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

Posts tagged ‘mermaid’s purse’

Weather of Every Kind.

Hard to take in it has been over a week since I was listening to and singing along with some of the finest musicians in the country. A week and a bit full of fishing doing shifts at the Inn watching the weather piling into the Bay and a couple of meetings to boot. The fishing has kept going although with the weather breaking at the end of last week there have been little gaps on the menu board where beside the Applecross Bay langoustine the N/A has been evident. Not for more than a day though and visitors staying more than one day get a taste of Applecross eventually. The summer is in its later stages as can been seen by the numbers of berried females appearing in the creels


and the scalders wrapping themselves round the ropes, stinging arms and hands, hours after I forgotten all about them.


Rubbing your eyes or/and having a pee can have disastrous consequences.

Seeing the rig stuck on the shore on the west side of Lewis makes you think the local rumours that it may have been an insurance job. Why any one was at sea with such a well broadcast forecast far less towing a 17,000, 35-year-old rig is for some one else to ponder. We were just fortunate that it had died down before the wind had swung round to the north-west. This is the wind that is the worst for the moorings so although it had decreased it was still too strong for a day at sea. While the rig was coming ashore on Lewis the waves were crashing in on the Bay.


Every seventh roller bigger than the previous one being whipped up by the south westerly.


It is a dramatic backdrop for the Mercedes rally that had arrived after midday.


A jolly group of French, with very little English and good craic. Ate lots of seafood and very very appreciative. When Antony came in at midday he took a double take, every table was taken, and it stayed like that all day. It was busy and it being the first of the month the music from Lochcarron was playing.



Was meant to finish at six but nearer nine when I left. Hard work but very enjoyable.

When the wind was not blowing it was raining and rain it certainly did.


When you get wet then it does not seem to matter as you can not get any wetter


so you just get on with it and rather the rain than the breeze that is strong enough to double the effort you need to haul the creels while bracing against the motion all day.


Like running a marathon without thinking about it. The rest of the week bar Friday was routine with major amounts of squat lobsters coming ashore. There are still langoustine on shallower waters, despite the number of berried females growing, and to catch them the squats are going into the creels in vast numbers this season.


Not sure what these leech type worms are, attached to the creels occasionally and laying eggs on the creel.


And came across a dog fish nursery on some rough ground, mermaid purses both born and ready to go.


New, to me anyway, passing traffic, a Marine Harvest well boat maybe. Interesting how salmon farming has progressed from the idea that it could be an extension of the croft with crofters owning a cage in the lochs at the bottom of the croft. Now a multi national industry no longer in the hands of small producers. seems to be the way of our capitalist society of aggregating commerce, size and profit in a smaller number of hands. Every now and again one has a day to forget. These days they seem few and far between and on reflection if you cram it all into one day then hopefully you get a good run after. Had taken ashore a fleet of creels on Wednesday evening and put them ashore,


washed them and mended by Thursday, so ready to take out on the Friday. By the time I was ready to shoot the creels on the ground it felt like a half days work had been done. So with a little more motion than forecast I started hauling creels and went from one to the next, shot over or fouled up in a bunch. Took twice as long to haul five fleets than I normally would. Cut some one’s rope on lost it before retrying but kept the buoy so no damage, just hassle. Could not get another fleet finished as it was shot over at 90 fathoms and my hauler plates were starting to slip. So coming ashore thinking good to get finished, and thinking of what to cook, when my brand new outboard ends up in the water still running. Not really sure how but it did, at least I managed to grab it and a trip to Inverness on Saturday has meant it can be sorted for £200. Bit distressing paying for it and returning it to the workshop at the same time. Don’t let anyone tell you this job is easy. At least I have plenty of strawberries and raspberries, calling in at Black Isle Berries on the way home and getting back in time for the evening shift at the Inn. Busy but went well until 8.15 when 30 people wander in from the growing gale wanting something to eat. Normal night at the Inn I suppose.

There have been little breaks in the weather and taking the dogs out in the late evening you are stopped in your tracks by the view across the Sound.


Mermaid’s Purse

A mermaid’s purse is often attached to the bait strings of the creels. These are laid by the female dogfish, quite often in panic, as she struggles to get back out of the creel. They are part of the shark family and yes a young dogfish is called a pup.

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