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

Posts tagged ‘Ali Hutton’

Landward in Applecross and Duncan in Sleat.

Tale of two days show a variety of life in rural Scotland. Friday morning saw us up at the Inn to meet up with the team over from Landward who were doing an article on the impact of the NC500 on the infrastructure around Applecross, in particular the Bealach.

Once camera was all loaded up

we headed up in the car chatting about the strain on the road caused by the huge increase of traffic. Laura, the director was in the accustomed place out of camera view but directing operations all the same.

Interesting seeing Anne’s reaction when she started watching the road edges. Actually, sitting in the passenger seat and going up the road it was shocking to see the rapid deterioration that is taking place. Personally there are going to be serious decisions that will have to be made very soon by Highland Council. On one hand the trumpet cannot be continually blown about how wonderful tourism is to the Highlands without a penny being spent on the infrastructure as it collapses around our ears. Not only is the Bealach breaking up but issues locally keep cropping up such as camper van chemical toilet disposal. Our LDO is in touch with both SEPA and Scottish Water about setting up such a unit as our Community run toilets are creaking under the strain of constant use and disposal. We have just had a groups of local ladies carrying out a voluntary deep clean of the toilets last month and despite the regular breaking of our donation box the toilets remain well run. New donation box is in the process of being installed which hopefully will end this sad problem. Fortunately for the Highland Council these issues are being solved at a local level by the Community Trading Company but roads are a different issue. The theme about the NC500 is that it has been welcomed in a lot of areas, particularly further north but here we have a feeling of being a little swamped by the numbers coming through. It is a good problem to have to deal with, but Highland Council have to step up or the Bealach is going to become a dangerous embarrassment and people in the rural parts of the Highlands who are already questioning exactly what the Highland Council does for anyone outside Inverness will have another example to point to. Fascinating to see the interaction between camera, direction and presentation. All in all it was an easy-going but professional morning with me trying to ignore the calm weather and the creel boats fishing just off the shore in the Bay. We finished up with some filming and more chat/interviews outside the Inn

before I went south and they stopped of for some fine lunch at the Inn. The program for anyone interested is going out on the 22nd of September, the first of the new series. It was not a bash the NC500 morning but a look at how an advertising campaign with little local(Applecross) consultation can have such an impact on our infrastructure.

I knew I was not going to go out on the water later as Duncan Chisholm and Co were playing in Sleat in the evening. We headed over the Hill at the back of five as Alison was meeting another deadline for an application for the Community Company. Made it with plenty of time and the music was simply sublime. I have a really strong connection with this man’s music. His tunes are phenomenal and you wander through the glens with him as his fiddle playing makes you forget all the things you should have done. His tunes feel ancient, as if they have been around for centuries, and I reckon they will be played for years to come. Hard to believe this all in the same day. Prior to Duncan

coming on stage we were entertained by Mischa Macpherson, Innes White and Ingrid Henderson, gaelic song and fiddle at their best. Duncan was ably supported by the wonderful playing of Jarlath on whistles and uillean pipes

and Ali on guitar.

Saturday was earmarked for fishing as I was on film duty the day before. I was slightly nervous of the weather as the forecast was giving a strongish breeze from the north and I was not looking forward to a heavy day’s work especially as I was in the Inn for the evening. As it turned out the morning was stunning with the sun shining around a few fluffy clouds

and the water still and serene.

Although the first fleet was not too impressive the next five were very pleasant to haul. Lovely creels coming up with lots of big langoustines,

one so big it could have made it as a lobster.

As I was hauling the last fleet I noticed a wee change in the temperature and looked to the north where there was a solid rain cloud coming down the Sound with accompanying white caps. By the time I got to the end of the fleet I was hanging onto the gunnel, tripping across the deck and tying lose equipment down. The decision was made for me on how many creels to haul for the day. Nice to know that the steam home was with the motion on my stern quarter

and all that was to be done then was to weigh and land the langoustines for the Inn and then start work all over again. Before it got a bit lumpy a few stone crabs are appearing as you put some of the creels on some rougher ground as the open mud fats are getting a little tired from the summer’s fishing effort.

I have no idea what these are but still they reproduce, maybe a mistake in this case as the eggs have little chance of survival.

As this was written over a couple of days and it is now Sunday evening after a twelve-hour shift, interspaced with a twenty-minute snooze to revive myself for the evening shift. Twelves, sixteens, sixes and eights were all seated amongst the residents and random walk ins. Regulars are appearing in numbers. People you get to know a little each time they come up. A crabbies and bike ride home after a music night from the Vans, a fine Australian couple, who are playing cracking self penned and cover version songs for the last three hours.

Fishing,Inn,Music,Hydro and “Oh Dearie Me”

Saturday morning and a fresh breezy day from the south. One washing out drying another underway, three days fishing, a couple of shifts at the Inn, a trip to Ullapool to hear some of the best music Scotland has to offer, some Hydro investigating and an “Oh Dearie Me” moment.

Fishing began on Tuesday and the weather held most of the week, a mixture of sunny

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and grey

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but mostly calm apart from finishing off on Thursday afternoon when a fresh southerly sprang up and it was a bumpy steam home. The last fleet of the day was a little up and down but luckily I left the best till last. The fishing has taken a bit of a dive and catching and putting back the berried langoustine is starting to hurt. That last fleet is an example of just keeping going despite the catch being poor. I probably caught as much in that fleet as I caught in the previous five.

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But that is fishing and although in general terms pot fishing is the most routine of all you do come across many surprises. And of course as long as you pick the weather it is always a pleasure being on the water. Friday, I decided not to go out and that gives an indication of how poor the catch has become, as the weather was fine. Thought that only two days since hauling the creels I would be hauling on the day would not be enough for a decent amount of langoustine to be in the creels. Be out of langoustine at the inn this weekend as I sent off a few kilos to Loch Ness Inn early on Friday. But hopefully it will all start again next week. The choice is to land the berried females and I cannot do that now. Maybe it is good to do without now and again. Fine days

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and nice to head back to the moorings knowing that is another good effort under the belt.

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The Inn has been a little quieter this week, although still very busy. I was at the Inn last night due the previous night’s music, and sorting out where everyone was to sit is still stressful with plenty on the list, remembering the residents, larger tables booked and then a five and eight wander in looking for something to eat. You work out a wee seating plan for the evening and usually it is not even close. You change the plan several times in your head and pretend you know what you are doing. When a couple decide they do not want to share they have to wait a little longer, the fact they do not want to share usually means they are a little prickly anyway, get a little bothered that they have to wait longer. All you can do is just chat away to them. Finding accommodation for a couple who come down later to eat, they are so appreciative of the help they get when they come to Applecross. It is a fundamental of living here, so whether you own an Estate, shoot on one, work on a harbour on the North East of England, a nurse or retired GP living in Guernsey, you make them all welcome and hope they enjoy the Applecross welcome. In the passing Davie alerted me to an unusual light over to the west. Only just caught the halos below the sunburst.

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Working last night was a wee penance for taking Thursday evening off to go up to Ullapool to hear some stunning music from Ali Hutton

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and Ross Ainslie

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alongside Owen Sinclair. Accompanied by Canadians and the odd Aussie in the Boss’s car we arrived early due to me thinking that it started at 7.30pm. 8.30pm start meant a couple of pints at the Ceilidh Place and me nipping down for a few chips and a wander round the harbour. Music was immense, front row seats watching masters at work with whistles, pipes, guitars and a couple of fine songs from Gordon. Enjoyed by all and good to meet up with the Pankhursts who Ross reckons have been to more Treacherous gigs than he has, and he plays with them!! A long drive but the music was so worth it and the banter was up there as well. Andrea, on the sound, seems an important part of the deal, and photos taken at the end,

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all a bit chaotic as people were leaving and chatting.

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Back by 1.00am and although up early to get the langoustine away on the lorry a relaxed day on Friday. Keeping an eye on the Hydro as the website is not showing power output at the moment so we have to go up to see all is well. The spear valve does not seem to be operating as well as it could be so power is a little restricted. Probably simple resetting of head levels or such like. Going up to the Head to check the screen is always a pleasure with the weather favourable. Bit of green on it and a quick clean

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and shift a couple of stones which rolled up against the gate which keeps the flow going before making my way back down. But not before dipping feet into the pool and taking time out,

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relaxing in one of the beautiful parts of the world.

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I like the fact that all one sees is a small dam, a track and a shed when green energy and money for the community is produced in idyllic surrounds.

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The “Oh Dearie Me” moment I have to say caught me a little by surprise and involves the MRD500. I thought having to break into the music room because there was no key available to use the community sound system for the ceilidh, replacing the door with no cost to anyone bar the volunteers who put everything back together, was the end of the matter. But no, a letter appeared addressed to the Community Council questioning my “integrity” to hold public office. Had to leave the room for 5 minutes while the others discussed me. I can only view this latest with humour and disbelief that people can spend so much effort to write so much rubbish. Skimming the letter, I was almost calling the police myself to be taken away in handcuffs, such was the dire awfulness of my actions. But enough this a positive, beautiful and fulfilling place to live and as one of the fellow councillors said afterwards it becomes easier to ignore personal vendettas the more ridiculous they become, just have to guard against the constant pecking away at ones contribution to the community.

 

 

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