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

Posts tagged ‘cormorants’

Cheeky Cormorant.

In amongst the tooing and froing of being on the water and at the Inn over the last week, I had a wee companion with me for a couple of days.

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Would say he was a little forward even a bit cheeky in demanding his fish.

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Cormorants haven’t a loud call, more a croak but quite an insistent one when he puts his mind to it.

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He managed two days of feeding alongside the Varuna, getting his fill of pout,

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grabbing the fish,

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diving down to swallow it out of reach of the gulls. On the way in on Friday he reckoned he did not have enough and followed me

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in for most of the way across the Sound.

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He was not as agile as the gulls as he could not swoop down on the fish so lost out on those ones.

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They are good at grabbing the fish straight from the creels as they come up on the lines, diving down before they broach the surface.

My Best Side?

Which is my best side,

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this one

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or that one?

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Women’s Senior Curling World Championship.

A quick ten minutes at elevenish before the hordes descend. May be completely wrong but the prepping is going full steam ahead in the back, chopping mixing and making in readiness for the day ahead. The number of people already wandering about and phone calls suggest it will be full on. Bad news from Lochcarron though, The Strathcarron and Lochcarron hotels along with the Golf Club have all been broken into, sad,sad world.

Yesterday was one of those days in paradise, warm and sunny with not a breath of wind, a sole porpoise heading north in the morning, and then the usual gulls,

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who are you looking at,

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bonxies

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and cormorants for the rest of the day.

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Only one fleet to rejoin and another down by the Range to sort out for next week. Always good to finish to the north so cutting across the Bay looking east to the street means you are almost home.

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On these days you do not sit down so it was land the catch at the Inn, back home and out with the dogs, in with the washing, something to eat and away up the road to meet the hordes. As it is so busy, these days are for getting through but you always hope to make contact with some one and last night it was a lovely couple from Nova Scotia, who it turns out come from a small town 3/4 of an hour travel from Halifax,and they  are the world senior women’s world champions at curling. Not only that they are defending their title in Dumfries this week. http://wmdcc2014.curlingevents.com/dumfries-scotland-to-stage-2014-world-mixed-doubles-and-world-senior-curling-championships. Not knowing this I went into the kitchen and conveyed this to Cheffie who expressed his ignorance to the information and went back to the couple and had good craic with them for the rest of a busy evening, playing on the fact that no one knows this world championships are taking place in Scotland. Applecross was highly recommended to them and I think they left feeling welcomed, I certainly enjoyed their company. Just caught a sight out west after the sun had gone down.

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Back home now and the feeling of dread was unsubstantiated and the extra length of shift did not turn out to be necessary. Tried a bit of relaxation before the ten o’clock shift by walking down to Craig Darroch with Dougal and Co, also as they were going to be on their own for  a large part of the day. Seemed to work as everything was so still clear.

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There was a spell for about half an hour when the kitchen ran out of plates around oneish and we had a bit of a wait for the food to appear, one agitated customer, but every one else was on their hols and made the most of the wait just relaxing in the beautiful peace and quiet and the wonderful bright sunshine. Brenda was over for her 80th birthday celebration and her extended family from England, Germany and Scotland turned up to help her enjoy the day. Enjoyed the company of a couple of Philadelphians in the early afternoon before heading home on the bike to let the dogs out for a break and feed. Through out the last two days been plagued by a, at times severe, headache but have finally shaken it off. That and meeting Lorna from our SEA course of a couple of years ago and a wonderful sunset meant I made it home on a bit of a high. The expected numbers did not materialise so managed to chat to a couple, one a Bobby, who tried his first oysters, and then Lorna and her mates. Sometimes you connect with some people for no apparent reason and an hour of good chat just flashes by. We had a good reminisce about the guys on the course, and what is happening in Applecross on a community level. She is heading off with her partner on travels in a camper van, no definite plans, but looking for the sun. They do have to be careful as they are a couple of redheads. It is all about people, it is that simple, meeting them, sharing a bit of your life experiences with some like-minded people and hearing a bit about theirs and we then go our separate ways. Leaving at the back of eight I took about forty-five minutes to get home as I kept stopping for a look at the sinking sun, at Milton,

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the Camusterrach fank

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and finally seeing it’s glow after reaching home.

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Cormorants make good Mates.

A reflective day on the water both physically and mentally. Between meetings and trips and conversations it has been an intriguing couple of days. It has just got a little surreal here at the Inn. Twenty one French guys all singing God Save The Queen in French, followed by Flower of Scotland. Seven main langoustine and five Seafood linguines, they can sing anything they want. Settled down after a wee Waltzing Matilda and a Haka. I do like the French, they have style without trying. Yesterday could have been better on the health front but did not miss too much with a southerly breeze and fit enough for a really quiet shift last night at the Inn. All the girls are away on a two-day staff jaunt taking Ullapool apart. After the shift had a nice chat with Wulf and Bernt about this and that. Bernt has lived in Denmark for a number of years and what he was saying about their national grid was interesting. They have not sold their silver off and have a genuine national grid. Before they went down the renewables road their grid was north/south but they have gone ahead and invested in new lines that run east/west taking the renewable power from the west coast windy areas to the more populated east. We have not worked that out yet, maybe it is because our grid is in private hands and the primary objective is shareholder/pension returns rather than producing and carrying renewable power to population centres from the energy rich areas. I fired in a question that sort of threw the conversation and it was along the lines of is it all too late. The mindset is so different over there that they do not ask the question but are so involved in working on the macro solutions to solve the problem. I sometimes do wonder if we have already gone too far down the road of abuse of our environment and resources, but am still going to install green energy solutions to the old house

As it is now Friday evening and there is a busy day planned tomorrow I better get this one finished having cheated a little with a couple of photos for the last post. Means this one is sort of written around the last one. The day was so still and peaceful from the first.

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Do not think I registered anything on the radio but was so involved in the day’s fishing. Reasonable catch but was taken more with the scenery and the cormorants and shags.

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I think at one stage I was lying flat-out on the deck, tempting them in with pout and trying to take photos from the open stern.

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It is just as well I work on my own. They are not so concerned with the weather and look as though they are saying get on with it where is my next pout, joined by his mate.

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I exchanged emails with another fisherman today who told me that they had dolphins around them and they ended up feeding them their bait, bit silly as it cut the fishing short, but for me that is the mark of a true fisherman, at one with the sea and the animals who live in the oceans. Passed the Michelle enjoying the day,

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shot the last fleet off

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and could not help looking back to the peaceful scene one last time as I headed for home, maybe the gull is homeward bound too. Grey is a fine colour.

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Took my time going round the 350 creels so it was a bit of a rush to get to the Inn and when I did, after the photos on the last post, it felt a little like a Friday evening with a few of the workers in for their weekend libation. Only two rooms booked and a couple down from Shieldaig and they were all sorted before the French invasion at eight. Twenty one meals all at the same time was no problem for the kitchen especially as they were mostly seafood dishes. They went down well and off home by ten thirty. had a really nice chat with a blog reader from East Yorkshire about life in general and Applecross in particular. touching on the spiritual nature of some places. We sometimes lose a little of this as we rush about trying to do stuff, important though that is. It has been a while since I have had a chat that made the back tingle a bit, always enjoy these dips into the unknown.

Today was Inverness and enough said when you come back knackered, so tired that I fell asleep during my Thai massage, despite the pain. Prawns delivered, gloves, seeds, food, paint, bank, tax disc, dog food all bought,  haircut, us west coasters do not mess about in the East. Back to the boys on the water,

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beats a day in Inverness.

Snap Happy.

Out today, the first time for don’t know how long, and for the most part very enjoyable. Flat calm

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leaving the moorings and it needed to be as a couple of the fleets had fouled ends.

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Not many creels involved but well twisted and in many cases had to cut the stoppers off, the rope that ties the creels to the main line. To be quite honest it was almost exciting to get out and the camera was clicking at anything that moved

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and views that did not.

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Some terns wheeling about,

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maybe quite late in the year for around here, not sure what kind, maybe young Roseate,

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and the occasional shag turned up for a bit of pout.

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The shags and cormorants always seems so cross, “I’m coming for fish whether you like it or not”.

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A few squid eggs on the ropes,

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When the gear has been left for a while the squid lays on the inactive creels and ropes. The usual gulls

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and the odd boat travelling south

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but very few langoustine in the pots. Bit of rationing at the Inn. Try it again tomorrow although forecast a bit iffy. Going to resist telling visitors it is not a super market and sometimes you “can’t get what you want”. Managed to stay out till the sun dipped behind just south of Dun Can

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and not before catching the ingredients for the New Year’s Day fish pie.

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Amazing how cold it gets when the dusk sets in.

Yesterday was the first day of the New Year week and it was a little busier keeping me away from the Ipad. The holiday houses have filled up and there are more people staying around the area…..coming for the Scottish Hogmanay. Or if you are my age, just another weekend. A lovely bright morning

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with the odd rainbow showing over the north end of Rasaay

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and one of the highlights of the afternoon was a visiting shar pei,

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Maisey, I think, originally bred as palace guard dogs or as a fighting breed from the Guangdong region of China. Not Maisey you understand.

Heart.

Quiet, calm, stunning day yesterday….just me and nature all day long.

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Often think how many different worlds go on at the same time here in Applecross. I am out on my own on the Sound while Applecross is hosting another event, Gerry’s Duathlon, around 150 participants taking part and breaking most of the records. The still and cool weather conditions helped and the Inn and Walled Garden were full to the gunnels with tired but happy athletes of all sizes and ages, the oldest being 76. I tried it once a few years ago with not one day of training and made it to Sand in horizontal southwest rain on a mountain bike before thinking “what’s the point?” and phoned for the car. Mind you think hauling 1000 pots in the last two days shows a fitness of sorts, I’m resting my case.

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Have to say Mel, one of yesterday’s contestants, after doing the duathlon here drove back to Perth and did a 63k bike ride in today’s weather. I am sticking to hauling pots. It also has lots of other benefits in that I see amazing light,cloud formation,fish,birds, a group of cormorants in numbers on the water I have never seen before,

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and seals.

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Catch a few prawns and I get paid for all this. As well as the weather, definite signs of autumn as the first cuttle fish berries show up on the creels

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and the crab are certainly on the move. This one did not end up as crab salad.

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There is a new wrasse fishery started up for the salmon farms and saw one of the larger ones to come into the creels during the day.

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Finished the day with keeping a 100 creels on board for washing as the forecast, even after the current one is for pretty fresh breezes for most of the week and knowing me bookwork cannot be done all this time. Have to have a reason to go out.

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As expected last nights very busy shift was followed by a slower lunch. Having said that, all the tables were used at least once. 9pm came round and there were three fours and a three waiting for tables. Not much time to chat but there were a couple of conversations and a video that caught the current mood. Last night had a pleasant chat with a couple,she from the Borders and he from Buckie. Loved the place and the food and she just mildly disappointed about the lack of sloe gin. She had lots of pino rose so not too disappointed. They mentioned that the prices at the Inn were far too low for what they had and without thinking too much I said that as far as I knew the Boss was quite content with her current wealth and putting the prices up would just mean that she would make more money and what would be the point. Good response…a nod and a smile. Watched a series of short clips which mixed the mystical/spiritual and science about the heart and talked about how if you are able control your emotions and be positive you improve your health. The heart being the first organ that is formed in a baby and actually sends out more signals and information than the brain. This coupled with our times of strife that seems to deny our connection with nature and our complete oneness with each other it was off to work. Watching the weather coming across the Bay and hitting the shore took up most of the first hour.

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It was not long into the shift when I found myself in a conversation with a Shetlander and it was strangely vivid partly through his language. He came to the bar to pay and I asked was it Shetland or Orkney and before we knew it we were chatting away about the fishing pre trawling. Although I followed everything I told him towards the end of the chat that there were about twenty odd words I did not have a clue what they were. Olick is a young ling, meid is a landmark lined up for fishing, buckle is a tangle as in fishing line and far haaf is open sea. These were the only ones I remembered and had to check up on olick with my Shetland /Beauly contact He explained he spoke slowly for my benefit and then gave me todays compliment by telling me I was a happy man and that he enjoyed our time together……that for me is priceless and must have been my reaction to what I had seen earlier. Nothing what I do involves price. Had to stop half way through this to nip out with Dougal and Co to see the late sun.

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What ever the stresses and strains of living here I have said many times before life is good in Applecross. And Dougal certainly agrees.

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