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

Posts tagged ‘Baxter’


The pool table is out, so it’s winter. The bar is full of scarecrows, the odd punk rocker, bride and grooms, ministers, and men dressed up as women. Just another night at the Inn. Possibly the excuse being anniversaries of one kind or another, it being January. The food and wine were in abundance and their effects were kicking in. The pool table was the dance floor, Baxter the dancer, the sound system was blasting out “Wild Thing” and the door opens to reveal a passing visit from the local constabulary. Note at this point that one was a bonny lass who came from Glenelg and had joined the Force. To complete the picture, it was late, the bandanna was on, the shirt was off and Baxter was in full country and western mode on the pool table. The sound system was blasting out The Troggs Wild Thing when the door opens he sees the new arrivals, ” I think I love you, that is some fancy dress you are wearing”. (Modified a little for those who did not know Baxter). He had thought they were dressed as Bobbies come for the party.

There was another time when he arrived at the Inn and stayed for a few voddies, his favourite tipple after seeing the pink elephants on the whisky drams. Anyway he wandered off only to reappear five minutes later to shout “Where’s my effing tractor”. He went away muttering under his breath when he was told he had walked down from the house and his tractor was n’t nicked.. Possibly took a little longer in going home, maybe forgetting he had been doing a little maintenance.


Sadly these are memories of Baxter and he will not be adding to them as he passed away yesterday evening.


For those around the Inn he will be sadly missed and it was not all about the voddie. He had lots of time for a chat, you knew where you stood with him and he was loyal. This community has lost one of its long time characters and here on Mother’s Day there is a missing part. I have been here long enough to see many people come and go, see the changes, a lot have made me feel just a little sad. The passing of Baxter is one of those events. The community will always be here and when the likes of Baxter was around you never knew what was going to happen next. What we will not see any more is Baxter driving any where on his tractor,to the Bank,


or anywhere else. One of the little jobs I did for him was keep the red diesel flowing by delivering cans and he was always grateful. He did not always have the best of fortune with his tractors,


but they were often seen around the community if not Baxter himself.


Feel good I was able to give him some good music to listen to towards the end.

There was the one about his shed going on fire and his beloved tractor parked up against it. The only thing the firemen found in the emergency of trying to save his tractor tyres was using the pan his dinner was in, the soup ended up over the tractor with Baxter jumping up and down in the background “that’s my effing dinner”.

The evening finishes with many, many more stories of the guy and there will be many more by the end of the week.There was far more to the man than the voddies, as Judith said tonight when he worked at the Inn as handyman he would disappear after cleanup and then three or four days later reappear with a chain welded fence for the Garden. Courtesy of the Applecross Heritage Centre and his sister Isobel this is a cracking photo of him in his early days up at the Walled Garden, when his daughter Elaine is carrying on the connection. Many thoughts.




Baxter was 70 on Thursday, enjoyed his company, stories craic and moans over the years. People like him make the place what it is.


Day of Dogs.

Heard a nice wee tale about my Mum yesterday evening relayed by Ali Mackenzie. Seems after the war   she was over here doing some district nursing. To get around she had a Ridge bike, 200cc seemingly, and it was a troublesome starter. So this day she was in Milton and trying to head off but failing miserably when Murdo Macrae, boat builder and Robert’s grandfather, wandered up and began giving her a series of suggestions on what the trouble was and how to fix it. Younger then, a fair bit flustered and a little out of character she turned to Murdo and snapped “I know too much about this for you to be telling me what is wrong”. To which Murdo quickly replied “You are the first person I have ever met that knew too much about anything”. I think a quick spark plug clean took place and off she went, possibly a little chastened.

Turned out to be a long day, after a late night I headed off to bed with a slightly ominous feeling and sure enough I woke with a bit of a “head” which by the time I made it to work was full-blown. Only the Boss knew and just managed to function through the day. Far too many pain killers but needs must. Yorkshire boys here providing the entertainment for the last couple of days and continued throughout the afternoon. Was not much else on the go apart from the weather which was varying between stormy to gale force.IMG_6595


Enough to take a phone call from the Press and Journal as they had a report of gusts of 102mph. Evening was still windy but stunning light to the south.



Lie down for an hour and then a Community Company meeting where there was a huge amount discussed and an array of problems talked through with solutions offered for every one. Although it can be very onerous at times meetings that offer solutions are to be recommended to any one. The other advantage is that I fought a migraine and won through, appreciating a stormy day and doing something constructive. The new Facebook page set up for the Company has been really well received and will improve our lack of communications with the Community.www.facebook.com/applecrosscommunitycompany. The directors are really pleased with the close to 200 likes and hope you keep them coming. At times I have this really strange thought that they are almost worth it when you experience the feeling coming out the other side although they are pretty tiring and have a “mind” of their own. Dougal and Co are equally content now each having part of a leg of a hind in their grasp, possibly can tell.IMG_6615

Another amusement happened earlier in the week when Baxter of Milton received a parcel from his friendly postie, Dai. Although a little puzzled he thought it may be an early Christmas present. On opening it he found a squeaky pig and was totally  bemused. He then got onto the phone to his daughters and slowly the penny dropped, the parcel was delivered to the wrong address. Not only are there two Baxters in Applecross but there are two Baxter Thompsons here. As there was no note or any other message it had not been clear which Baxter the present had been for. As the other Baxter he is a wee terrier,


the squeaky pig was obviously meant for Baxter Thompson, Camusterrach and not Milton.


On reflection it was a bit of a dog day as on leaving the pub I gave Fru and Sprougle some biscuits and Minnie had to have a couple more, all regular visitors. So between them our own lot and Baxter…..

A Tractor with no Wheels

Quiet couple of days although still managed a couple of pleasant shifts at the Inn, a bit of seaweed gathering and a fuel delivery from our cheery oil tanker man, Kenny. A brief excursion out on the boat to haul a few creels to check how bad the fishing still is and it was. Hauled 150 creels for very few prawns and went back in to do some work on the moorings. Changed a bridle and saw that I need new chain for next year, good to have this done as today’s forecast was right in that there was a gale coming into the moorings for most of the day. Can rest a little easier knowing things are in not too bad shape. Although pretty dull there was some bonny light south over the Crowlins and Skye.


Passing Milton loch I almost always stop now to have a wee look at the swans, love hearing them call to each other and the way they gracefully move away from you, just in case.


Yesterday while dropping off a couple of things in Milton I noticed there is a Baxter Project under way…..aiming to become a two tractor family.


While it is quieter at the Inn you end up chatting  more than what you would call working. A couple of things not on the menu board, you tell the customers and all they have is what is not on the board. Must be the description of venison loin in a red wine jus served with new potatoes and vegetables. The monk fish in that day was served in a lemon and herb butter also with potatoes and vegetables. No wonder they take their time in choosing when you add in the bog standard, rump of lamb, lobsters, duck breast, seafood linguine, it goes on and on. Got to know a couple from Dundee quite well, good chatter and interesting talking to an agronomist for a wee change. Inevitable this week of all weeks politics seems top of a lot of conversations. Quite an art, still to be learnt, to chat about next years referendum without becoming too involved in the topic. I have taken a lot of time and read and still read a lot of information about the subject. A lot of what I feel is emotion and I have always thought about Scotland as an entity, more than a region, and why not, a country. Status quo is not usually a very attractive proposition. As in many areas in life, whether at a local or regional level it is time for a little thinking out of the box. It was not that long ago I was in Sleat and saw a pretty impressive operation in how to manage a forest and it seemed aspirational. Cannot help comparing it to back home where the figures are so different no one seems to be able to turn over the profit and employment which Sleat Community Trust are doing. Reading posts, streams, papers the reality is no one can predict much into the future, although everyone is trying, as that is the only way to justify their positions. It would be nice to have more of a say in one’s own destiny. There was plenty of opinion locally that told us that taking over the Filling Station was not going to work….four years of hassle  and I took another fuel delivery today with just short of 500,000 litres  of fuel sold and we keep on going.

Not too much excitement today, just a trip up to see the delivery of fuel,


a not very interesting job for Dougal and Co,


the seaweed gathering was much more interesting. As I went up in the van I had to put a load of weed in the back to justify the trip. It is quite hard being green. So with the minutes done all that remains is to finish a Scottish quiz for Saint Andrews night at the Inn. May or may not be used, depending on how many people out and enthusiasm. Curry night at the Walled Garden means less guys at the Inn. Keeping the political theme going I came across a great quote from a slightly surprising source, the Pope. Every Friday we get an email from Lawrence, who sends out the Senscot bulletin www.senscot.net/view_bull.php?viewid=16359 and usually has something pertinent to say this time it was quoting the new Pope who seems to have a different take on things,“The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenceless before the interests of a deified market, which becomes the only rule”. Good to balance Boris’ view that greed is good.


Where’s Baxter?

We have a new game in Applecross for St Patrick’s Day and its called Where’s Baxter? It is very simple and you have two clues. The first is find his tractor and the second narrows it down if you find a pint of guinness on the bonnet. This means that he is very close. On this occasion he was having a rolly at the Inn staff smoking station just round the corner from his tractor and pint.



It should also be noted that no drink/driving took place during this post.

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