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

Posts tagged ‘Kyle’

Sad, but good memories.

    • Hebrides

    • Wind

      South veering southwest 6 to gale 8, increasing severe gale 9 for a time, perhaps storm 10 later.

    • Sea State

      Very rough or high, occasionally very high.

    • Weather

      Rain then squally showers.

    • Visibility

      Good, occasionally poor.

    Although the forecast has changed, for the worse, waking up at 5.20am to hear that the weather today is going to be 6 to 8 increasing severe gale 9 is not the best way to start the day so I did not. Day after day this has been happening and we are now experiencing a pretty severe winter with no apparent let up before christmas. At 9am it was almost dark and tells me I would struggle to survive further north. And now at 3.30pm it is dark with the rain lashing the windows and the broken gutter emptying its contents into a barrel. This rain water was used on the garden in the summer, to think. A couple of days ago the sun showed briefly over the south end of the Sound and thought it worth a wee shot. Could not be more different today, seeing Ardban was an effort.


    Yesterday had a little spark in the evening when I headed out to the Inn for the staff Secret Santa. Been won over since last year as the presents bought have hugely improved from the Chinese tat of yester year to very thoughtful ones these days. Last year got a cracking book and this one was a wood wedge, nice one as they say.


    At the other end of the bar life went on as usual.


    The proceedings were started of by a toast for Norman who passed away a couple of days ago. He used to be an ever-present at the end of the bar for not much short of 25 years. Had many a conversation with him over fishing and rugby, mainly Welsh rugby, and although he had not been in much recently due to ill-health he will be missed. Funny the little triggers you have when some one you know dies and driving past his house on the Street and seeing his little blue car there is somehow poignant. As he became not so good on his feet when he left the Inn we would nip out and drive his car up to the Inn door to make it a wee bit easier for him to get home. Received many a curious look from visitors but that was just what you did. Seeing the wee car parked outside his house knowing he will not be making the short journey to the Inn again…..

    Called in for a cup of tea on the way to the toilets and there, heard the very sad news about Rossie. I do not usually say anything to give plenty of time for close friends and relatives to find out properly but having seen it on the Kyle RNLI site I can assume this has been done. Rossie ‘s passing has brought back lots of memories. First came across Rossie in the back of the Co-op in Kyle when it was on the Main St. He was in giving John Don (Stride) a hand in building a wee office there. Going fishing with Ruariadh and Don I used to walk past the Mackerlich’s Workshop every morning…hardly missed any fishing days back then, and again going to sea with Sandy and Ali Ruadh. Guys who were there would be Duncan Lel, the Robertsons from Skye, Doiks and many more from a different era. Never, ever forgotten a couple of tales of Rossie and they sum up his humanity and kindness. When I organised my Dad’s funeral back in 2000 he immediately put me at ease after finding out I had not much clue what to do. Told me the tale of a local funeral where there was a wee incident at a graveside where a ladder was needed and there general mayhem for a short time. The way he told me you could not help but laugh and at the same time was he in any way disparaging about any one involved in what had happened. Telling me this tale was to tell me that whatever happened it was going to be alright at my Dads and he was right. Dave told me that he went to visit his mother-in-law in An Arcasaid who was in the throes of alzheimers and the first question she asked of Rossie was “What day is it?” and quick as  a flash the reply came, “Any day you want it to be”. Such an adroit and humorous reply and without any hurt to any one. There will be many others as he had lived life to the full and many stories will be recounted over the next few days. Still makes me smile to remember the tale and although I only saw him occasionally I will miss him. He was part of the Kyle I grew up in.

    The Dave who had told the last tale is Dave Hardy who hopefully will be coming over to Applecross to play in the near future, told me about his new website of life around the Skye Bridge. Educational and fun for kids with lots of photos both above and underwater. Good to chat and although the circumstances were not the best, a conversation with Dave is always to be recommended if feeling a little  flat.http://www.lifearoundtheskyebridge.com/

    While I am in this reminisce mode Gordon also forwarded the school photo of the Applecross children in around 1922/23. Only guessing as my Dad was born in 1917 and is in the front row, third from the right, beside his cousin Kenny ‘ain Dungan from Culduie. Lots of memories of days gone by.

    EPSON scanner image

Alzheimer’s and a Full Day.

A trip to Broadford on monday to visit and leave some pin-money for my mum at An Arcasaid. She has been there and before that at Graham House, Dornie for close to ten years now. Alzheimer’s has become almost as common as cancer with most people knowing some one or some one’s relative who has the condition. For me it has been a strange process in dealing with the “problem” but at the same time realising how fortunate that I live in the NW Highlands. My mum gradually lost the capability to look after herself after my Dad died and this manifested itself in her repeatedly saying that her memory was really poor and she kept writing everything down so she knew what was going on. It is a shame but she kept writing the same things down as she kept forgetting them. There is a sort of sad/funny logic to that. Finally when her home help could not be sure of her safety she was admitted to Graham House. One of the jolts that I felt witnessing her “decline” was the day she asked if I had a family, at the time she was surrounded by photographs of our four boys. While she was heading for Graham House I felt guilty in not being able to look after her. She was renowned for nursing her elderly relatives when she lived in Kyle, a granny ,great-uncle and two great aunts all died while I was in primary school. Looking back I did not enjoy growing up in what was essentially a Hospice for about ten years. So here I was shunting her off to a home. I was very surprised when going through the process to get the compliment from both social and medical personnel wishing that every one was as easy as me to deal with. I only went along with every one’s wishes because I knew what they were doing was for my Mum’s best interests. Staff at graham House and An Arcasaid were really good at putting my mind at rest as well, one saying that they loved their “job” but would really struggle to look after their own mum. I know I do not go to see her as often as I should but she does not know me now, and has not done so for probably five or six years, so I would probably be going for myself. My mum was fortunate she did not go through too much of an aggressive phase, with only a couple of spells that I knew about. I know every time I go and see her I always leave with a huge sense of admiration of the staff in both Homes in Dornie and Broadford. The staff genuinely love my mother and look after her so well, it is a vocation for them. When I left yesterday she was being spoon fed her lunch, like a baby. Everything comes full circle and her circle is almost complete. She used to look after people as a nurse and is now being looked after by like-minded people. NHS and Social Services get knocked by many people …never by me.


Monday had so much in it. Picked Andy up as he was heading off to his work, catching a train at Strathcarron. We talked non stop over the Hill and it was one of these spontaneous connections you come across quite rarely. Almost knowing what you are going to say and hear before you it happens. We both stopped saying “I know what you mean” before the second hairpin on the way down and just got on with it. A minute from the Station I mentioned that although we were driving for forty five minutes it felt like five. I am not sure we said anything of world shattering importance but it felt right…hard to put into words.

Nipped down to the Pier at Kyle and saw the fleet in sheltering on the west side of the pier from the easterly gale. Kyleakin and Broadford had their fleets tied up as well.



The journey home was filled with stops as I took some photos for another post and the trip back over the Hill brought you back to concentrating on what was in front of you.


Further on with the strong easterly blowing there were tricky bits to get through.


But the sunset….


Long way round to Kyle.

A couple of days off for a bit of man flu so not too much to report on events here. We are just about mid-winter and should really be doing a bit of mid-winter hibernating but that cannot happen until all the paper work is caught up on. Underway but lots to do and with this in mind it was off to Kyle and a visit to both banks with some success. Headed up to An Arcsaid to drop something off to my Mum’s but could not stop as I did not want to give everyone my bug. Hill is blocked by 7 foot snow drift and is being filmed by the follow-up Channel 5 prog that was on last spring about winter conditions. A very opportune way of saying to the world and Highland Council how important this line of communication is to the community and its economy. Going to Kyle by the Coast road is not the best way to get there as you head away from your destination for the first half hour of your journey. A call in to Shieldaig for a really good massage and an interesting chat after.  A thought crossed my mind on the way home and it was connected to some thing that I said at the CES interview when talking about living in a small community. I have always said that you need far greater social skills to live in a small place as everyone knows everyone and you have such a small pool of people few to choose friends from. I realised that the only thing wrong with this is that we only think we know each other. There would have been many raised eyebrows if today’s post treatment conversation had been overheard. It is fun sometimes having views attributed to you by people who have not crossed your path for several months but still seem to know what your thinking is on certain subjects. These trips out, I usually find tiring especially if the Hill is closed but although there were only a couple of sunny moments they were enough to brighten the day’s journey. Looking across to the north of Attadale coming into Lochcarron on the way you could help but admire the majesty of the scenery. And going up Shieldaig Glen in the early afternoon looking across the wee lochan, not a bad place to set up home.



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