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

Posts tagged ‘bees’

Mrs A’s 14 ticks.

Went like a dream. Up early and off to Broadford to pick up a box of personal bits and pieces before making my way to Glenelg. Met the minister for the first time and again , Iain. Was a little surprised at the number who came out to see her off, but plesasntly so. The weather was certainly changeable with Alison and the boys passing cyclists sheltering from the horizontal hail on the top of the Hill. Spring never mind summer has not arrived yet. Or at least arrives for a day and then disappears for a week. And not much change in sight for the next week. Speaking of Mrs A, just before she went through to pick up sons Nos 3and4 in Inverness I had an unusual request. To take 14 ticks out of her. After the funeral/sermon we headed off to the Balmacara cemetery to lay my mum beside my Dad. Emotions held in check as I am only thinking of the cord list, those who are going to lower the coffin. Had a list made out but have to leave a couple open to see who turns up. Made it happen okay and went down to the Plockton Inn for a cracking plate of soup and sandwiches.




Seems it runs in the family, climbing out windows that is, mum’s brother in this case. He was not allowed to play football so out the window he went to play for Plockton against Kyleakin. Would have gotten away with it if he had not broken his arm at the game. Don’t think falling out of bed would have swung it. Reminds me of the time I broke the key in my Dad’s car. A big problem as I should not have had the car and certainly not outside the Dornie Hall at 2am on a Saturday morning. A deal of subterfuge and ingenuity later and I got away with that one. Some more gossip, up to date and not to be repeated. You always get these trips back into the past and a catch up in the neighbouring villages at funerals. Took a little run down Cooper Street and Laurel Bank, now changed hands and renovated since I have been in.

Home in time for work although not sure that was a good idea. Stopped of at what seemed like a TESCO pit stop


but views are always good there.


Saturdays are becoming an evening to get through these days. The Inn experiences a descending crush on Saturdays now with the big tables booked at 6pm and again at 8pm. It is the only way to cope. Maybe it was because of my day but it was almost out of control at one stage although i think it was more to do with lack of communication. I knew some of the group on the big table and all was going well up to the time they were leaving and the next group were sitting down. They had already started but not the booked group so it was almost unpleasant sorting it out over the next ten minutes and the closest I have come to telling a couple of people what I really thought. But all went okay apart from the spilt glass of wine. It may well be a long season and it seems the popular destinations are all finding it harder to cope as the destinations in between are not providing good service so the load is fairly uneven. Going to have to be more efficient to cope in the weeks to come. Sunday was a busy but saner day although the weather is staying so unsettled. It is the hot topic, a couple of decent days then a dip back into late winter. Cannot remember such a broken spell for May. The broken weather does throw up some interesting skies.


The bees are going well and out in numbers on the good days, at least one hive is. Not sure the second one is going to survive. It was always the weaker one from the split last year.


Now Thursday morning and just away to Inverness to the Community Land AGM via Loch Ness. Suddenly no time to do everything so its just a quick finish off and into the van with the dogs as we are staying at Beauly overnight. Once Dougal gets his hair sorted we are off.


Tuesday evening at the Inn was like the height of summer, without the weather, queueing for tables most of the evening but all goes well. That interspersed with a day fishing and another evening shift takes us up to date. The prawns are going down well just now. I think because they are on and off the menu people are ordering them just in case. They are not bad though. Got caught out last night with a group of four residents who wanted a half pint of prawns tailed. I thought it was one for the ladies to share so offered to shell for them.They ordered four, one each. One plateful of langoustine followed.


The haul produced a few more than expected, enough for a box going to Loch Ness Inn and to keep them on the menu till the weekend. Not so many bonxies about yet but always good to watch them battle


and usually win


against the gulls.


And a star fish.


The Americans, last night at the Inn, were grateful to be helped out as their tyre was burst on the Hill. I think they were really mystified that we would help them get the call out, feed them and put them up for the night. If I am broken down anywhere across the world I hope the Applecross factor kicks in.

What is Happening?

Just in from letting the pups out for there last wander on a day which is quite hard to take in. Listening to a couple of owls chatting to each other, one towitting and his/her mate answering with a towhoo. Began yesterday, if that makes any sense, stopped off to vote on the way to work at the Inn.


Boss out being wined and dined so left to Heather, Euan and myself on an easy night with not too many guests to serve. Naturally split the tables and I ended up down the far end and after seeing off the Pennsylvanians and Texans the Parisians and the guys from Marseilles settled in When I got to know where they all came from I announced it to them when the wee biker chappie on table 8 stuck his hand up and claimed Dundee. Good banter which involved a photo of him wearing only his shoes taken at Sand. A tradition and interrupted by a group of six tourists wandering over the next dune and stopping in their tracks. The photo was taken from behind by the way. Nipped out for a sunset shot.9Q7Q9520

Later on a herd grazing out side the back door, going to be even more as the Alt Beag gets closed off less ground for them.


Home in plenty of time to settle down for a results night. I lasted until one before retiring to bed with the radio on. Did not believe the exit poll but was woken up about half hour later to Glasgow cheering and ended up down stairs watching STV in disbelief for the next three hours. Us Scots are a bit unfathomable at the moment but we are certainly activated and whether one agrees or not that has to be good. Managed a couple of hours before getting up to fuel the Auk and then make it out on the water for a fine day of fishing. The day was fine, unfortunately not so the fishing but to be expected and pressure on as we ran out last night. just goes to show these SNP chaps are pretty good, even the weather has changed for the better, no wind and blue skies.


Shore Street, seagulls


first fulmar of the year


and the resident seals


all enjoying the politics of the day. Not missing out are the bees piling in the pollen.


Change on our own patch with a stalwart Charlie heading off into the sunset. Must admit to mixed feelings although glad I met our new Rep, Ian Blackford, about the MoDs plans. The radio being on all day it was wall to wall analysis and resignations and confusion. Basically no one has a clue what is going to happen next. I suspect we are on a road similar to the Norwegian’s process of self-determination. Remember listening to Lesley Riddoch giving us a history of how it happened for them. So long as it remains positive and peaceful I am all for it.

Took my Referendum flag back out when I went up the road to land the days catch and had a mess about. Politics is a serious business but you must have some fun as well as long as no offence is caused. And then it was back up to the Alt Beag,


Dougal and Elidh’s favourite walk at the moment.


Only takes two minutes for him to get into a right old state


but he does enjoy running over through and under the brash.




Sweet chilli squats and an evening of Question Time and snoozing to finish of a day that will live in the mind for a long time. So good to see UKIP getting less than 2% of the vote up here, we are a little different, not better just different and we may be at a fork in the road. So far it is exciting and as long as you stay clear of the fringes of all sides it seems to be respectful. The UK result….well we will see but it involves people in power with a different mindset from me. The one big gap in this election campaign for me was the total lack of how do we live within our environment, where is climate change, how do we carry on in a sustainable way? Keep it simple, fishing tomorrow and the Inn over the weekend, summer work load has arrived.



Appalachians and new Computers.

The bank Holiday Weekend is long enough gone to write about now. It was busy there is no doubt and Sunday especially was full on despite the weather.


Now I am not an IT chappie and can work a system if it is set up no problem but the new computer system is doing a few people’s heads in. If you work from the bar and Terminal 1 the Prep Room can go to their modified list and work out what table has placed what order. Terminal 2 was a different matter and seeing prep room staff coming out with cutlery and food not having a clue where they were going……. No one to blame so it was survival and I went back to the old table numbers by following the order through the back and writing on it. That worked until some one down on my section did not use it and back to chaos again. Top laugh of the day came from the BT when Roddy and mates were in. Running out of ice creams and the last effort was laughed down with a request for a cranachan. Through to the sweet counter where I passed this on for Adeena to look puzzled and reply cranachan ice cream?? Retold at the BT and added to their enjoyment of a fine afternoon’s meal and company. It was a long shift and I made it through to around eleven to get a bit of the bikers music, some good and some not quite up there. And in good Appalachian style checking fingers before starting.


The Duelling Banjos needs another years work as the guitar was way better than the banjo.


But good craic from the regular Bank Holiday bikers. Weather has been dire and that did not help us front of house as no one eating outside. First time one or two groups did not stop although to be fair they were on tight schedules.

Today, Wednesday, I have just taken the last of the prawn stash ashore so with a poor forecast for tomorrow a long day is planned for friday to try to get ahead again. It has been indifferent weather this week, south-westerly on Monday. Tuesday fine but stayed ashore for VAT inspection that never arrived. Car in garage, I could have easily gone out but the change of plan came a bit late. I was not allowed any leeway when the inspection was set up, a shame as even if any mistakes there will be little for the VAT man to justify a trip out.

Nature ashore is continuing apace, wandered up and through what used to be the Alt Beag plantation. . Only a few tons left to take out. Saturday was a stunning day for a wander and in twenty years time it should be a lovely place to walk through. Always think that once you go up to industrial scale of anything there is so much waste. There are hundreds of tons of wood for burning just lying about everywhere but that is the way things seem to be done. Seeing Colin and Jackie’s Clydesdale over in Achmore seems a more economical way of extracting the timber and using it locally.https://www.facebook.com/pages/Colin-Parsons-ForestryHorse-Logging/610273509040324 ( Have to be next time as we are having BT/AppleNet broadband issues and uploading is a bit of a pain.) Instead a better way to control bracken other than by helicopter spraying.


Operations have come to a close, mulching, mounding all done and just the machines and tidying up to go with the last loads ready to go out. Planting is now under way.


Suppose we would need more people living here but that will come as it is Trust policy now to encourage an increase in the residential population. Sitting watching Netflix the other night watched an owl settle on the sycamore by the road and then later the bats started to fly. Monday on the way to the Shop a couple of small birds chasing a cuckoo out of their patch. Everything seems underway despite the weather and not because of it. The bees have managed a few days out as well and lots of pollen going back to the hives, good sign as the queens are going strong. Dougal is very keen to get involved in the garden but at the moment his destruction is out weighing his positive leanings and taking apart the compost bins is not helping.



Did not manage to post last night and as it is another day of North westerlies looking to a bit more paperwork and wood work. And the most important of all voting. Have read up on a couple of items and have only had a choice of two candidates. Saw an interesting list which gave the candidates a list of red lines they could not cross and there are only two that coincide. Unfortunately this outdated way of voting does not allow me to vote for who I really want but next year for the Scottish Parliament I can as it is PR. Interesting times.


Not many lambs appear in Applecross in December but crofting is changing over here


and I met the first of the new season. Just a quick snap shot as there were a couple of interested spectators and the wee one was wanting fed. A survivor of triplets. Turned up at the shop just before opening to drop in some calendars and pick up some dog food for our two. Then it was feeding the birds


and the bees


before heading out on the bike. Sort had an idea that it would be a long walk for Dougal and Eilidh by nipping up to the snow line on the Bealach. The nice thing about cycling up the road in Applecross you stop for chats on the way with drivers and dog walkers or who ever. Also there are those who keep a wary eye on you.


Was told the snow line was not that low here on the west coast, about 350 metres. So with no real aim to get to a certain height I just plodded on stopping and admiring where I live.



Another stop was at the bridge past the Snowblower Shed, except we have no snowblower now. There is a story here and I will have it soon for you, too vague to repeat just now. Allt Beag was a good stop off point for a drink.



He’s mad but lovely. The breeze was bitter and slowly increasing from the south-west. Had thought about going to sea but the forecast was 6 to 8 north-west going 6 to 8 south-west and did not think it worth the effort. So it was the Bealach as opposed to the Sound.



Possibly due to being stuck inside for the last couple of days the senses were in good shape to take in some awesome scenery.


Despite the lack of sunshine there  was a clarity to everything. Dougal and Eilidh enjoyed the run although I think that will be it for a couple of days for them. Stags and lots of snuffling around in the snow,


crossing streams and just having a sniff.


Made it up to the hairpin and decided that dogs and legs had enough.


The battery was still live when I arrived back home but is straight on charge as an earlier start at the Inn this afternoon has been requested.

Now it is 1.30am and back down from the Inn. Long slow cycle home in the teeth of a strong south-westerly but head full of a pleasant night at the Inn. Lots of regulars in and homely atmosphere, fire on, good food and then onto the malts, and a fair few were consumed. Lots of reminiscing, problem solving and a deep discussion on Applecross or should say A’Chomraich, a Sanctuary for many who stop and listen.

Changin’ Scotland and It Is.

That was some three days, even for here the variety was something. Had made it to bed after a shift on Thursday coming back from Contin and was shattered but in a good way. Friday was taken at a run although part of that was making sure I had finished a post for putting out on Saturday. Contin did look good and it was thanks to the pooches that I made time to see above and over the mists. Lovely weather  on Friday morning





and managed everything, all the menial stuff, the washing, dishes etc, in time for making it up to the Bealach summit


to watch the sun dip behind the Cuillin.



One of the jobs I had earmarked for the day was to feed the bees but when I went over to see how they were doing they were busy flying and saw some pollen coming in as well.


Extra ordinary in the last days of November how pleasant and warm it is. So although I had forgotten a couple of things in the rush it was worth it for the scenes taking place out west. After catching up with Alison at Garve we all made our way to Leckmelm to get the nest ready for later and then off into Ullapool to grab something to eat and get into another Changin’ Scotland. Calling in at the Ceilidh Place we were immediately chatting to all sorts of revolutionaries and as a result missed the start of the evening. Finding the right venue and not reading the programme did not help.

Back to Leckmelm and a night spent trying to keep Dougal off the bed. It was at floor level due to a big relative’s recent visit and Dougal thinking he was still on his Contin holidays made the most of it. Another late arrival at the Village Hall, this time due to fishing, bee and wood chat at the lodgings. Missed the start of Matt Qvortrup’s talk on Referendums. Really interesting and then it was Prof Adam Tomkins, some one who I had followed on twitter to see and read about another view. Had to stop after the Vote as I found him just a bit too harsh. Fair play for him coming up this way as he was in a definite minority view. There really was some good behind the scenes descriptions of how the Smith Commission has worked to get its proposals out but he did appear to lose it somewhat when he described all Glasgow’s secondary state schools as not fit for purpose and dipped even deeper into tribal party politics saying the English education system was wonderful alongside his eulogy of Mr Gove. Got a brilliant rant from a retired Glasgow teacher at the coffee break. Sent by his wife to apologise for his language later in the morning, unnecessary but great to chat with people from around the country. Although the afternoon was absorbing and thought-provoking, listening to the likes of Jeane Freeman, David Greig and Kathy Galloway among others, the evening was beckoning with Tom Smith, Lateral North, Andy Wightman and Dr Jim Hunter.

Kathy Galloway began her talk with an extra ordinary tale. Bill going through Parliament on Friday with cross party support to prevent revenge evictions. That is, tenants, who complain to their landlords about housing conditions being evicted for their troubles. the Bill failed to go onto the books because it was talked out of time…..by two Tory MPs ……and you felt the room already knew what she was going to say next…..two Tory MPs who were landlords. If I did not declare an interest at a CC meeting and did not leave the room I would be out on my ear. The point I take from this they are now so arrogant they do not seem to care who sees or knows what they do now.

Tom Smith showed a power point full of imagination of what could happen in Scotland in the future…..nothing was deemed impossible, an example being that Scapa Flow could be the maritime hub for the whole of western Europe. A cracking example put forward by Tom was of a Danish architect who decided it would be a good idea to build a swimming pool above a supermarket using the wasted heat to warm the pool. Not only that he put in a diving board that allowed the divers into the supermarket. So shoppers in the fruit and veg aisle were passed by divers inside the glass enclosed pool. Got me thinking about lots of seagoing ventures that could be feasible in the scheme of things. It is not long since the western seaboard was connected by sea routes and that brought to mind an earlier discussion about remoteness. Remote is a relative term and where you are determines how remote you are. London is remote from Applecross. The world map on the wall of the Inn shows Applecross as the centre and threads from all across the world coming to Applecross. Millennium ago the first settlers inhabited the centres of “civilisation” and these were the coastal fringes of an impenetrable and wild hinterland. Stopped for dinner at the Ceilidh Place where we had the good fortune to sit with Jim Hunter and as the meal went on great exchanges of stories took place.


He is now working on a book about the Sutherland Clearances and was telling us about the bounties paid out to “hunters” for eagles heads etc. Showing how the people lived on the land alongside the natural inhabitants and the diversity of wildlife that existed then. Not rosy by any means for the people but far better the denuding and degradation of the Highlands that took place over the last 200 years. The Scottish Govt’s programme has poor landlords in its sights and rightly so. Why should so few people hold sway over so many in a modern democracy? Why should the amount of land any one person can hold not be capped? Why can individual wealth not be kept under control. All these accumulations of power, wealth and property are ultimately detrimental to the surrounding environment. I equate these actions to my own life style, the constant striving for growth in the fishing industry inevitably leads to stock extinctions and a degraded eco system and as such should be controlled for the benefit for everyone. At Leckmelm the right of fishermen to fish to extinction was decried as it affects the non fishing community. As regards the degrading of the land and sea we are all in it together. Feels good to be amongst the revolutionaries. Meanwhile Dougal and Eilidh were given frequent walks and he, in particular had his moments meeting Douglas Fraser’s Sam and had a great wee mess about. One not so good moment nipping off in the dark to roll in the foulest rotten fish he could find. Result of that was a swim in Loch Broom. The end of the evening was interspersed with lots of chat about potential future opportunities for people and communities across the Highlands, but there was a wee stop for a snap.


We decide to head down the road as work commitments meant a full on day for Sunday for both of us. On the way down the road Jim Hunter’s mention of Angus Macrae of North Strome reminded me of hearing him in Assynt. I had the good fortune to have been invited up to take part in a Radio programme by Lesley Riddoch and towards the end of the recording Angus stood up to say how proud he was of the Assynt crofters in their buying of the Estate and he hoped this would be the start of a repopulating of the Highlands. He then went on to describe such an evocative picture of driving home in the dark from Inverness across the northern Highlands and seeing the lights back on in the Glens, keeping him company on the way home. So different from now when you can travel for miles in total darkness. Maybe the new reforms that are proposed may help Angus’s vision to be fulfilled.

I can only end by saying it was a privilege to have been in such company and that includes the whole week, ranging from the community leaders in Contin to the politicos, journalists, activists and the good people in Ullapool. One can only hope that the efforts of Gerry Hassan and Jean Urquhart can be rewarded in the continuing of this great weekend. Today was hard graft, a 10/11 hour stint, but rewarding at the Inn but rest now for a day’s fishing may be on the cards for tomorrow.

The Creels are coming Ashore.

Wet and windy today but enjoying the broken weather as we are having quiet interludes between the gales. Monday very pleasant


and was out in reasonable time, for me anyway, and had a fairly uneventful and easy-going day. Over the weekend I had decided that I was going to try to cut down the amount of tangles I had to sort out last winter and take some of the gear ashore for the next three months. We may well have a better winter than last year but with diminishing daylight and the weather not helping getting round all the gear is a bit of a chore and if left too long then the ends gradually get more and more snaked up. Hauling gear with each end having a half-dozen creels coming up in a bunch takes a bit of the pleasure out of the day and that side of things is important. After hauling 250 pots I went to the last 100 as they were due to come ashore for a clean and had not been hauled for a while. Kept them on board and made for the pier.


Anything extra in the day and you have to watch the light slipping away and so by the time I was ashore with the catch it was past dusk.


Thinking back over the weekend when you are on the water I realise that when you go to meetings unless you take notes with the intention of writing them up then even blogging about them soon after means you inevitably miss so much and felt that was the case in Farr. I reckon I am reasonably up on what is happening but hearing people talk who are “on the front line” gives an immediacy to ongoing initiatives and developments. Many items of huge importance were discussed such as the TTIP negotiations where corporations are aiming to usurp democratically elected governments and local initiatives such as the Farr Conversations. Tuesday was one of the slow/recovery days with a strong northerly blowing down the Sound and a walk to the shop for some bits and bobs was the highlight but not too bad I suppose.


Ended up at the Shieldaig CC to hear about the Community Emergency Plan presented by SSE. Not sure it merited a trip over the Hill but enjoyed the moonlight journey and followed the grittier on one of its first trips out of the winter.

Back on the water again on Wednesday and started by taking some of the rope off at the pier before making out to the Middle Bank to haul some more pots. Again nice and calm


although there was the remnants of the northerly swell in the morning.


The langoustine are staying on the menu board so we are doing the job okay despite the poor catches. There is a distinct lack of bird life about just now so when some appear they are noticed, kittiwakes suddenly appeared when I finished my tailing of squats on Monday


and had a brief visit from a cormorant in the afternoon.


Couple of big pout and he headed off happy and full. Again kept the last fleet on board so that is 150 ashore now and I can see the next 3/4 trips out there will be creels on board on the way in.  Afternoon light was eerily dissipated


in light cloud cover,


but it stayed calm


and only the occasional traffic to interrupt the routine.


Now approaching the midnight hour and the last two evenings were spent at the Inn, very gentle in the main, although tonight was kept on our toes with builders, window installers, holiday house and hotel residents all in for something to eat. Everyone got to sit where they wanted to and everyone was stunned by the quality of the food. we are used to it but the stream of comments about the lamb, cod, squats scallops continued all night. Was for heading home reasonably early but, part of the job maybe I ended up in deep conversation and yes some of it politics. Interesting night of topics, ranging from education cuts in the HC £64 million budget deficit, through a bit of the spiritual, land reform, altruistic heroism, and party politics, dipping into the legal, moral and constitutional in the passing. Even managed ten minutes with a lady beekeeper, took a punt on overhearing a conversation and struck gold. There was more and I could still be there, an interesting thought is that in a previous life I would be having a few pints while being drawn into these discussions, now there is no stimulant other than the conversations themselves, a huge improvement. Interesting to discover I was speaking to the sister of a sitting member of the House of Lords. Earlier on in the day I was in the van with Dougal and Eilidh, called in to the shop to post five calendars to Germany, get a witness signature and posted before heading up the drive to see if the new jacket bought by son No1 fitted. It did and that meant a walk in the rain followed, not expecting the camera to come out, but it did as even in this weather the colours are particularly bright. More of which anon as uploading pictures is a little slow just now and early start for fishing politics tomorrow in Fort William.

Autumnal Gales

Couple of very lazy days although managed twelve hours at the Inn. The weather has been pretty mixed and leaning towards the very poor,


lots of rain, wind with the odd blink of sun.


It does not feel hard work at the Inn as the numbers have tailed off in the last couple of days. Still plenty of people about but not queuing for tables and able to chat for longer with some people. Met an Applecross farmer who had come to see his “farm” on Bienn Bhan, never seen it before but that is the EU CAP mad system of agricultural subsidies for you. That Applecross Trust rent out rough hill land at £12 a hectare to an Orkney farmer so he can keep his herd going in Orkney makes no sense to me at all. But the craic was good especially after getting the Orkney bit straight off, been practicing the accents lately and having an Orcadian in the night before helped. It is the system that is crazy, I’m sure there will not be a landowner in the country that does not rent out their rock and heather for a bit of dosh. Difference would be if it was Community owned all monies generated would be spent in the Community to develop it in a sustainable way. I suppose that is what the Community Company is trying to do, not buy the land but generate income to be spent within the community. It is back to the age old question of why you should pay tax relief to the land owner to plant trees instead of giving a grant to people living on the land to do the same. A question a nineteen year old Andy Wightman asked when doing his degree in Forestry at Aberdeen Uni “many” years ago. Generally people who are living on the land will look after it better than the absentee who only uses it for sport. A bit like the nomad fisherman, as long as it is okay for him once a year rather than the resident who makes his living locally and uses it all year round. It must be difficult for some one who does not live in an area to understand the needs and desires on the ground. An example is the Community Company through AEE promoting a heating system for the local village hall so the Hall can be more viable, common sense and should not be extra work for the committee but strengthens the Hall in the work they do. Back to the local pound being worth six times if spent locally. I get a nice kick knowing that the profits from the calendars stay in Applecross and in a small way help the Company through a difficult period of finding a decent income stream. The cost of legal, insurance and accountancy fees have to be found and as the Company is only providing services that are taken for granted elsewhere the profit margins are tiny.

As well as a wee insight into farming I got some good Yorkshire garden tips and possibly confirming why I had a bit of a disaster this year. Hot manure does seem to have been the problem, helps some vegetables but not the ones I put the manure on. Some vegetables, like leeks and onions you can “butter their a@*@s” as much as you want. Yorkshire folk have a very direct, but colourful, way of describing the obvious. Another shift at the Inn about to start so finish this either later tonight or into tomorrow morning. Not looking forward to the cycle home, wind will be more than fresh and rain if there is any will not be falling straight.


It is almost dark when I went up the road on Saturday evening and the wind was getting up with quite a swell coming across the Sound.


Sunday 5.15pm and it’s dark; It was a winter’ evening at the Inn last night with very few venturing out and apart from most residents wanting to sit on top of the fire it all went smoothly, even the couple on honeymoon, she, forgetting to pack just about everything. The most important was the flecainide for her husband. A phone call to the Doc and a visit to the surgery got that all sorted out. It is a good symptom of our community, like when in the shop in the afternoon customer asks for wallpaper paste, none in but the customer behind says he has some, so sorted. Once everyone got their place by the fire things settled down and it was a smooth and quiet shift. The clocks could have had already gone back it was so quiet. Had a good reminisce chat with the Shieldaig Mackenzies, over for a regular meal, unfortunately quite a bit about funerals and illnesses but that is an age thing I suppose. The bike ride home was not too bad and was broken up by a visit to Eagle’s Rock to catch up with a previous Doc, Mark and Damien, up for birthday celebrations. Most of which went on the previous night so things were a bit subdued with a few hangovers scattered around the room, so it was home by eleven. I had taken a snap of a fast flowing Alt na Criche yesterday


thinking there had been a fair amount of rain but this morning there really had been.


I am slowly gathering pots for my honey and am just about there and got a wee message from Kyle saying I had left some in the separator which Audrey kindly sorted out for me.


Dougal and Eilidh are always on the lookout for a walk anywhere and whatever the weather and it is good to get out with them most of the time. You invariably see sights that you would n’t if you were slumped in front of the computer. Sums up the season and the weather.


Can’t really say telly now as we no longer watch live TV and do not have a licence any more. To be perfectly honest do not miss it in the slightest. Lunch shift was a solo one with back up from the Boss. Again quiet due to the pretty atrocious weather, so quiet that Steve was turning his hand to new dishes, a starter cockle, steamed on a bed of rocket.



Honey and the Electric Car.

Weather has been as bad as predicted, coming in on Monday afternoon from the south-west and quickly blowing from the north-west. This is the worst direction for the boats in Applecross especially with a high tide as we do not get any shelter from the reefs and the motion rolls in. I arranged a trip to Kyle to take over three frames of honey for extraction. Was a little later than planned as had to wait for the tide to go out to the Varuna, check the bridal and then take the dingy into the shore as it is far too exposed for the forecast. Funny how you miss the obvious and was half way up the Hill before realising that the easiest way to transport them was in a super not the ice cream punnets that I had. Only the one minor tip before wedging them in and driving slower. Arrived about twenty minutes late but the next two hours flew by and learned a huge amount.Depending on how things go this winter plan to have my own extractor for next year. Both hives seem to be in reasonable shape and still flying. Started feeding them this weekend. So the frames were uncapped, put in the extractor


and spun


resulting in about six pounds of honey.


So all loaded up with wax and honey and back over the Hill.

Tuesday was a sheltered day, watching the weather, the boat bouncing around on the mooring and seeing if the dingy was okay on the shore.


Poor weather but not the worst and everything seems to have survived. Dougal, of course, is always on hand to check things are all in their rightful place.


So back at the house the only thing to do with the honey today was to drain the honey out of the wax, a good half pound or so, in a bowl above the fire.


And the wax once drained to be frozen and recycled by the bees next spring. Think I may have a wee holiday on Colonsay around May/June if the Inn will let me. Meeting a real bee keeper only tells me how much I do not know about bees. Rest of day spent looking out the window and watching depressing Scandinavian films. May be moving into the speculation time of year and picking up some criticism of the Company and the Council and how they are too close together. Not sure how to respond to that other than say why not. The sooner all the Community organisations, whether based in the community or absentee, work together the better for the whole community. Some people cannot seem to separate personality from organisation. I, for some strange reason, do not care who is in what but if there is a Community benefit that is enough.

Technology day today, after the butcher came to the front gate, and it was on the Ebike to see the visit of the Ecar which had made it over the Hill with ease and with power to spare.


Very interesting morning chatting about the potential of changing our transport in the countryside, one of our biggest carbon footprints.


Although I do not like the supermarket style of presentation before huge waste, the fact that a van comes in instead of five cars going out does make sense. That does not mean I will ever order from the TESCO van but can acknowledge the benefit. I just think the cost outweighs the benefits in the long-term in the possible loss of shop and PO. Calum, now working on Eorpa, alerted the new contact for BBC Alba, Steve, who duly turned up to do a bit of filming.


Certainly on the cards for the future transport needs of the schoolhouse. Having turned up on the Ebike it was suggested that a wee interview took place after the proper ones. Finished in time for Applecross Ices to get her own back in her wee “media” comment. Group of young chaps from Kyle turned up


to see what was going on and Steve set off on a little drive in the car. This vehicle has a small petrol driven generator which extends its range by another 60 miles. Huge advantage in these vehicles is there are no moving parts,


still a bit pricey coming in at £25,000 with the Govt grant of £ 5,000. Seeing nothing under the bonnet reminded me of the old VW Beetle joke, lady broken down lifts the bonnets and finds no engine when another pulls up and a guy jumps out to help. Tells her it is okay he has a spare one in the boot. Ahh the old ones….. Weird watching it head off without a sound. Means I can wear my headphones on the bike when they arrive here in numbers, invest in a couple of mirrors.Other major excitement of the day was to book up several concerts for the Celtic Connections Festival in January. Two weekends booked up with music from The Americas, here, Africa and Asia. Will be a good break from the depths of an Applecross winter.

Future is Green, Credit Unions and Local.

A day is a long time in politics. After what I thought was a pretty major disappointment in the history of Scottish politics I was back on the bike to nip up the road for any instructions for sleeping in at the Inn. Not much was to be learnt as full team on and it was more a case of being there. And as it turned out after a couple of phone calls I did not need to go up till after service. Fairly quiet during the day although a little busier during the evening it was not manic. Well I had my malt whisky , first and last ones kindly bought, Oban to Bunahbhain, fairly thoroughly enjoyed, enough so to manage to sip one or five during the late evening.


If anyone thought the Referendum is all over then they are seriously underestimating the political engagement of the Scottish populace. After the diners had left the conversations raged on and the content was highly intellectual. The other aspect of the day was the comfort displayed by friends to those they thought needed it. A large number of hugs and consoling words came my way…must have displayed some desire for a Yes vote. Once settled in with my drams the chatter happened and what is immediately apparent is that a new political process is underway and it will not be run by the elites. There is a palpable feel of excitement about and it is now replacing the despair I felt yesterday. There is always one joker in the pack who seemed to thrust himself into several people’s conversations. I got caught in one of them and very wide-ranging, a No Voter, he displayed much knowledge about anything and everything from oil to historic interpretations of the Darien Scheme and claimed that the Yes voters cherry picked their way throughout the debate. I tried to point to a different version of the original Union that did not suggest the Country was broke but some very important noble families were and also pointed out that the Alien Act of 1705 may have contributed to events over 300 years ago. But this did not tie in with his “cherry picked version” which I told him with a fair amount of suppressed glee, but had to walk away, in my professional capacity of course. Turned out he was not having a very good night, as the people he was picking on, both staff and customers were all Yes voters and very well versed in their reasons for voting Yes. After he had gone I sat down with his mates who were staying at the Inn and had a fine end to the evening. Lots of little connections and one that was very disturbing as they were involved in finding the last fisherman to have lost his life on the Inner Sound in the 80s, up north at Gairloch. Brought back some unwelcome memories..  The rest of the evening was spent dipping in and out of Social media where I saw the awful scenes of a Yes stickers on Donald Dewar’s lapel and the nice “Loyalists” taking bits of Glasgow and some of its residents apart….or is it the other way round. Cannot get over the outrage of the Better Together chappies on slights of such insignificance while ignoring the nasty aspects of supporters of their campaign. Thanks for all the comments and tweets and reads of my blog from yesterday. Appears I made teacher cry, but in a good way.

Slept like a log and came home this morning to a very welcome phone call from Rogart. There is a network of communities out there and we are already in contact and discussing the way ahead because while the Nation voted No 1.6 million voted for something different and they are not going away. Today on fb and twitter there has been an upsurge in SNP and Green memberships, 3000 and 1200 respectively. And I am pround to say I am one of them. I have for the first time in my life joined a political party, The Scottish Green Party. Also in this frame of mind, support, but not joined the 45% Group and next time in Inverness joining the Highland Credit Union based at Merkinch. Probably ditching the TV and BBC licence. The phone was on the go all morning and an interesting one to the brother-in-law. Alison said that they went to the Polling Station as a family and had their picture taken with the boys so they could show this to them when they grew up. Also an appointment has been arranged with their local MP to see what is happening to Trident. This from some one relatively non political up till now. Just another example of where Scotland is going. Another little story involved Son No3 who became politically active in Dundee outside Caird Hall. Traditionally second years take a first year on as a “son or daughter” on Freshers Week. One event of Son No3’s week was dressing his “daughter” up as Alistair Darling!!.

Wood cutting took place in the rest of the morning,


an attempt to get the grass cut failed as the strimmer was not functioning as it should and a wee delve into the hives was a sight to behold.




The wonderful bees are slowly drawing out the frames and are filling them with some beautiful honey. Did not take any off but will probably have three frames in October. Dougal has also recovered from his Yes disappointment and is back hunting rodents in our Better Together Kingdom.


Just finishing off with a few observations on Sunday morn after a manic night at the Inn. Regular group of Whitby boys coming up for twenty plus years were here along with the other half of the country. Lots of regulars arrived expecting it to be a little quieter. I think it may well be over the next week or so but the new staff that started last night must have wondered why they have landed in. Prep room was still cleaning up after eleven. Accomplished, but slightly drunk, piper played for a bit at the end of the evening including Caledonia which he had never played on the pipes before and it caught the emotion of the weekend again. Evening finished at 1.30am and with a bit of a sour turn. The remaining Yorkshire men turned the chat round to the Vote and dished Scotland as “too wee, too poor and could not survive without England” It was quite extraordinary as they were decent hard-working guys but it told me how much the media affects people’s views. There was no negotiation, they were right. Did not come up with one “fact” but just repeated assertions. It told me that it was pretty impressive that as many as 45% of our population did vote Yes. Establishment wins a battle but the movement that is born I hope will continue. Despite these little downers life is back to tired but happy, stressed but invigorated, its good.

Breakfast now and out to pick up some prawns before another shift at the Inn. But Dougal is fine.


Post Bertha and Roads.

Still unsettled on the weather front and as a result there will be no langoustines on the menu tonight. First shift for quite a while having taken my last box ashore yesterday. By the end of last night’s shift there were one main and one starter portions left. Part of this post is to do with getting photos to the Highland Council after bringing up the roads condition south of Camusterrach at the Community Council meeting on Tuesday evening.


Good way to bring the poor condition of the wall to the Roads Dept attention and other than sending in a memory stick technology is failing on my computer.




While I would not like to be in Broadford and Strath’s shoes, read in the WHFP that they had dissolved this week, usually if you are doing something then some one somewhere is objecting to it. Take the same opinion with the Company. If we do not have people saying they do not want to work with us then it usually means inertia or we are doing anodyne stuff. At the moment it is all quiet with only very few negative comments.. Getting the road fixed before the winter kicks in is a priority however. A strong North westerly and a high tide will work its way under the road and cost a lot more to repair than if it was done now.

Just one day of rain in the dingy to bail out,


head over to wash a fleet of creels at the Pier,


in fairly miserable weather


and take a box of prawns up to the Inn.

Tuesday morning saw us up at the Bay going along the shore with the chainsaw and loading a half ton of wood into the van.


A silver lining from Bertha, lots of larch and the tree that was sitting in the river for a couple of months providing a good deal of fuel for the winter.

Last night busy but not silly, seafood platters being the order of the night along with scallops, prawns, monkfish and cod. The Luxemburger was so overwhelmed with his meal he had a short nap while Lena May set up for breakfast.


Not been out all week fishing and had planned today but the Filling Station is causing headaches again along with a transformer blowing up behind the Inn. We can manually supply fuel but at the moment Gilbarco seem at a lose as to what is wrong now. Weather has definitely improved today along there is a strong north wind blowing down the Sound so The Filling Station did not really keep me ashore.

Always good to chat to Audrey about bees and pick up little snippets of information. Have little moments when I think I may be doing something wrong or do not know what is going on in the hive. Have not had too close a look recently but been comforted that all is well in the new smaller hive as both sets of flying bees are taking in lots of pollen just now. They look nice strong almost black bees and seem to be surviving well.


And tonight none other than the famous Fergie Macdonald playing accordion at the Inn on his “last” Last Highland Tour. No doubt we will see him next year.


Tag Cloud

Wee Ginger Dug

Biting the hand of Project Fear

Beyond the Horizon

Commentary and Sustainability Policy Analysis from Dr Calum Macleod

Lenathehyena's Blog

IT'S NOT ROCKET SALAD.........in the Land o' cakes and brither Scots

Scottish Communities CAN

Scottish Communities Climate Action Network

Beyond the Bloomin' Heather

A critical discussion of the history and politics behind Scotland's most beautiful landscapes

Jean Urquhart

following dissolution of parliament this site will move to jeanurquhart.com

Derek Bateman Broadcaster1

An ongoing dialogue

derek bateman broadcaster2

My first and last ever blog (probably)

Small Scales

fisheries and ocean conservation in Atlantic Canada


e-learning, networking, and the UHI


It's got a backbeat. You can't lose it. If you wanna dance with me.

derek bateman broadcaster2

My first and last ever blog (probably)

Jessica's Nature Blog


Shawndra Miller

Giving voice to the world’s remaking

Hiking Photography

Beautiful photos of hiking and other outdoor adventures.


Just another WordPress.com site

Life at the end of the road

the trials and tribulations of an accidental crofter


A Highland GP on life the universe and anything...

Auld Acquaintance

Scottish Independence