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

Posts tagged ‘Achnasheen’

Transatlantic journey Home.

After a very pleasant and relaxing afternoon atLenzie and an uneventful journey back into “town”, already getting blasé  about driving around Glasgow. Mind you when I came in on my own on Friday I was honked, I think for driving too slow and the guy behind me got stuck at a red, and made me think the tables are turned when I am stuck behind a 20mph tourist in Applecross.  The only difference is I don’t use the horn. Transatlantics were superb. We knew what to expect and lived up to them. Supreme music played by top class musicians, Julie Fowlis with some mouth music was up at the top but the rest was pretty bearable. Phil even managed a Fergie joke. But with names such as Danny Thompson, Jerry Douglas, Shawn Colvin, Michael McGoldrick, Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott you cannot really go wrong. Short walk back to the hotel and another early crash and the road north set for tomorrow. A special tw weekends away and promises to be an annual event.

A nice leisurely meander up the road which involved calling to Dunkeld to pick up the missing marbles for the inlaw’s  Christmas present. A lovely community run centre


and I just cannot help it but immediately felt all the better for it. Tips left are just a wee bit bigger and the ambience feels good, this in the middle of The Dukedom of Atholl. Seems the current Duke is South African. Interesting drive north now after our wee LAS campaign of a couple of years ago, made you very aware of land issues across the country, I suppose my views have not changed that much but probably been confirmed especially due to the way one is treated when one does not conform to the establishment line. There is a fair old lump of Perthshire  under the Dukedom. Uneventful journey up the A9


and over to Achnasheen where Alison picked up the car. Noticed a tyre was a wee bit down so got the  pump on it and while that was underway the Achnasheen wildlife came over for a look to see what was going on,


some not so shy hinds and some very well fed ducks



who just wandered up to the vehicles.


Through the trees one can see the now controversial track that has been cut into the side of the hill above Ledgowan Hotel.


The estate has changed ownership in recent times and there is a bit of an atmosphere locally and with ramblers and walkers. I have only met the owner once and try to stay away from personalities but rather the system which allows these situations to develop. It is not fair that whole communities can be held to ransom with a change of land ownership. It happens in very few other countries across Europe where huge chunks of land changes hands with the communities involved having no say at all in these transactions. These communities have to rely on the good will of the new owners or not as the case appears to be here. A really tricky problem to solve as we are where we are and you have to go back centuries to discover the theft which the current owners were not involved in but perpetuate.

Good to get home and the weather has been quite settled


although the desire to go fishing is only slowly returning. Fresh breeze on Tuesday morning from the south south east so with me still having a hacking cough decided to leave it a bit later in the week to go out. A few shifts at the Inn planned and with the weather a little more settled we should be on the water before long. It will be quite a while before the memories of Celtic Connections fade.

Carers…..just the best

Realised how hard it is to be a trades man in Applecross, not that I have any pretensions in that direction. Went up to the toilets on Wednesday morning to do a bit more of the finishing off and ended up chatting to passersby more than actually working at what I should have been doing. Lovely start to the day


when taking the dogs out and came across my first living puffballs.


Having said that it is a pleasant way to spend the day and I did get a fair bit done in the afternoon. We have installed a solar panel so there will be hot water for the first time at the toilets.


Managed a beach clean seaside of Darren’s new wall and got a quarter load of wood for the growing stack at the back of the house. More and more wood sheds are being built around the community with the obvious conclusion that wood is becoming the priority fuel here. Weather still poor with a window predicted for Thursday, but a trip to Inverness had been planned and sure enough it was still windy in the morning as I set off. A bad winter has not arrived for most people but here it is well under way. For a fisherman wind and lots of it is a bad winter and that is what we have so far. Bad winter ashore is cold and lots of snow for most people but that usually means it is quiet at sea. Cannot do anything about it as the old folk would say and the next three days have a couple of storms coming in again with the second one on Sunday looks pretty nippy.

Thursday morning I almost stopped on the dual carriageway coming to the Kessock Bridge as the sun was shining full blast on the town and again on the way down to Dingwall where there was a magnificent rainbow over the Firth but on both occasions may have picked up points on the licence and points in this case do not mean prizes. In Applecross there would have been a couple of photos to show. Pace of life out there is just wrong. Rattled through a few things and bought my first gluten-free muesli…have to mix it as it consists of buckwheat, rye and millet. Did not pick everything up as I tried to get to the biosphere meeting at Achnasheen in reasonable time. Met an Applecross resident at the Garden Centre who told me he thought a biosphere was a big glass bubble…..hmmmmm. After being at the meeting for an hour or so I reckon I would have been better off finishing what I should have done in Inverness. Lets say setting up a biosphere in Wester Ross has one or two hurdles to overcome….the main one is to explain to people what it is, what are the benefits, and who is going to run it. If it is volunteers they are after it is going to be a big ask. Relatively easy to get volunteers for something tangible, broadband, public toilets, Filling station, but for a “concept ” of something that may be beneficial…..remain to be convinced. Sustainable tourism seems to be a newish buzz word and not really sure if it is sustainable as it is so reliant on such a big carbon footprint. Dougal turned up in Achnasheen getting a lift through with Alison, met up with a local spaniel who told him where to go,did a quick tour of the Station,


and came back with me.


Today was a wee dip into the past with a few connections along the way. Went to An Arcasaid to see my now very elderly mother,95 next time round in February, and have Christmas dinner with the residents.


I have to admit that I was mildly apprehensive but as it turned out there was absolutely no cause. It was a wonderful two hours or so and very engaging. Absolutely everything that my mum needs to live has to get done for her. It is hard to describe my feeling for the women looking after my mother without sounding smarmy but they are simply amazing. The way they care for her is special and genuine and quite simply they love her and look after her so well. Our value system is so so wrong when so many of these people are paid not much above minimum wage while administrators, legislators, money gamblers and movers and commission takers earn fortunes. I suppose it is the difference between value and price. looking at the staff they get an obvious value out of what they do. Chatting about this and that and always get the feeling that many people are so impressed with what is going on here on a community level.  Met Lorraine who has not long started there


and turns out I was in school with her and reminisced about former school companions/classmates. Love these dips into times gone by. The elderly folks were then entertained by some Portree pupils, some fiddle and some Cold Play, it did not seem to matter. When I arrived back home I saw the focus was about girls now ladies I had known in school and noticed my uncle Kenny got a mention in “Sandy” Macrae’s biography as the shinty mad chap from Balmacara House school. Yesterday I came across Kenny standing beside young shinty players, one of whom may be Sandy…how strange would that be. Going to have to investigate further. Noticed going through Lochcarron the yacht that was blown across the loch and ended up on the Attadale shore.


Not in the right place but safe from the next run of storms predicted on Landward tonight.

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