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

Posts tagged ‘Bealach Beag’

Passing Notes

Saturday: The end of a crazy night at the Inn. For me it back to the old days, behind the bar serving solid for four hours with a queue out the door that never moved for the whole time, well you know what I mean serving one customer and immediately being replaced by another.


Everything started at three for me, a quick bit of food at 9.30pm and through till twelve. Another two hours to go before the bike ride home. It is going to be a good one, wind still blowing from the north, and I think a bit of eastern music on the headphones to get me home.

The weather was vastly improved and it was lucky for us as he Garden was full as was the tables on the street.


If we had to find seats for them we would have been broken.  Bikers, cyclists, wedding guests and holiday makers made their way through the Inn tonight.


Germans, French, Dutch, Italians, all were here. In fact it felt like half the world was..great to get a seat with some residents from London, well from Paisley and have lived in London for the last thirty years. Great chat about the Yes/No and he brought up an interesting aspect that I have never thought about. He is not coming home but wants his kids to be Scottish and after a Yes vote wondered what that would mean.

Saw them again last night although did not have much time for chat and they said they were talking about the debate all day while touring around Torridon. Having seen James McEvoy on the Marr show in the morning I liked his take on it without him revealing how he was voting. Suggesting one should not vote on what the politicians are telling you as they are like actors in being trained in saying what you want to hear and in five or ten years time it will be a different set anyway. I told Clark that I was a cynical Yes voter and we parted with a good handshake. lots of hand shakes and the occasional hug, I think from customers just relieved to get a seat and a meal. Banter when we had time was supreme and connected briefly but strongly to a couple of German women, Ulle and Franka, just good craic and they were so pleased to be seated and thought the seafood linguine amazing. The most touching compliment came from and elderly gentleman who sat with his partner on table A. I had the good fortune to settle his bill and when he had done that he said how welcome they were made and he felt he had been looked after almost as though they were friends. That has to be one of the best compliments anyone can receive and it got a handshake. Everyone moved from a table when asked, usually the last option for to ask, but all was done in good humour and banter. the compliment I went into the prep room with and not to anyone in particular was the wee chappie from Glasgow who said that the 5star hotels in Glasgow would do well to send their staff up for training, meaning how well everyone was being looked after over a hectic two days.. Maybe something for the Boss to do in her semi retirement. Having said that this was only an opinion and I am sure there are brilliant staff in Glasgow. In amongst all this there was a little weird scenario taking place where I ended up passing notes to Jack, the photographer/barman, which seemingly a negotiation for one of his photographs. Negotiations did not go well and the last note I passed on was mildly abusive. It was only explained to me afterwards what was going on and it felt like being back at school again. Her inebriation did not really excuse her behaviour.

Apart from the hectic twelve+ hour shifts over the weekend been having really interesting discussions with Son no3, now a second year medical student, about the oils I am now taking. And again with our Doc, who is so down to earth and just tells you plainly what is going on. Basically if it works it is okay and this was the chat with No3 about the power of the placebo effect. What I am heading towards may be termed as vibrational healing. Sounds fascinating and open mind will be kept. Other events of the weekend apart from weddings was the cycle race from Shieldaig which closes the Bealach for three hours.


I have already mentioned about how the organisers do not communicate with the Applecross community and although this does not bother us too much, (maybe we should get some one to exchange notes), when I was there in the morning a couple of tourist cars were inconvenienced. Going to Glasgow setting off around the North coast was not the best start to his journey, more info and he would have started earlier thus avoiding the closure. On the bright side I had a chat with Claire, who is community minded and was marshalling, about how we overcome the impasse and felt positive afterwards. Maybe she can pass on our notes. Took a few photos of the cyclists as they whizzed past


and the few that said hello and thanks  made you feel better about the whole event.




It is not the cyclists that bother the community it is the way the organisers have dismissed the community’s concerns. No wonder they come over to cycle through country like this.


Over the couple of days the changes in the light was lovely although only caught in glimpses. Saturday evening.



Sunday afternoon.



One ends up in a little microcosm but although I voted and saw the Council election results on thursday, I had forgotten that they were counting yesterday, mind you I know some people in Applecross had either not known the election was taking place or had forgotten to vote. Be interesting to hear their views on politics in the coming weeks and months.

So I go fishing today but that is another story

Not Really Grumpy

Later start and hoped for a bit of a quieter afternoon and that was what happened. So after taking the broadband equipment earmarked for Rona down to the pier, a self powered unit,


passing the Grace Anne on the way,


it was out on the middle bank all day and it was not till the last two fleets that I came out of gear, meaning I almost always haul the creels facing into the wind and if there is a breeze and/or strongish tide against you, you have the boat ticking over ahead to keep her up to the gear. Always have to be alert for foul up or shoot overs as ropes are drawn into the propeller. Fairly uneventful day apart from missing one buoy and after going astern the rudder came around too far. Luckily the safety bars keep it from the propeller but it meant switching off the auto helm and heading down the aft hatch with the stilson to swing it back around with the help of the wheel. Not a very pleasant job in the swell but no damage apart from straightening the auto helm rod that is attached to the rudder. Although I get these things sorted eventually I do not have the engineering brain and began by trying to turn the rudder the wrong way but also I know I have not that type of knowledge so do not force things too much before taking time out to have a proper think about it. Last fleet I hauled had not been hauled for a while for various reasons and came up with half a dozen creels wrapped around my first couple of creels. Nothing else to do but cut them off and cut the other rope to get myself free. There will be a land delivery of the creels and hope I retied okay for the least hassle for the other boat. No blame just two fleets that had not been hauled for a while had come together.


Lovely afternoon and although sun arriving late it was an enjoyable day.


Only ashore you realise there is another ALPS meeting to go to, so it means, a take away fish and chips before heading back out the door. The project is coming to an end now and it is now the Gateway project to do and all these decisions are taken out with the Group so not really too much to say. I have stated that the pier option was the most carbon friendly but that has been turned down for several reasons which I can accept but not agree with. Taking timber out of Applecross by road is the least favourable option but that is the route we have gone down. Road upgrades and damage payments make the pier a better option financially but that is now history. Light looking even better ashore.


Today the weather came in albeit a little later but by 11 am was not bothered about not going out and got on with a pretty busy day of wood work, a pier tidy and landing some prawns to Spain via Ardheslaig. And by the time that was all over it was evening and time to make the sweet and sour prawns caught yesterday, which were bearable. Had to call into the toilets as we have a water problem, temporarily solved with a bucket but more needs to be done tomorrow morning. There always seems to be something at the moment. Bookwork, a long and intricate discussion on the future of rural west coast broadband on the email streams, Filling Station upgrade, and we thought it already was, and now the toilets. Hopefully it will turn out to be something simple like an airlock but it still needs to be sorted by some one who knows what he/she is doing. Slight relief in that we were not going to be quorate tonight at the CC meeting so cancelled. Bealach Beag has reared its head again, as said before it is tolerated here with not an awful lot of benefits but the organisers have decided in their wisdom to put the May event on on the May Bank Holiday. Businesses actually lose money on the day and losing a Bank Holiday payday seems a bit unfair for some people. When the organisers came in first it was to “extend the shoulder of the season” something that people in Applecross by September are wondering as necessary. But the opinion was that neighbouring communities may need or want this extension so we have shrugged our proverbial shoulders. The impact on the organisers will come from Shieldaig CC as we have been dismissed….we shall see. Good to have a grump and as we are on one then the situation with the Roads Dept regarding the undermining of the road at the bottom of the Craig Darroch is not the best, especially as they are putting a cattle grid on the Culduie road which as far as I know there will not be any fences round it. I am in a better mood than the post suggests but it is good to see what can be improved. Another way of looking at it is there is so much going on here for just a couple of hundred souls who live on the peninsula. When something goes wrong on the Varuna you fix it and no one knows, but when you have community problems like the Filling Station, local cards or running out of diesel, (that was me), you are a hostage to every one. It does mean there  a healthy and sometimes vibrant community, needs more people though. But as the trip round the coast shows there are sights and colours that keep you going,


a sign seasons are turning when you see the Seaflower 11


back on the water,




in the garden no exception. Wild bees choice but not the honey bee.


Crazy Weather.

Blossoms on the apple tree, although a lot fewer this year, potatoes showing in the ground,peas and beans making an appearance under glass and some carrots and radishes showing in the raised beds so what’s with the driving hail showers. Woke up this morning to the sound of hail clicking against the window and a northerly gale blowing. The boys pulling the lifeboat down the Outer Hebrides could have had better weather. Last year they came home sunburnt. As Mark is away on tour this year it a full day at the Inn for me. That is after a coffee to bace myself before going out to the Varuna for a box of medium prawns to keep the kitchen going. Forecast is for it to improve which is just as well as we are about to deluged by visitors this weekend, it being Whitsun. The Bealach Beag is being held on saturday and whose idea to close the Bealach for a morning on one of the busiest days of the year is any ones guess.

In between the hefty showers passing through  there are still blinks of awe.


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