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

Posts tagged ‘Clyde’

Chat about Herring,a Migraine and some Contrasts

A couple of days of intense contrasts. Following a phone call from Dundonnel it was off to Kenny’s at Shieldaig where we met up with Sue for a chat about the herring fishing, have to say several people more knowledgable than me from Applecross to talk on the subject.. Although Kenny and I had not a lot of involvement in the actual fisheries it was great to hear some of his stories and that in itself brought back memories about my Dad and the Mary Ann, the ring net boat he was engineer on. Kenny and his brother Dickie went off on trips when they were 7/8 years old and this was for the whole week. The negotiations between his Mum and Dad would have been interesting. His Dad’s boat, the Seaflower, would head of to Stornoway with the four share owners to pick up crew for the season and they were drift netting rather than ring netting. Also these boats did the ground nets in the spring for cod which came in to spawn and feed on the herring eggs laid in great quantities in days of plenty.  Kenny had spent 10 years with the Torry Lab working on fisheries research and what he was say about the herring spawn was fascinating. They used to take sample grabs of gravel and the herring spawn would be a sticky,like frog spawn,layer on top of the gravel. Seems ,like sea-trout and salmon they needed lots of oxygenation, hence the gravel base. Off Melvich,Gairloch and Ballintrae, south end of the Clyde,were two main herring spawning beds. Sue was suggesting that the young herring stayed in the lochs for a year before heading of out and they provided good feeding for the sea-trout population which following the herring collapse has also to a large extent disappeared. Descriptions of the spotless and warm focs’le where up to seven men ate and slept reminded me of trips over to Applecross from Kyle to the communions here. We were allowed down below and it was great us young guys messing about on the way home down below free from supervision and away from the pressures of the day’s church attendance. The trust and camaraderie of these men can only be imagined and the pressures on the skippers to find the fish to pay for their crew and families must have been great. My conversations with Hector in Kyle were remembered, he was also on the Mary Ann. Some of the stories had a bit of regret as well with my Dad telling me that they should not have caught the “mazy” herring, the herring that had not spawned. And Hector landing beautiful silver darlings for fish meal and in some cases dumped when they could not sell the herring but got paid the subsidy. My saturday lunches in August in the 70s I remember well, salt herring well boiled served with Kerrs Pinks, jackets bursting open. A great way to spend two and a half hours on a wet and windy Friday morning. The only drawback was my developing headache which I can control for a certain period of time but always wins out.

Off to Sarah’s for a pre planned massage and after warning her about my delicate health I only managed about half an hour before admitting I had a full blown migraine under way. After a visit to the bathroom and another attempt from Sarah I had to admit defeat and accept the kind offer of a lie down. To cut a long story short six hours later after a period of excruciating intense pain and lots of stomach upset I now know I can drive over the Hill with one hand and hold my head in the other. It did take an hour. What I will always remember is the sympathy and care people express when you are in trouble up here. Offers to stay in Shiedaig, offers to drive me home, looking after Dougal and family, even wishing they had a magic sympathy wish to cure me. I have to say that thinking about all this on the way home it was quite overwhelming and fits in with what I think is ultimate community spirit. People do care, we may disagree but we care. The one thing I would say in favour of migraines or like pain you know what ultimate pain is and you sympathise so much more easily when you come across other people’s pain.You also experience the intense relief when you come through. Maybe that sums up the wonder of life. Loved the comment this morning that my public image took a bit of a beating “being laid horizontal in Shieldaig Thai massage parlour for six hours”. Past the Hall where there was a busy AppleX factor taking place. It sounded a great night out and seems there is lots of talent here, singing, poetry and Chris with Emily taking the prize of the night.

The day after a migraine reminds me why I do not drink any more. Today is what it used to feel like the day after a hangover and a couple of good chats today and a good walk with Dougal and family on the Forgotten” walk although there were contrasts there as well when Dougal and his Mum decided to disappear and go off hunting hopefully mice and other rodents but suspect they may have taken a fancy to some venison on the hoof. They did appear after 20 mins and seeing I am no dog whisperer it was a smack followed by a relieved pat and hug, hope they understood, means they will be tired when I am out to work tonight. Although there are still lots of local politics rumbling on with another letter from the Trust and residents making sure the ACC is in line, which I take as good in that there is interest in what we do going to take a break on this. I think most people are getting excited on the news about broadband which is seeping out locally. We have to wait for national announcements before making it official but suffice to say it is all good. Nice views of clachan from the “Forgotten Path”

The colours even this late in the year are still so vivid. In the photo below there is much community and personal history. From the left is the Clachan manse then the Heritage Centre and the Clachan church and gave yard where my gentle grandparents are lying….much gentler than me I have to say .

Trip South

Home from Edinburgh after a fairly stress free couple of days that went very smoothly but it was just as well I had very little expectations. I left about mid-day yesterday and headed for Glasgow to pickup son No3’s kit from his ex-flat on Argyll Street. The weather was beautiful going through Glen Coe, past Loch Lommond and even into Glasgow.I do live in a stunning country. I made it to the flat with only one minor detour,getting back out was the problem. You have to understand I am a country boy, no sat-nav and a borrowed uncharged mobile. About half an hour later after visiting Central Station, Queens Street, Alan Glens school and the Caledonian University I eventually found an M8 sign and made it out of the mayhem that is a Glasgow rush hour. I did feel like a ‘teuchter’ from the Highlands…I suppose I am.

Through to Linlithgow and although I was greeted by a man touting a gun it turned out it was to do with chicken protection and nothing to do with my arrival. Lots of conversations sorting the world, Scotland and Applecross problems punctuated by a Thai curry of squats and prawns meant the evening flew by. The evening concluded with a walk round the small holding and saw the last episode of The Bridge…The Scandinavians do it well. A sound sleep on the couch after a planned assault on Edinburgh the next morning.

This is the first meeting of its type I’ve been to and to be quite honest there was nothing inspiring about it. We are a difficult group to manage but I did think the quote of the day was incredible. Bear in mind that he was talking about the static gear inshore fishermen and he is deputy head of the government department that is in charge of us.”To be fair,Marine Scotland did not know about you.” I did not pick up any actions taken forward from the meeting and I found a lot of the reps there were contradicting themselves, some saying stocks were as good as they have ever been but then saying they could not afford a day of. lots of stats about how much money the inshore fleet is making, but no recognition of the favourable exchange rates that distort the outlook. We are going to get a conference that is going to “celebrate” our industry. Sorry for being so cynical but I think making a mess of our environment is nothing to celebrate. There was lots of discussion about micro-managing various disputes and local difficulties but that was not what I travelled 600 miles for.The possibility of a static gear federation was discussed but not taken forward. It did seem that the important feature of the day was to set up a process where you were able to speak to the minister in charge. I did ask for a policy or a mission statement but was told there was not the data to support my claim that stocks locally are on the brink. White fish was not even mentioned so we are celebrating the process of fishing down the food chain and now all that is left is the bottom feeders. Speaking to a rep from the Clyde, a rather unsettling area to work. There were two students who carried out work on trawler discards over a 10 month period and he claimed even after a bit of positive massaging by Seafish they worked out through sampling,weighing and sexing the fish that 31 and a quarter million fish of 67 grams in weight were discarded dead in order for them to catch their prawns. That would be regarded as criminal in any other industry. So no I am not hopeful but I will still attend because that means I can moan about it.

Another amazing drive back up the road. I find as I get closer to home I subconsciously drive quicker, just to get home earlier. Another stunning sunset and a welcome from Dougal and family. He is adorable and it is just as well. They are getting their paws walked of as boys No 3 and 4 are home just now.

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

UHeye

e-learning, networking, and the UHI

Writing

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

https://natureinfocus.blog

Shawndra Miller

Giving voice to the world’s remaking

Hiking Photography

Beautiful photos of hiking and other outdoor adventures.

isleofronalog

Just another WordPress.com site

Life at the end of the road

the trials and tribulations of an accidental crofter

milesmack

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

Auld Acquaintance

Scottish Independence