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

Posts tagged ‘Fergie Macdonald’

Fergie and the Cuttlefish.

Good to be back on the water although the morning was rough enough. Put a fleet together on the way out to north of the Bay but there was still the left overs from yesterday’s northerly coming down the Sound. Only just stayed out, hauling the first two fleets was hard work. A half decent scattering of prawns helped keep me going and in due course the forecast turned out to be correct, a decrease in the strength and change in the direction meant a flat calm end to the day.


This was needed, wanting to get as many creels up as possible and still land the prawns in a reasonable time. Made it in by six and with the buckets outside and pans on the cooker the kitchen soon had them under way. Luckily the evening had not kicked off, there only being one order on the tab grab. Would have liked to have stayed out a little longer but coming in at seven or eight would have stewed up the kitchen. Weather breaking again tomorrow so that appears to be it for the week. Still lots of squats about and although the size of prawns are nothing to write home about there should be enough for the weekend. Not many boats about the Sound just now so the skuas gathered around towards the end of the day, had a half-dozen around the boat by the finish and lovely to see the diving gannet in the morning. He did not stay around. Signs of autumn in the larger numbers of berried prawns coming into the creels. Good to know there is scientific back up in knowing they survive when they are put back in. Also came across the first cuttle fish eggs of the season complete with cuttlefish.


Quite a few octopi about as well although the creels being left for the week will attract a slightly larger number. Good to come in late, tired but in quiet weather and although not that sunny, bright and clear.


A low tide and this proved awkward in the morning as the tide was with the boat while hauling against the wind. Not quite the Caribbean but there are many bright colours in the sea life of the west coast.


Struggled to rise early this morning after a night at the Inn with Fergie doing his annual trip with his button box accordion.


Busy enough early on but the weather helped with a number of people sitting outside. However, around half seven it became too cold and the waiting list for tables grew somewhat. Also making room for Fergie and his accompanying keyboard took a little doing especially as a couple of locals were eating at the big table when we were planning its move.


All ended well and Fergie struck up and played with out a break up till I left at 11.30pm. “Finbar” came out for a dance


and had just about every visitor up on the floor for a waltz.


Fergie also had the Boss in tears as he is publishing a book of a 100 tunes he has composed and one of them is called “Judy from Applecross Inn”, an honour indeed and the tears flowed…..possibly the first time this week. Fergie can still reduce a woman to tears, not bad for a man of seventy-five.

Good news to come home to with the Filling Station up and running again. I lost count of the number of people I had promised to fill up before they were leaving over the weekend. Good to see how well supported the Filling Station is by visitors who see the efforts made by the Company in providing some of the basic services needed as background to the current tourist “boom”.

Work, Nature and Fergies.

Another couple of days fishing done and although fairly uneventful you are always aware of things going on. These days I am never just steaming out to or coming in from the creels. Wednesday morning I was changing the sacrificial plates on the Hydroslave hauler and just as well as it was not flat calm.


Every so often these plates wear down and they stop gripping the rope. With the old Macleod hauler you would grind the centres so the plates would come closer and every so often it was a trip to Raasay to put them up on the lathe and that would take any distortions out when you would hand grind them. Now these plates are throw away and last about the same time. It would be interesting to compare the energy involved in maintaining the two methods.

Jelly fish have arrived in force and yesterday morning the moorings had a shoal passing through.


That is another good reason to change the hauler plates, worn plates means the rope jumps off and you get a fine spray of stinging jelly fish in the face. Every now and again you haul a fleet where the creels are  covered in brittle star fish, like most things from the sea they can be delicate looking but destructive if too many appear on the scene.


Caught a Ballan Wrasse in the afternoon and it seemed in good shape so it was quickly over the side and sure enough off he went.



There is a new fishery on the go just now which entails catching wrasse for the fish farms as a means of lice control. The lice is becoming more immune to the treatments and other solutions are being sought. Good if this works as it is as natural a method regarding salmon farming that would be possible. I know this was tried years ago and heard that the wrasse quickly discovered that the salmon feed was easier feeding than picking lice of the salmon. Do not know what has changed since then, possibly less spare feed as this is now more regulated. Certainly a better solution than increasing the strength of the treatments as they are shell inhibitors.

Squats, like prawns hold their berries on their tails but I have never worked out why a very few have a bright orange pouch. Looked around but have not found any similar images explaining the differences to the normal egg carrying animal.


Day was a lot quieter although a whistling east wind passing the window woke me up. Fishing staying very poor, if anything slightly worse. Up to the Inn, landed the prawns,saw the Fergies and the Fergie, stopped off for a while at a “Highland BBQ”,that’s one held in the rain and midges, at 6/7 before a quick shower and back up the road.


Excess to requirement as front of house covered so had the night off and did not have the energy to go back out to hear Fergie. Would have stayed out if I had been working but not to be. Memories of seeing The Fergie Macdonald Band in the 70s in Kyle Village Hall. Images of Clem Mackenzie in his 70s white flares on the guitar singing “Country Roads, come to mind. Had to climb out the bedroom window to get to that dance. Dot was telling me he used to come over to Glenelg to see her grandfather as he was a physiotherapist back then, but most of the time was taken up with talking about music and little physiotherapy done. Poor forecast although quiet just now means a creel wash and mend day with a massage thrown in for good measure.

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