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

Posts tagged ‘Ardban’

Kishorn Cradle.

Any one who thinks being a director on a community company is for status think again. Another meeting tonight to discuss tenders and for me a really difficult decision with many implications. I for one am not taking what we are doing lightly and as we are encountering problems every step of the way it is a tribute to the Board and our LDO that we have not thrown in the towel. I know we are in a privileged position living where we do and doing what we do but we are trying to keep our community sustainable. There is a certain amount of risk in doing this but we are learning and getting used to this as we progress projects. This is going to be our biggest challenge and may cause a few sleepless nights at the Schoolhouse and other abodes. The effort so far has been huge and we have had lots of support from many people at HIE, CES and now LES to get this far and that is despite de minimus problems, financial and time constraints. Luckily the season has not kicked off properly so the Board meeting five times already this year has not impinged too much on personal work levels, going to be difficult during the summer. Can see Netflix not getting much of a look in soon.

Really enjoyed my shift at the Inn on Thursday evening, a lot easier with Joe behind the bar and fewer, but noisier customers. The hen party had a wee introductory session this evening up on table D while the Sheffield troops were on the Big Table. Not a lot in-between but some conversations were special and connections made chatting about health care and Israel. You can talk about anything at the Inn with people you are comfortable with. Time flies by and before you know it another meeting starts. So early home after the Board meeting and a bit of Netflix before out like a light on the couch.

Friday morning saw us running to stay still. Although do not do time very well the tide waits for no man. Landed some fine prawns for the weekend, watched some eiders on the Bay


and then straight back down the road to throw some stuff on to the pier and steam South to the Kishorn Yard. Passing Ardban,






a little cloudy but started to brighten up as I steamed up loch Kishorn.


Met the Bella Jane who came off the cradle and was heading back over to her home port of Elgol.


Was on time to catch the tide,


ease into the cradle and tie up.


Boys came out to put the strops under her and ashore for a coffee.


Then back out to some badly needed cleaning.


Managed to hang in for a couple of hours before walking up the Hill for home, lift from Alan so back in plenty of time. Unfortunately there was hardly any tide so Ewen did not get back before seven. By this time the Inn was in full swing. Six of us on but not a problem, even the LDOs. Everyone well fed and the goodbyes to Sheffield done, he IS going to retire, wandered down to the noisy table at the end and after community engagement it was politics with every subject through to nuclear disarmament. Good going debate and passionate but gradually got repetitive and with an Old Poultney it was off back up the road for them, another few hours animated discussion ahead. Animated,


more animated.


There were many quotes of the night, one of the best involving Kyle but not to be attributed to anyone as mildly rude. ‘Twas a fine start to the weekend. A grand sunset earlier in the evening.


Many times the colours seem to improve after the sun dips behind Raasay.


So good to see the sun setting just to the south of Dun Caan, portent of Spring.


No Danny Macaskill.

A couple of days off, not quite making it out to sea, and enjoying the days without too much guilt. Morning still lovely weather.





Yesterday’s main event was a wee trip over the Hill to Shieldaig for a much-needed massage, neck especially giving a fair bit of gip. As Alison was not home from the Conference yet took Dougal and mum over with me. Stopped at the Gateway


for a look to see how things were progressing and they are fairly tramping on with the clear felling. Can’t help but notice the huge amount of wastage in the operation as is usually the case with clear felling. Seeing lots of wood just lying about, enough to keep Applecross fires going for years. And that is not the wood piled ready for transporting out. Impressive road built, hearing that it is a really difficult job, I suppose due to the lack of management carried out from the day it was planted. Lots of blown timber and no thinning makes for hard work harvesting. Also hearing that it will only be the Gateway that will be going out the North Coast road as there are no more grants expected so the remaining plantations are not scheduled for felling at all. Good for the roads but not for the trees. Although Dougal would like to have stayed


it was off up the road. New venue as Sarah and Paul are now in residence above Nanny’s. Spectacular view from their door.


Long session as falling to bits after the long season. Always good to catch up with what is happening in the neighbourhood and with plenty of new housing going up the school roll is looking pretty healthy over there. Unlike here, housing and land, same old same old. Left with lots of instructions on how to excercise the old neck. Stopped off on the way out


to give the dogs a run around, chasing acorns,


in the water mainly,


and back home.

Today another non fishing day even although the weather is due to break. Regenerating ready for another blast of work but first it was a trip over to Coillie Ghillie to catch up with the Bucks from Norfolk. Regular visitors but the first time over there. On the way stopped by a car and turned out my Maths teacher Johnny “Nick”and family from Plockton stopped for a chat and catchup. It was a beautiful afternoon and a fine ceilidh finishing up with a bit of camera chat. May be purchasing a couple of new lenses after trying out some variations in the garden.




Lots of activity with Tridents and otters passing by.


Late afternoon sun lit up both Coillie Ghillie, see how close to the shore these building were,




and Ardban and well worth the visit.




Dougal and Eilidh both thought so. Made it to above Poll Domhainn Beag on the bike and quite relieved as not too energetic today. Unfortunately on the way back, while knowing I am no Danny Macaskill, and taking care on the rough track, bike stops, I fall off , roll down bank grabbing anything I can. It was bracken and a throw back to childhood when I slashed my hand with the stuff. Back on the bike and dripped blood all the way home. Not bad enough to take the rest of week off.

Morning Sun

Busy times so going to post Ardhu and Ardban in the morning sun and now going out to enjoy it on the water.


Timeless Wander

Funny old day in which a fair bit was done but did not feel like it. More to do but there is time. Early start to send off more accounts first thing special delivery, then ended up at the toilets again where I finished painting and glad of it. Not the most professional job but then I am not a painter. From there it was on to a couple of discussions about what is happening next on the Company front. All that and it is only mid morning. on a bit of a spur of the moment thing I headed up the hill behind the house with the Dougal family. A wander up and over to some spectacular scenery,


watching a couple of showers of rain making their lazy way up the Sound and the light show to the south.


From here you get to see the winding road to Toscaig,


a little of Culduie, Ardhu,




Camusterrach, Camusteel


and Milton. As I was turning to head back down I stopped to watch DJ and Jon head in on the Grace Anne.


Saw her earlier bouncing across the Bay and was happy not to be out fishing. Of course great views of Skye and Raasay are filling the horizon to the west and north.


The weather is perfect for so many changes of light.


Only on the way down was I caught in a wee shower, but Blair Douglas and Adam Sutherland kept the mood of the hills going on the Ipod. Thought I had “A Northerly Land” and some Runrig to listen to as well but had to sort that out when I got back to the schoolhouse. Alt na Chriche on the way down showed its face almost in secret, little falls as it made its way down the hillside.


Time is something that should not exist in Applecross, that’s what the stone say.


Dougal was by this time filthy and if I had done four miles he must have done fifteen.

Sudden craving for some Toscaig ice cream meant another trip north and this was well-timed for a staff lunch of pulled pork accompanied by a bean and cumin cassoulet. Still wangled the ice cream, that’s for later. While I was up there I did a routine wet dip at the Filling Station


IMG_7376 and noticed what every small holder must wish for at the bottom of a rainbow, a little red Fergie.


So it was back down the road and dropping off Dot and wee visit to see Dolly at the back of her house.


All good stuff to keep me away from the paperwork but that happened early evening and will again in ten. Dougal looks as though he is ready for another jaunt though.


Sad, but good memories.

    • Hebrides

    • Wind

      South veering southwest 6 to gale 8, increasing severe gale 9 for a time, perhaps storm 10 later.

    • Sea State

      Very rough or high, occasionally very high.

    • Weather

      Rain then squally showers.

    • Visibility

      Good, occasionally poor.

    Although the forecast has changed, for the worse, waking up at 5.20am to hear that the weather today is going to be 6 to 8 increasing severe gale 9 is not the best way to start the day so I did not. Day after day this has been happening and we are now experiencing a pretty severe winter with no apparent let up before christmas. At 9am it was almost dark and tells me I would struggle to survive further north. And now at 3.30pm it is dark with the rain lashing the windows and the broken gutter emptying its contents into a barrel. This rain water was used on the garden in the summer, to think. A couple of days ago the sun showed briefly over the south end of the Sound and thought it worth a wee shot. Could not be more different today, seeing Ardban was an effort.


    Yesterday had a little spark in the evening when I headed out to the Inn for the staff Secret Santa. Been won over since last year as the presents bought have hugely improved from the Chinese tat of yester year to very thoughtful ones these days. Last year got a cracking book and this one was a wood wedge, nice one as they say.


    At the other end of the bar life went on as usual.


    The proceedings were started of by a toast for Norman who passed away a couple of days ago. He used to be an ever-present at the end of the bar for not much short of 25 years. Had many a conversation with him over fishing and rugby, mainly Welsh rugby, and although he had not been in much recently due to ill-health he will be missed. Funny the little triggers you have when some one you know dies and driving past his house on the Street and seeing his little blue car there is somehow poignant. As he became not so good on his feet when he left the Inn we would nip out and drive his car up to the Inn door to make it a wee bit easier for him to get home. Received many a curious look from visitors but that was just what you did. Seeing the wee car parked outside his house knowing he will not be making the short journey to the Inn again…..

    Called in for a cup of tea on the way to the toilets and there, heard the very sad news about Rossie. I do not usually say anything to give plenty of time for close friends and relatives to find out properly but having seen it on the Kyle RNLI site I can assume this has been done. Rossie ‘s passing has brought back lots of memories. First came across Rossie in the back of the Co-op in Kyle when it was on the Main St. He was in giving John Don (Stride) a hand in building a wee office there. Going fishing with Ruariadh and Don I used to walk past the Mackerlich’s Workshop every morning…hardly missed any fishing days back then, and again going to sea with Sandy and Ali Ruadh. Guys who were there would be Duncan Lel, the Robertsons from Skye, Doiks and many more from a different era. Never, ever forgotten a couple of tales of Rossie and they sum up his humanity and kindness. When I organised my Dad’s funeral back in 2000 he immediately put me at ease after finding out I had not much clue what to do. Told me the tale of a local funeral where there was a wee incident at a graveside where a ladder was needed and there general mayhem for a short time. The way he told me you could not help but laugh and at the same time was he in any way disparaging about any one involved in what had happened. Telling me this tale was to tell me that whatever happened it was going to be alright at my Dads and he was right. Dave told me that he went to visit his mother-in-law in An Arcasaid who was in the throes of alzheimers and the first question she asked of Rossie was “What day is it?” and quick as  a flash the reply came, “Any day you want it to be”. Such an adroit and humorous reply and without any hurt to any one. There will be many others as he had lived life to the full and many stories will be recounted over the next few days. Still makes me smile to remember the tale and although I only saw him occasionally I will miss him. He was part of the Kyle I grew up in.

    The Dave who had told the last tale is Dave Hardy who hopefully will be coming over to Applecross to play in the near future, told me about his new website of life around the Skye Bridge. Educational and fun for kids with lots of photos both above and underwater. Good to chat and although the circumstances were not the best, a conversation with Dave is always to be recommended if feeling a little  flat.http://www.lifearoundtheskyebridge.com/

    While I am in this reminisce mode Gordon also forwarded the school photo of the Applecross children in around 1922/23. Only guessing as my Dad was born in 1917 and is in the front row, third from the right, beside his cousin Kenny ‘ain Dungan from Culduie. Lots of memories of days gone by.

    EPSON scanner image

Appache Proverb, Ardban and Applestock Festival.

May the sun bring you new energy by day

May the moon softly restore you by night

May the rain wash away your worries

May the breeze blow new strength into your being

May you walk gently through the world and know its beauty all the days of your life.

No idea if this is true but, like Chief Seattle’s letter to the then President of the US of A, the sentiment has so much meaning. Chief Seattle tried to tell the President that ownership of land was an alien concept and used the analogy of the river being his brother and how could he own it but as history shows it was not a white man’s ideal. His was “get off my land”. Even if he did not write it the environmental statement was way ahead of its time. The above is a native American Indian blessing and with this in my thoughts the last couple of days has felt just a little bit more aware. I went to Ardban with Dougal and Co on a grey but quiet Saturday morning. Even within the unique Applecross environs the coral beach on low tide at Ardban is special and I think it seems different every time you go there. Because the views across the Sound were a bit restricted your attention is drawn into the immediate features and you see things in a different way. Down by the shore even on a dull day there is always colour. There is as much colour on the NW coast as anywhere in the world….you just have to see it.


Looking around up from the shore line I noticed the combination of ancient weathered rocks with a ruined gable end of about a hundred years ago. Some of my own relatives used to live out here. We think we are so knowledgable but when you look at the timescale in the photo we are just a blink of the eye.



So it was back to the house and down to Camusteel to watch a very enjoyable game of rugby before going up to the Inn for a Saturday evening shift which also turned out to be very enjoyable. Until you do some thing again you don’t realise how much you have missed it. To see the langoustines and scallops go out and speak to the customers, knowing they have enjoyed eating, finding out where they are from and you always make a connection. At the Inshore Fishing Conference we were told that the “market” needs a story for the consumers to hear. We have been telling the story for decades in Applecross, once again ahead of the game. The story of an attempt to carry out our fishing methods with the environment at the forefront. Interest in the National press this weekend and although some inaccuracies the story is starting to get out there.

There is a genuine sense of excitement regarding the latest news on the Applestock Festival website http://www.applestock2013.com/ where the Treacherous Orchestra have been confirmed as the headline act on the Saturday evening in the Marquee at the Campsite. Although working at the Inn all day I hope to get up to the Walled Garden to see some of the many acts on all day. Acts include”local” girl Becca Fox, Coast Road Truckers, and to some less well-known to me, Oak Hero, Woodland Orchestra, and Lurach to name but a few. I have offered to do the bar in the evening and looking forward to it as serving people well to the music of Treacherous, it just won’t be work. I know how much effort goes into the organising of events as I was one of the many involved in the Seafood and Music Festivals and it is brilliant to see younger and enthusiastic people getting together and putting on an event such as this. I don’t think the Countryside Alliance got it quite right when it mentioned in its publicity that Applecross was a community that had almost given up on itself.There is a lot of life in this community and there is a feeling of optimism around.

Low tide at Ardban

Prawns, work, a walk and a ceilidh

It has been busy two days starting on saturday morning leaving the moorings for a days fishing at the later than usual time of 9am. It was a glorious day, not full on sunshine but glass calm for most of the day which enabled me to get my last two fleets sorted out. Everything went well despite a fleet that was cut in two and two others that were shot over with other people’s creels. As there are so many boats working on The Inner Sound this is one of the inevitable consequences. Quite often as we work so close to other boats our gear does get tangled. It is good to get out on the water, to be away from life’s hassles and trivialities. I always think we complicate our lives so much when life can be simple and pure. The catch was ok and we landed some to the Inn where they were immediately cooked off by Robert and Dave. There are not many places where you can eat fresher seafood than The Inn at Applecross.Then it was off to work at The Inn . Was a very pleasant and fairly busy one at that with a nice mix of residents having a pint at the bar and visitors enjoying some pretty special food. I always find it easy working ‘front of house’ as the food is of such a high standard I can honestly not recall the last complaint that I have had to deal with. The same continued today for our Sunday lunch shift. I always enjoy the connections, today saw a guy who I recognised but seems it was his first time in Applecross. Turns out hat he works in a store in Inverness that I buy parts from and his partner works with my cousin at Abriachan in their Forestry School. Small world. The competition is progressing nicely with Italy arriving yesterday and our first Canadian today.

After watching Scotland lose again at rugby this time against Wales, but the game was so much better than last week, I headed of to Ardban with the dogs and a rucksack. i went initially to pick up some coral from the beach to take back for the hens as it enriches their eggs and is good for them as well. I noticed Chris and his family were up and staying at their house their so I called in to see how they were doing. As their house is at the end of a one and a half mile track they do not get many visitors when they are here. It was a lovely way to pass an hour and I have recruited another two friends to join The Community Company. I enjoy the positive outlook on life that Chris and family seem to share it so was in good company, talking about the growing potential of the Applecross community if it is allowed. Dougal and his mum, Eilidh, enjoyed the beach part of the walk. Called in to Janet’s on the way home to discuss ways of moving forward our Hydro negotiations. The result is an email which is going to be sent to the chair of our Estate. Oh if life was as simple as it was yesterday on my boat. While writing this I am listening to Cara Dillon , a beautiful singer from Ireland, pure and peaceful.

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