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

Posts tagged ‘Broch’

Lois Mor and John “Balure”.

Although we are now into the next week, rain is torrential, which means the hydro power chart is on a vertical climb from the falling down to 40 kWhs over the last wee dry spell, the resonance of Lismore is still strong. Again a powerful meditation starts off day 2 before a walk up to one of the high points of the island with views across to Glensanda on Morvern.

An obvious lead in to the Lingerbay Quarry proposal and Alistair Macintosh, Isle of Eigg and Soil And Soul. Then before you know it we are back at the present day’s living, crafting and building. Yorick is putting together another window frame while Sarah is dehorning a ewe and treating another of her Shetland sheep, graphic descriptions of maggot eruptions. We had approached the house from a different angle and saw the astonishing stone work,

the skill and pride of a craftsman in full view. Who said crofting is romantic, hard graft but fulfilling. And then it was onto a visit to the Broch,

with Mairi intending to pay her respects at Balure. On the way we stopped to sample a rest on St Moluag’s Chair, a rock hewn out by the Saint himself. The Broch is set on a high point commanding the western approaches and is said to have been built around 2000 years ago and was continually occupied up till the 12th century before the MacDougalls built their own castle. Photos taken, chat and reminisces over

we headed down to call in to Balure to pick up Mairi.

We were immediately invited into the house by John’s son Ian, where we were offered a dram of Balvennie Doublewood and a cup of tea. Again a strong connection was felt and we toasted the passing of John “Balure” and Mairi added a story of her wedding to Dave which involved John. They had organised a Grand March for their evening part of the wedding and as usual the bride and grooms families were at the head but Mairi’s folks were late so John and Dorothy of Balure took their place with John leaning into Mairi telling her to “Ca canny lass, ca canny” before leading off with her to the tune Mairi’s Wedding. We keep these people with us by telling and retelling their stories. I felt it was a privilege to be asked in and invited to honour this well-loved man of their community and hope we did him justice.

Maybe it was through meditating with old friends and visiting the brooch and hearing tales of times ancient and not long past but you felt at one with the island and its community with its thread, unbroken and strong through timeless ages. The chat continued as we walked through time

and emerged at the Heritage Centre, for Mairi to meet up with her co organisers for the Tap Roots Festival, and for us to wander up the road back to Carnie Cottage. All these walks have a micro aspect to them as well seeing the late autumn flowers

and the small gardens on top of fence posts

make the walks longer. Lois Mor is the great garden so it is fitting here is Lois Beag

I wanted to go down to Salen as the island’s sole fishing boat was anchored there

and so leaving Martin to concoct his plate of potatoes and seafood chowder I was back on the bike to cycle down to the sea’s edge and take in the late evening’s sun sinking down behind the Morvern peninsula.

A truly beautiful evening and some very interesting sights to see

which on further investigation turned out to be lime stone kilns.

Yet another connection to the homeland, there are lime stone kilns in Applecross, like Lismore the lands are controlled by absentees, we both have Irish saints and going by some of the tales of Lismore we both scrap well amongst ourselves.

After yet another fine tea, the cooking has been the finest from Applecross seafood, Mairi’s Dalh and Ian’s seafood pasta, we set up for a bunting ritual trying to rid ourselves and places of negativity in all forms. Mairi then sang her song which stopped our concept of time for its content and beauty. Fire is a useful tool for more than giving warmth and so ended a long and fulfilled day, heading for the stairs exhausted but content in the knowledge of a strong sense of belonging.

Applecross Games and Facebook GP campaign.

A windy day on Friday so that meant I was quite fresh for work at the Inn and it was needed. Although it was not quite as busy as thursday evening it was not quiet! Tonight’s little hiccup was the fryers went on a little go-slow as there were many fish and chips and fryer related orders going in mainly because guys were concentrating a little more on the liquid scene. Not being a drinker now it is amusing watching and dealing with fairly inebriated customers. When I stopped about 10 years ago I found it quite difficult as often the social scene does revolve around a few drinks but the knack is doing something other than sitting, watching people get drunk…ie working or organising. A very noisy bar with the main struggle serving the food around the good-humoured but boisterous audience. Bit scary at 8 o’clock when we were trying to seat a group of 20 but as usual it happened and with Jill and I were on the floor not 100% sure how. The result is always enthusiastic praise which is very rewarding. feel sorry for the grumpies who were in the other night but the follow-up to that was a couple got overcharged as I was bothered by them but happy ending the couple came back and I immediately recognised them and they got their refund before tucking into yet more wonderful food..

300 creels hauled on Saturday morning and a reasonable catch landed before going up to the Games. Another thought about the Fishing meeting on Thursday. We were regaled yet again about the detrimental damage that banning trawling can do to fishing grounds. Seems that the seabed in Broadbay of Lewis is full of starfish and empty scallop and razor fish shells and we “have the evidence to prove it” I suspect if this is the case there also is an argument to say that because there is trawling outside the bay is upsetting the ecosystem of the bay. Only supposition and we need the science to help us.I know there is video evidence of the BUTEC range where the seabed is in fantastic condition and there has been no trawling there since the mid 70s. Hopefully I will be able to change my opinion if confronted with data that did not support my beliefs.

Anyway off to the Games on the Campsite and passing the Filling station I saw a busy place. Applecross would be in a spot of bother if we did not have one, there is no doubt about that. I suppose most people would have to convert to diesel but the tourist trade would be badly hit, bikers especially.

The next photo is where the Games take place and is taken from the Broch site. One of the Broch entrances is showing on the bottom left of the picture and I can’t help thinking about the wee chaps who were here 1000 and more years ago and what they got up to. Timeless Applecross.

It is a busy little Games with a lot of effort going into organising and running it and raises a considerable sum for the community over the day, pipes,heavy events, and an opportunity for the Community Company to spread the word on our campaign to attract a new Doc to the practice.

Even the pipe major needs a moment of quiet contemplation.

I wonder if he could lift 300 creels in a morning.

By the time I arrived at the stall set up by Alison our Chair was in full flow explaining the importance of a GP to Applecross. It is nothing short of essential and Alison and Elodie have set a Facebook campaign in motion to make sure the information is out there and no stone unturned.Seems I am the administrator. I think it is an example of a new determination about the place that we are trying to halt the decline here. The membership of the Company grew by a possible five during the day which was a nice little sideline.

Back down to the Inn for another busy but not too frantic session. Found the bunch of local guys who came over amusing and 30 years ago I would have been there. Spotted quite a few by recognising their dads who were in school with me and it was reciprocated. This is one thing I like about living here, the eighty year old talks to and knows the eight year old. A five hundred pound kitty was shifted in two hours by the boys before Judith moved in to quieten things down. All was peaceful and they went off to dance to Rhythm and Reel in the evening. Saw them again next morning, subdued and eating lots of steaks and chicken for brunch. They are good lads and chatting to them you find out what they are up to and all are either studying or working. A busy shift but good despite the techy start to the morning involving bacon rolls. Mediating fails but all ends well before the shift started in earnest. There are lots of regulars who appear for the Games as well as numerous characters but once again its all over for another year.

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