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

Posts tagged ‘HIE’

Kishorn Cradle.

Any one who thinks being a director on a community company is for status think again. Another meeting tonight to discuss tenders and for me a really difficult decision with many implications. I for one am not taking what we are doing lightly and as we are encountering problems every step of the way it is a tribute to the Board and our LDO that we have not thrown in the towel. I know we are in a privileged position living where we do and doing what we do but we are trying to keep our community sustainable. There is a certain amount of risk in doing this but we are learning and getting used to this as we progress projects. This is going to be our biggest challenge and may cause a few sleepless nights at the Schoolhouse and other abodes. The effort so far has been huge and we have had lots of support from many people at HIE, CES and now LES to get this far and that is despite de minimus problems, financial and time constraints. Luckily the season has not kicked off properly so the Board meeting five times already this year has not impinged too much on personal work levels, going to be difficult during the summer. Can see Netflix not getting much of a look in soon.

Really enjoyed my shift at the Inn on Thursday evening, a lot easier with Joe behind the bar and fewer, but noisier customers. The hen party had a wee introductory session this evening up on table D while the Sheffield troops were on the Big Table. Not a lot in-between but some conversations were special and connections made chatting about health care and Israel. You can talk about anything at the Inn with people you are comfortable with. Time flies by and before you know it another meeting starts. So early home after the Board meeting and a bit of Netflix before out like a light on the couch.

Friday morning saw us running to stay still. Although do not do time very well the tide waits for no man. Landed some fine prawns for the weekend, watched some eiders on the Bay


and then straight back down the road to throw some stuff on to the pier and steam South to the Kishorn Yard. Passing Ardban,






a little cloudy but started to brighten up as I steamed up loch Kishorn.


Met the Bella Jane who came off the cradle and was heading back over to her home port of Elgol.


Was on time to catch the tide,


ease into the cradle and tie up.


Boys came out to put the strops under her and ashore for a coffee.


Then back out to some badly needed cleaning.


Managed to hang in for a couple of hours before walking up the Hill for home, lift from Alan so back in plenty of time. Unfortunately there was hardly any tide so Ewen did not get back before seven. By this time the Inn was in full swing. Six of us on but not a problem, even the LDOs. Everyone well fed and the goodbyes to Sheffield done, he IS going to retire, wandered down to the noisy table at the end and after community engagement it was politics with every subject through to nuclear disarmament. Good going debate and passionate but gradually got repetitive and with an Old Poultney it was off back up the road for them, another few hours animated discussion ahead. Animated,


more animated.


There were many quotes of the night, one of the best involving Kyle but not to be attributed to anyone as mildly rude. ‘Twas a fine start to the weekend. A grand sunset earlier in the evening.


Many times the colours seem to improve after the sun dips behind Raasay.


So good to see the sun setting just to the south of Dun Caan, portent of Spring.


Knoydart Part 3, Leaving.

The prawns were pretty good and one was left on each plate until the plates were gathered and both were snapped up. It is all very well being polite but there are limits. The prawns were picked up at Armadale the previous evening from Duncan’s boat and were a decent size. The prawns were followed by chicken in honey and hazelnut and then by a lime sorbet…top food. Evening then flashed by and before you knew it the power down time had come along with the frantic carry out being organised just in case. Some way through the evening I remembered it was my birthday and Julia volunteered it was her’s as well. The obligatory Happy Birthday was sung and reminded me why I generally keep quiet about it. This followed by a Hip,hip hooray chorus, which in turn was followed by this explanation. Seems “Hip, Hip” may be connected to a Latin phrase meaning “Jerusalem has fallen” and was taken up by the Nazis up to and including WWII, becoming an anti semitic call. The things you learn on a LDO gathering are many and various. And even better was Morvern from south end of Mull finding out that the french translation of her wee nickname was fairly uncomplimentary, although I am a bit suspicious that this was made up on the hoof. But good night was had although background headache kept the evening to its proper length for me. Woke up a couple of times in the night thinking I was going to be in trouble but for some reason it did not develop and leaving Doune was as enjoyable as arriving. I know that sounds a little strange but I have always Applecross to come home to and I now have an amazing memory of Knoydart and have met some new and good people. The previous day there was a brief chat about the future of CAM and some figures were produced for the HIE Board that show the cost of the scheme  and the money that it has brought into fragile areas to be a pretty startling use of public money. Most of the monies raised are directly spent on infrastructure projects and either maintain or increase the viability of the communities concerned. Not only that but small and sustainable cottage industries can be attracted to these areas as basic services are improved or just kept.


So after breakfast, it was off down to the jetty in wonderful sunshine and the Gripper II took us to Armadale across a flat calm Sound of Sleat with a couple of porpoise sighting on the way over. The views back to Doune in the sunshine were wonderful.





The Mary Doune took the rest over to Mallaig with Andy at the wheel.


There was still plenty to talk about on the way across and we went into the new pier to offload.



From there it was up the road with Avril and Kristine on board with a wee stop in to see Nicola in her new shop in Isle Oronsay. Nicola was on the SEA course last year and used to work at Sabhal Mor, has had a baby and gone self-employed buying a little tweed shop. Leadership courses do work it seems although not for the college!!

After dropping the girls off at Strathcarron it was down Shieldaig Glen in the hope of a massage. Messages were left so I was not sure but the note left on the door meant it was going to be ok. A wander down to the new pontoon and a coffee with Linda, Kenny and Gemma followed by a good but painful massage and it was home by mid afternoon. The Shieldaig pontoon is yet another example of a few people getting together, and they benefit, the whole community benefits even more.


It was noticeable that we were still chatting all the way through the treatment, just the aftermath of Knoydart still working its way around the senses.  And back to the usual run of the mill problems….Filling Station shut down again and not accepting local cards so had to manually delivery fuel to the postie, but after the last couple of days you just put the hassles of every day life into its proper slot and get on with a good life. Dougal and tattie planting is now on the agenda.

The Rewards make it worth the Effort.

Friday saw us going over to Strathcarron to meet with Alison’s HIE boss/mentor. The Community Company is her employer and we could do with being better line managers but that is often the case with volunteer boards. Every one on the Board is either self-employed and/or have two jobs so time is usually limited in the due governance department. The result is that wages are a wee bit late and fishing is covering the costs,just. When we catch up Xmas should be good although being brought up a good presbyterian does not figure to large on my calendar. There are lots of positive projects underway regarding the Company and the meeting generally was productive but there are huge frustrations. We discussed the current campaign re the Trust and the overall picture over here and over an hour and a half you do realise how much can be done and will not if every one is not on board. It is good to speak with some one who has experience of other communities who have similar problems to us and how they go about dealing with them. Although it does not actually help us we do know that we are not alone and these situations cannot realistically continue. Before leaving we tap into the local network to see if the Hill is clear and although tricky it was fine by half nine.

Fishing days are few and far between these last couple of weeks. There have been a couple of mornings that the weather has been fine but forecast has been poor but right and its been blowing by 12 pm, justifying not going out. Back home via Shieldaig where I called in at Sarah’s for another massage. Although it was extra ordinarily painful it does appear to have lots of benefits and painkiller intake is on the decline again. A couple of shifts at the Inn, saturday evening was a lot quieter although the accommodation was fully booked. Speaking to a couple who own the Kylesku Hotel and they were talking to Judith about berried prawns and how their fishermen were telling them that discards do not survive. Cannot tell fishermen not to land berried prawns but can say the science of survival is on my side. Creel caught prawns were used as a control on a study of trawl discards and there was a 98% survival, trawl was 50% by the way and that were the ones that were not damaged.

Today’s shift had some great moments and good chats with lots of different people. I keep getting people coming up to me and saying how reasonable the blog is and that was the case again today. Although the conversations I have about it often cannot be blogged as they do explore fairly radical scenarios that taken out of context would be used against me. As Gandhi once said an open and free democracy would be great to try out to see if it would work but until that day one has to be careful. Later on a chap from the north-east as he was paying his bill commented on everything good about the Inn with so much feeling that it changes your day. The welcoming atmosphere, the fantastic food, even the fire. They left very happy and another job well done for the Inn. Later on some residents who were staying along the street had some lunch and spoke to them about various things. Turned out they were from the north of Holland and ran a 30 metre sailing ship in the tourist trade, 28 berths I think. Chatted to one of them at length and he could not say enough about how welcoming we were as a country. In a non nationalist way it sort of made me a little proud that there are lots of people who understand the meaning of a welcoming hospitality. Again he was saying what a homely and atmospheric place they were at and it was quite moving how he explained it in his broken english. If nothing else we seem to do this well. Ok I know he did not visit Possil or Ferguslie, sorry no offence meant to these estates. From 3 o’clock the musicians from Lochcarron played until 6 and this added to the ambience and was really appreciated by the customers Although the half term holidays are over you would expect the season to tail off but not yet. I suppose when you see the steaks, the seafood platters and langoustines it no surprise that the punters keep coming. New flavours of ice cream keep arriving, creamy mandarin being a recent addition. Time flies when it is good and busy.

With so much going on there are still spells of good weather and the Dougal is always out checking things are in order around the house.

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