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

Posts tagged ‘crofts’

Who Mentioned Spring?

It is very windy and the only item on today’s agenda was off down to Toscaig to measure the fiefdom/croft for a Species Rich Grasslands ploughing and planting in May hopefully. Went down with Robert and he left happy with the prospect of enough off cuts for the rest of his raised beds. Dougal loved Toscaig, maybe a little too much, as he tried to say hello to the Soay sheep and ended up taking his first shower…was not impressed.

Soil engineer and Duncan on the other part part of the croft and  if all goes well there will be three new houses going up in the next couple of years. Lots of life in the Old Place yet. Wind direction still with just enough westerly in it to take the edge of it coming into the moorings. Not good seeing your £60/70,000 bobbing up and down on the end of a bit of rope and a shackle. The wind is forecast to swing round to the NW and that is our bad one especially at high water.IMG_1355



Not a patch on the wave sizes further north and west but big enough for me. Nice to see glimpses of the sun in between the showers. Yesterday the Hill was blocked for a time and although the weather was poor and mid winter there were still 25 customers in for food and drink at the Inn before 2pm. There is always a debate at this time of year about businesses shut down, I suppose that is one of the markers for the Inn ……everyone knows it is open all year round. Difficult for small places to offer a service when more often than not you make a loss for 2/3 months in the year but once a reputation is established it is surprising the “off season” trade that comes along.

Flags,landscape, students and another sunset.

Beautiful day yesterday and saturday come to think of it. There is a change in the weather this week but it is still bearable. The sunday lunch shift was full on and every flag was in use. We use the flags as table markers for the prep staff to take the food to. The inn is starting to get flags in the post from visitors who have noticed that their flags are not represented in Applecross. A sign of a smaller world. Seventy years ago a traveller from the other end of Europe visiting Applecross would have been treated as an event, now we get 50 visitors from different countries in a day.

Had to take a break and nip outside with Dougal to enjoy the sun dipping behind the north end Raasay and Skye. You just cannot get used to these light shows. I have been here for 30 years now and they are still awesome to me.

Another student has arrived to have a look at what is happening in Applecross and use it as part of her post grad thesis. It does seem since the Community Company has been formed there is a perception that something is happening here and we are trying to do something on a community level. In the past when almost every house was lived in and most of the crofters were working their crofts there was a natural sense of community, necessary in most cases. Amy is looking at the landscape and how we live within it and value it probably more from a cultural view-point. After walking up to Tor Mor with Alison she stopped off for a cup of tea and a chat. Planning a day on the boat next week when the good weather returns for a different view on things. As always we had a good natter about lots of stuff. I always wonder why we cannot marry technology with a good quality of life growing your own food, having time to appreciate what is around you. We still seem to live in a world of ever-increasing speed and acquisition. Food and the cost of quality food always comes up in these type of rambles. Always cutting the costs of production for profit inevitably means that the quality of what you eat is affected. Buy cheap trawled prawns to find out what I mean.On the way up the road on friday there was another example of the strange way we live now. I had a photo of my neighbour carrying out bracken control on his own croft by cutting hay and also encouraging a wild flower meadow, all on a very small-scale. This is how we control bracken now… by helicopter spraying a herbicide.

Do not have a strong opinion on the rights and wrongs of the actual chemical sprayed but think it is a misuse of valuable energy and the old way did work. It is only since the decline of working crofts that bracken has mushroomed here and surely the way ahead is to resurrect some of the old practices that worked. I was asked on thursday why I wanted to have bees and I could only say that it was something to redress the balance of decline I have seen in the last 30 years and as I have not worked my croft properly over that time feel a sense of contributing to the decline. I do not think the use of helicopters has any place in shaping our landscape.

Chill out and a weaving of willow.

Chilled out day involving taking Dougal and Co out, watching the north wind grow throughout the morning and entertain two lots of visitors in the afternoon. Was relaxed enough to head out to the garden and weave some of the willow into a living arch


Then it was another shift at the Inn. It was a day of very thought provoking conversations about how Applecross will survive into the future. Although there are worrying signs you have to stay positive and believe the work of the Community Company will turn round population and school role decline. I find it a little depressing that on a 65,000 acre estate and with 90% of the crofts not worked that young people cannot seem to find a corner to establish a family. Something is wrong somewhere. Social enterprising for the next two days on Skye. Looking forward to a little change which is as good as a break they say.

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