalities on British fishing boats this November: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/marine-accident-investigation-branch-current-investigations/marine-accident-investigation-branch-current-investigations . The MAIB guys who visited Applecross to investigate Ali’s accident spoke of their frustration that there have been four fatal incidents on UK based fishing boats this year, particularly as there had been none in the previous year and they had believed that this demonstrated that progress was being made.
Ewen took the Varuna round to his yard at Kishorn last weekend, so we don’t need to worry about her on the mooring during winter gales. He has some work to do on her before she goes up for sale and the yard is busy as always.


We had already decided that we would organise a celebration of Ali’s life in Applecross, before a private cremation in Inverness the following day, and that we would eventually scatter his ashes in the Inner Sound. We had planned to go ahead with the celebration early in the New Year, whether his body had been found or not, but when the identification went ahead so quickly we briefly hoped that we might be able to move this to before Christmas. However there is too much to organise for this to be realistic and Applecross is so busy with visitors during New Year week that finding accommodation for family and friends would have been impossible. So the plan is to hold the celebration on 4th January at the Clachan Church, time as yet to be decided. Judith and her staff at the Applecross Inn will do their best to feed those who attend at the Inn. We’re yet to work out the details of who is doing what at the celebration, but plan to get that sorted out soon.
This film https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79qtGuS0ygU was made as an advert for Volt E- Bikes but is also the story of Ali’s way of life. He mentioned the filming of this at the end of a blog post describing three hectic days; https://applecrosslifeblog.wordpress.com/2017/10/03/three-days/


Comments on: "Plans" (5)

  1. Anne Byars, Glasgow said:

    Thank you for the update. I loved reading Ali’s blog and seeing his wonderful photos ; I’ll really miss that. My 2018 Applecross calendar is now more precious than before. Good wishes to all of your family.

  2. Sarah Burke said:

    We are so sorry for your loss. We will miss seeing Ali on our next trip to Applecross. We will be thinking of you all this Christmas. The Burke family. Xxx

  3. Robbie Palmer said:

    I only discovered the wonder that is Applecross five years ago and have been back every year since. What Ali’s blog did was to provide a wonderful glimpse into a world i loved and would love to be apart of, if only practicalities didn’t get in the way. It was a genuine highlight to be in London and have an update on rural life written so candidly by a genuine person. I always made a point of thanking him for his blog work whenever i saw him in at the Inn and he always appeared a bit embarrassed when i did so! My love and best wishes. Robbie- down here in Greenwich. x

  4. The video is a poignant and fitting epitaph. I am sure the good folk of Applecross will bid Ali a fond farewell on the 4th January and many others, Steve and myself included, will be there with you in spirit. It is still so hard to believe that he is gone and will grace the peninsula no more. As ever, I am thinking of you all up in Applecross especially Ali’s family and friends.

  5. Anita Schulze said:

    Mein englisch ist nicht gut genug, um meine Trauer auszudrücken. Wir waren im März zum 5. Mal in Applecross und haben Ali nicht treffen können, er war schon auf See. Sein blog war unsere Verbindung zu einem ganz besonderen Flecken Erde, in unserem Herzen, mit seinen Bildern und seinen so natürlichen Beschreibungen des täglichen Lebens in Scotland. Er bleibt in unserem Gedächnis in Ewigkeit.

    Anita from Berlin

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