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

Posts tagged ‘Landward’

Landward in Applecross and Duncan in Sleat.

Tale of two days show a variety of life in rural Scotland. Friday morning saw us up at the Inn to meet up with the team over from Landward who were doing an article on the impact of the NC500 on the infrastructure around Applecross, in particular the Bealach.

Once camera was all loaded up

we headed up in the car chatting about the strain on the road caused by the huge increase of traffic. Laura, the director was in the accustomed place out of camera view but directing operations all the same.

Interesting seeing Anne’s reaction when she started watching the road edges. Actually, sitting in the passenger seat and going up the road it was shocking to see the rapid deterioration that is taking place. Personally there are going to be serious decisions that will have to be made very soon by Highland Council. On one hand the trumpet cannot be continually blown about how wonderful tourism is to the Highlands without a penny being spent on the infrastructure as it collapses around our ears. Not only is the Bealach breaking up but issues locally keep cropping up such as camper van chemical toilet disposal. Our LDO is in touch with both SEPA and Scottish Water about setting up such a unit as our Community run toilets are creaking under the strain of constant use and disposal. We have just had a groups of local ladies carrying out a voluntary deep clean of the toilets last month and despite the regular breaking of our donation box the toilets remain well run. New donation box is in the process of being installed which hopefully will end this sad problem. Fortunately for the Highland Council these issues are being solved at a local level by the Community Trading Company but roads are a different issue. The theme about the NC500 is that it has been welcomed in a lot of areas, particularly further north but here we have a feeling of being a little swamped by the numbers coming through. It is a good problem to have to deal with, but Highland Council have to step up or the Bealach is going to become a dangerous embarrassment and people in the rural parts of the Highlands who are already questioning exactly what the Highland Council does for anyone outside Inverness will have another example to point to. Fascinating to see the interaction between camera, direction and presentation. All in all it was an easy-going but professional morning with me trying to ignore the calm weather and the creel boats fishing just off the shore in the Bay. We finished up with some filming and more chat/interviews outside the Inn

before I went south and they stopped of for some fine lunch at the Inn. The program for anyone interested is going out on the 22nd of September, the first of the new series. It was not a bash the NC500 morning but a look at how an advertising campaign with little local(Applecross) consultation can have such an impact on our infrastructure.

I knew I was not going to go out on the water later as Duncan Chisholm and Co were playing in Sleat in the evening. We headed over the Hill at the back of five as Alison was meeting another deadline for an application for the Community Company. Made it with plenty of time and the music was simply sublime. I have a really strong connection with this man’s music. His tunes are phenomenal and you wander through the glens with him as his fiddle playing makes you forget all the things you should have done. His tunes feel ancient, as if they have been around for centuries, and I reckon they will be played for years to come. Hard to believe this all in the same day. Prior to Duncan

coming on stage we were entertained by Mischa Macpherson, Innes White and Ingrid Henderson, gaelic song and fiddle at their best. Duncan was ably supported by the wonderful playing of Jarlath on whistles and uillean pipes

and Ali on guitar.

Saturday was earmarked for fishing as I was on film duty the day before. I was slightly nervous of the weather as the forecast was giving a strongish breeze from the north and I was not looking forward to a heavy day’s work especially as I was in the Inn for the evening. As it turned out the morning was stunning with the sun shining around a few fluffy clouds

and the water still and serene.

Although the first fleet was not too impressive the next five were very pleasant to haul. Lovely creels coming up with lots of big langoustines,

one so big it could have made it as a lobster.

As I was hauling the last fleet I noticed a wee change in the temperature and looked to the north where there was a solid rain cloud coming down the Sound with accompanying white caps. By the time I got to the end of the fleet I was hanging onto the gunnel, tripping across the deck and tying lose equipment down. The decision was made for me on how many creels to haul for the day. Nice to know that the steam home was with the motion on my stern quarter

and all that was to be done then was to weigh and land the langoustines for the Inn and then start work all over again. Before it got a bit lumpy a few stone crabs are appearing as you put some of the creels on some rougher ground as the open mud fats are getting a little tired from the summer’s fishing effort.

I have no idea what these are but still they reproduce, maybe a mistake in this case as the eggs have little chance of survival.

As this was written over a couple of days and it is now Sunday evening after a twelve-hour shift, interspaced with a twenty-minute snooze to revive myself for the evening shift. Twelves, sixteens, sixes and eights were all seated amongst the residents and random walk ins. Regulars are appearing in numbers. People you get to know a little each time they come up. A crabbies and bike ride home after a music night from the Vans, a fine Australian couple, who are playing cracking self penned and cover version songs for the last three hours.

Searching for Pineapples and Landward.

Half ten at night after arriving home and discovering I was one short found me routing around in the ditch up from the Telephone exchange looking for a pineapple. Sometimes you do find yourself in slightly surreal situations, this came about by letting a car past on the way back from the Inn and performing a slow motion fall off the bike into the ditch with one of my two pineapples coming out of my camera bag…….I have a regular fruit order from the Inn. (Now after eleven on a Thursday and the Inn has stayed busy for drinking after the food had finished. So a late one tonight.)

Been a slightly tricky week so far and nothing I can really put my finger on it. The work level has been very poor in the fishing department, partly through forecasts and lack of motivation. Good to write this as it has come back, mainly through our board meeting tonight. The hydro scheme was the agenda. I have not been posting too much about it up till now as it has been so frustrating seeing it slowly fade and potentially collapse, due to us missing deadlines for pre accreditation, this basically meaning that the FiTs are now regressing and our income levels along with profit levels projected were getting close to high risk even past this point. After tonight’s meeting without giving too many details it is looking positive again and basically we have picked the right contractors who have our interests at heart. There is a mammoth amount of work to get through very quickly to make it happen but it is back on course.

Earlier this week was pretty flat and we have not left the moorings for a haul, some excitement provided by Dougie Vipond and Landward.


This followed by a fine evening’s entertainment in Kyleakin. Not often I have been able to say that. Almost forgot to mention I made it down to Barley Port for a cup of coffee and a wee ceilidh.


Landward came about from a phone call from Bally asking about elderly fishermen’s tales. They are doing an hour-long special on inshore fishing and were looking for the “what used to be here” angle. I found that easy to give as I have spoken over the years to now retired fishermen and made a point of speaking to Donald before I headed over the Hill. A very quick hour passed, made easy by the relaxed attitude of everyone including Dougie. And despite a little interlude involving the local fishermen passing up and down the Slipway. When you pull together the stories of how bountiful the seas were off our shores it makes for sad reminisces. From there it was over to Martin and Karen’s and before you know it’s half nine and ready for a trip home. Came away feeling replete after a fish pie that could have been served at the Inn, a slide Martin converted for the blog of my Seanair, Finlay,

snoddy 1

and a couple of events that will break up the summer nicely. This photo was taken, I guess, in the late fifties as he died late seventies at 91. Drove round the back of Plockton just for a change and for once I was early so decided on a whim to take a right past Duirnish. Met up with Willie for the first time in a wee while and then on to Lynne and Darren’s. Time flew by and just made it to meet up with the Landward crew.

Health with an energy sapping bug kicked in for a couple of days that involved very little gardening and lots of Sons of Anarchy and finally came out of the fug this afternoon and as usual Dougal makes me get out of the house and onto the bike for a wander down to the Craig Darroch.


Lovely weather,


views and company of dogs.


They are good for the mind and do get one sorted out. On the health front the Doc may be on the right track when I have more days off painkillers than on them. Sounds not a big achievement but believe me over the last three or four years this is such a huge improvement. Excited enough to keep a wee diary of what I take now, before I did not want to know as I knew I was close to safety limits in order to function.Luckily the weather is fine and there are lovely evening lights on the go.


Now one in the morning, Friday, and it is slowly getting quieter, reckon there is still an hour left to go, the life of a bar person. Forecast genuinely bad for tomorrow so there is no pressure in the morning. Keep smiling and it is a very happy bar, lots and lots of laughter as the Germans meet the Aussies. Guinness, lots of malts, wine and the White drink for the non-English speaking mother, eventually deciphered as Pernod and lemonade. A good night for food and company, just general bonhomie. When the customers give you hugs and handshakes as they leave you know job well done. And of course the board meeting going on well in the dinning room helps the uplifting feel of the night. No one made it through to Inverness today to attend the Trust meeting, it is during the day and eighty miles away with all the board working over here so it just not practical.

And this morning started with a phone call from Tornapress for diesel for the Auk which was duly delivered and another fine morning it has started out to be.


Even had vague thoughts about going to sea but the forecast has turned out to be right and there is a brisk wind going up the Sound and I would be back on the moorings by eleven.

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