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

Posts tagged ‘cuttle fish eggs’

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.

Waterskiing cow and hay making.

450 creels hauled and a shift at the Inn meant tired bones this evening but it went well both on board the Varuna and the Inn despite managing to shoot a fleet of creels over another one of my own. After 30 years you would think I would learn. Fishing is still easing back and most of the prawns are going to the Inn. There are very few large ones being caught and on the shallower ground there are increasing numbers of berried prawns. Today was the first day for a while when they were waiting for me to come in with the catch, both prawns and squats sold out. Having a really busy day is ok as I had a fairly easy day yesterday and tomorrow is over the Hill to see my Mum and get the bees under way. The plan is to take the hive over and for Audrey to split one of her hives and set up my hive where they should settle in and I go back for them next week.Yesterday I headed off to Shieldaig to have another Thai massage and drop prawns off at Ardeslaig for the Spanish market. It’s good to chat to Sarah to catch up on the Sheildaig news. Their Fete seemed to go well last weekend and there were plenty people around. These ‘village games/fetes’ are important as they raise a fair bit of money for the communities to be spent over the year. One does wonder how the Spanish market will hold up as the economic news from Spain is bad and getting worse. On the way back I called in at Muirnie’s stained glass studio and spent a pleasant hour in the sun with a cup of tea and a brownie. Kaley came along and had a good natter. Talking about this and that and the Kenmore cow story came up. Seems Stuart had one of his cows go missing and over the next few days went over the ground and eventually found her down on the shore at Kenmore. Unfortunately she had fallen down a narrow gorge and landed close to the shore with a broken neck. The next problem was how to get her out and back to Kenmore where she could get disposed of safely. This was where the local salmon farmers came to the rescue with one of their boats. Coming into the shore they tied a rope round the unfortunate cow, which was now bloated with gas, to pull her across the bay. Off they went but Daisy was stuck, so the revs were increased and more until suddenly she shot out the gorge and boat and waterskiing Daisy were seen racing across Kenmore bay. I would have loved to have seen the expressions on the two slightly well to do holiday makers who were having their lunch in Derek’s holiday cottage as they looked across the bay and saw this apparition come racing over the water.

Before I went over to Shieldaig I saw my neighbour, Sandy, was cutting his hay with his scythe and drying it on a fence on his croft. This method of drying hay is derived from Norse times and is seldom seen in Scotland now. Again we have this conundrum of what Sandy is doing is really good environmentally in that what he is cutting is rich meadow grass and the way he cuts and dries it , according to the naturalist Fraser Darling is the best way to keep most of the nutrients in the hay. The downside is in todays terms it is not economic, maybe todays terms are wrong.

The first signs of autumn are appearing with the cuttle fish laying her eggs on some of the creels. this creel is coming ashore for a wash next week and as well as the eggs you can see a young queen scallop off to the right attached to the mesh.

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