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

Posts tagged ‘CLS’

Applecross in the Media.

Have to start with a wee apology to the Carloway Estate Trust for mistaking them for being the North Harris Trust in regards the donation to the raffle on Friday evening of the CLS conference. Excuse being that I was still recovering from winning the three-day fishing on the Machair lochs of South Uist and did not hear that Carloway had donated the tweed.

Stayed ashore for the last three days, every one stayed ashore today and is a reflection on the fishing. Days ashore do not usual mean one does nothing but the pace is slower and can change momentum from time to time. When you are hauling creels if you achieve a continuity of motion it is less tiring. If you keep switching the hauler on and off it becomes a bit staccato. Being back at the hauler as the next creel comes up smooths the whole operation. It is nice to have days ashore when you go round the coast for bait, salt it, and tie it in with putting a new mooring down for the dingy. Stopped off on the way home to go over to the rocks at Culduie. Felt a bit guilty as they all came off the rocks when I got too close and they kept having a look to see if I was still there.

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I had also stopped in to have a chat with Lesley about this and that, mainly that and missed opportunities.

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Partly because I want to get the bike and trailer going as a routine I decided to bring the dingy over to the roadside at Camusterrach. Bit more exposed but when the west and north-west winds come I will tuck it over to the Ardhu side again. This will mean I have two miles less to go on the bike and just nip across with the wee two-horse outboard, using some but not a lot of fuel. So with bits and pieces gathered together the weights/anchors and endless line in place. Needs a couple of finishing touches and we are under way again.

So back home in time to get ready for an earlier start to a shift at the Inn due to the sisters going to yet another wedding at the Walled Garden. A good night, good customers and good food makes for an easy shift, although late and waiting for the discussion about fencing to finish added another half hour to the day, but no matter. Interesting conversation I overheard earlier in the evening about spraying for rush control. The complaint was that there were trees being planted and were in the way of the sprayer. Got me thinking that planting trees there may mean that rushes will not need to be sprayed any more as the trees will improve the ground making it less acidic and thus not a good environment for the rushes. Thinking about it I cannot think where there are rushes and trees together. Trees do get a bad press sometimes but provide a multitude of wildlife cover, improve the ground and provide lots of heat energy at the end of their lives. Before the sunset was worth a look.

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Yesterday was one of those recovery days where you try to do nothing and feel good about it.Part of not doing anything during the day included a walk up the back of Camusterrach with Dougal and Co.

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Does not matter what the weather is doing the views are always busy.

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Again this year the wild flowers seem to be having a good year. Nice to see the road verges are looking busy.

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Did the first but unfortunately the second part did not kick in, that is did not do much but felt bad about it.. The evening, being Thursday, meant being back at the Inn. A nippy little night, with a slow start, ensued, and a regular visitor in the shape of Johnny Hill finished the night off with a sing-song. One of the highlights was the seafood platter enjoyed by Gino’s Canadian mates. And they even managed one of Dot’s sticky toffee puddings. They could not move for an hour afterwards but seemed contented.

Today again no fishing but brood box frames made up and a bit of wood shifted. Bit dreich for most of the day and a visit to the shop and a few visits to fb and twitter confirmed Applecross was on both the media and social media. Jackie O’Brien’s take on the energy efforts of Applecross Community Company through AEE. Only a quick glimpse of it as do not like hearing or seeing myself. Should remember that when I speak to others. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-27816193  also in the WHFP this week we get three mentions, all positive. The Boatpull Team also were prominent having presented £24,000 to charities from last year and have pulled the boat round Islay this year. They hope to clear the £200,000 total this year from when they started. Impressive fund-raising by anyones standards. Donations to applecrossboatpull.org.uk. Also Roger Hutchinson reviews a book by Ian Maclennan, Applecross and it’s Hinterland. All profits to the Applecross Historical Society. And then there were a couple of Applecross people at the CLS conference but maybe skip over that just now. Evening up at the Bay is peaceful and green

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with the deer laid back as well.

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Fishing,Tweed,The Merc,LVT and Home.

Getting back from my little trip the meal had finished but managed a quick coffee and a choccy and settled in to the raffle draw. Turned out to be a little extra ordinary as blue 121 came up and I won three days fishing on the Uist lochs courtesy of Storais Uist. Not usually involved with raffle prizes other than donating them I was a little shocked to have blue 122 come up four numbers later. This time it was the second top prize of a bolt of tweed. When I say second top prize I mean they are of equal status, amazing and I can only thank Storas Uibhist and North Harris Trust for their stunning prizes.

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Still enjoying the frisson of the Black Cullin sunset and the day’s chat and, after seeing to the dogs,

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I crossed over to the ceilidh. Usually where meeting up with the guys takes place. With this group of people it happens throughout the day as well so this was only an extension. Had some good craic with Davie, Andy and Calum with lots of invaluable advice and information heard and hopefully stored away. Late for me although I have had a bit of practice at the Inn lately, but slept lightly. Dogs, late returnees and lots of thoughts made for broken sleep. Up with Dougal at 5.15am, walked, and put in the car for me to doze till 7.30. So all packed up and taking the car down to the College for the benefit of the dogs I swung into the parking place to tuck in beside the minibus. The Merc was there in the next bay and it seemed like a slow motion incident that I knew was going to happen but could not stop. Clipped the bumper, felt sick and went to breakfast. Found David and told him about his car. He took it remarkably well, finished his breakfast and then made his way out to see the damage. By the time he came back I had all my details ready for him and whatever he wanted to do, fair enough. I reckon it could have been a new bumper but we ended up agreeing on £30 to the apprentice and a closing comment “There are far bigger things in the world to worry about”. All I can say is he is a fine man.

Back to the Conference and listening to Paul Wheelhouse address in the morning got us back into the mood and good to hear the political support and the commitment that the Land Fund is to be extended to 2020. The commitment to one million acres in Community ownership still stands and 40,000 acres have been added in the last year. It is also good to get our problems out there and Alison asked a very specific question about how difficult it is for Community Companies to combat Govt decisions on di minimus. Why can it not be project specific and not relate to an organisation’s activities when connected to Community benefit. My emails have made no impact but maybe it is a long haul. There does appear to be an acknowledgement of the problem and CLS are on the case. Then our passenger, Megan, who works for the charity Gobal Witness, spoke and it was fascinating hearing what is going on around the world, depressing as well. But the comparisons are similar. Our land grabs took place over 200/300 years ago and are taking centuries to correct. Trying to stop corporations and governments across the world doing the same simply to grab limited resources is an unending task. Off to our break out session and to hear and discuss in detail the fiscal history of land, property and business taxation. Not only that but to talk about possible solutions within the current structures and markets. No one is advocating what the Daily Mail calls “land grabs” however frustrated people feel about how the concentration of land has ended up. Have to admit that I felt a bit dazed after an hour and a half  of talk about recurrent taxation, capital and transfer tax, land tax, rates, council tax, NDR, LVT and offshore charities. One wee bit of information and graph I found interesting was the impact of tax on land, property and business. Business rates have meant that the increase in value of these properties have only risen incrementally while untaxed land and property taxed with the regressive council tax has risen out of sight and lost all correlation with incomes and land use. Land speculation has now become normal and is a problem as farmers, ordinary ones that is, are being priced out of what would be reasonable value to raise a crop.  I hope some of it stuck. A few mentions of wood and what is happening now with markets gave a clearer insight  on current trends. Another chat over lunch and then home. An interesting comment that stuck “Those in power do not really understand what power is”.  Really taken with the quiet dedication of people such as David Cameron, the real one as he is known, Peter Peacock and many others, the warmth of the welcomes and the “see you agains”.

The Jim Hunter quote ” Communities have a right ( irrespective of whether or not they excercise it) to control, benefit from and (ultimately) own land and other resources in their own vicinity.” will stick with me. My own thoughts but more succinctly put.

All these events are followed by a big dose of reality and mine was back at the Inn by four and from then on till after ten it was organised mayhem. Passed tent city at New Kelso, a secretly revealed event by Lowe Alpine that involves running up and down several mountains.

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Only running I do now is between tables at the Inn. Groups of bikers, families and birthday celebrants along with many ordinary punters and a full hotel of residents meant the shift flew by and not too much meaningful contact was made. Time certainly flew by. Rain had arrived

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and it was a conventional bike ride home in the wet. Hard work, and a deep sleep to follow.

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Always good to get back to the familiar sights of home.

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