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

Posts tagged ‘gulls’

Introspection before a Farewell.

The best thing about working on your own is working on your own. So when I get up on time on Wednesday morning, just a little less concentration and energy than usual, a wee snooze on the couch before heading out at ten. No crew man to phone up five times between seven and ten when you change your mind about whether you go out or not. So made it out for ten and as my shift had been changed to the previous evening at the Inn there was no pressure on coming in. The northerly breeze did that for me but not before hauling 300 creels for a few small prawns. The weather for the last couple of days has been fantastic,

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bright blue skies and only an afternoon breeze to cope with. Fairly routine time going through the fleets of fifty creels, with only the company of gulls

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and at most two bonxies along side waiting for their feed of bait.

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As always, good to get to sea where although the work is hard the mind can be elsewhere, like four decades ago. The very day humdrum of grabbing the stopper, opening the creel, emptying it, rebating and stacking before turning the Varuna round and finding a space to reshoot the creels happens to a rythym that is so natural you do not notice it. It is only broken by an interruption, a tangle or something unusual in the creel like an electric blue wrasse,

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a change of engine note that alerts you of a problem. The radio can take you across the world or close to home. Whether it is Peruvian endangered rare animals or floaters voters, voting conservative, scared of the new wave of marauding Scots descending from the North today it mostly is of my teenage years playing football every night on Douglas Park, one of my claims to fame is that I have played football with and against Bertie, still playing at a young 62. It used to be golf with Jimmy Beaton and Andrew “Plumber”, often accused of “gardening” while playing a ball out of the bracken on the wee golf course at the back of the Plock, now sadly no longer there. My hole in one at the 3rd made it to the WHFP. Being part of the victorious Balmore team that won their only trophy, the Macleod Cup, meant a very hazy end to that evening. By this time I was getting adept at climbing in and out of my bedroom window, luckily on the ground floor. The life of sport and attending weekend dances was combined with going to series of communions in the locale stretching from Portree and Broadford in Skye to over here in Applecross, taking in Plockton and Lochcarron on the way. Although at the time disliking these attendances looking back I have little regret and they all form part of one’s make up. The right-off of a mini van on the back road to Balmacara has its balance in spending three and a half hours on a church pew on a sabbath communion morning watching two “tables” taking place, the second in gaelic. Many of these participants are no longer with us. The travelling communicants such as Lachie Mackinnon, Donald Mackay or John Mackenzie, men of huge presence, and even some of my football friends such as Ian Munro, sadly passed away too young all make me smile and appreciate the age I have lived through. Over the years it has become more and more apparent that the reasons I smile or feel uplifted are to do with people, actions to help and nothing at all to do with possessions or money. That is to say I do think I am extremely fortunate in everything we have but it is not the driving force in my life. The other night at the Inn hearing a couple from Quebec say how welcome they felt, almost like being in their own front room, is what it is about. They were chatting to Austrian, Flemish and Dutch on their neighbouring tables. That is what under lies the success of the Inn not turnover or increasing business or cutting costs. Catching ten stone of langoustine is not the buzz anymore but being able to be on the water and catch them while appreciating everything around you is far more important. Maybe this is why I hardly notice if the fishing is “good” but the weather and general well being is more important. If a table is not ready to sit at there will be one and that really is all that matters. Possibly this all relates back to the formative years of my parents and although I have not gone down the route of absolute faith but carry a certain spiritual optimism in a in a world that is full of pessimistic outcomes, the biggest being that of environmental abuses that may well come back to bite us.

So the introspection done and dusted life continues as does the broken weather. The first two days of the week were poor with strong winds from the south although making for the Registrar in Kyle meant I would not have been to sea anyway. Cutbacks mean it was not Lochcarron and made me think that there are serious consequences for the continuous cutting back of services. Not affecting me as I can jump into a car and head to Kyle, but imagine a eighty year old spouse who needed to register for an imminent funeral and it is a difficult and unnecessary problem. Called into the Yard and made arrangements for the cats head to be sorted, needs straightened and strengthened sometime next week and a visit to Dave and Maggie’s for a wee catch up. Shift change on Tuesday from Wednesday which suited as pots hauled over the two days meant a good break on Wednesday evening. A walk in some beautiful light

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with the sun dipping down on the northern half of Raasay.

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Dougal and Eildh

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loving the run out to The Ardban track. On the bike as I had walked enough across the deck all day. Sunset awesome from so many different angles

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and the low sunlight is everywhere.

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Often looking round you catch the best. So with everything in place, I hope, tomorrow I am off to Ardelve and Balmacara to bury my mum but not her’s or my dad’s memory. She is free now.

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Saint Island

Quick photo post from Son No3 who went to St Island by kayak yesterday.Passing the Street and coming up to Milton. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Lovely sunny day but before that I missed a photo out when I was talking about the lilac tree and here it is, Margaret with some of the Flensburg guys when they went down to do a little spinning at Camusterrach when they were here in February. 10148528_10152371691548530_381425657_o 10148596_10152371684308530_1085609131_o At this time of year the gulls are hatching their chicks and the date is passed when the men used to go and pick up eggs for themselves. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Eggs now being to far gone in the growing stage. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I think I remember being told that the 22nd of May was the last day that they would pick up the eggs. Gulls dive bomb any one ashore on the island to protect their eggs. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Michelle coming in in the distance. The island was supposed to be the first landing point when Maelruabh came ashore in the seventh century. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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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