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

Posts tagged ‘Milton’

October First.

Good to get to sea on Monday although after hauling the first fleet for seven prawns I wondered if I was in the right place. Frame of mind okay and went to the next one in shallower water and it was poor but bearable and so the day went on. Not a lot on the environment front apart from a small pod of porpoises coming down the Sound just off the Applecross shore. Rocks to the north of St Island were covered with well fed birds.

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Breeze from the south and strongish tide meant the boat was in gear most of the day. Finished off by the Range and back in the deep water. So few prawns that I only hauled half the fleet before turning around and shooting it back. We may be at the stage of just hauling the gear to stop too many tangles with the weather breaking as well. The winter fishing has arrived although the beauty of fishing is one never knows. It has been a very mixed week so far for the weather and while today and Monday were in bright sunshine

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that could not have been said about yesterday. The rest of the week looks breezy so not too much fishing expected. Been invited down to Sunart for a Friday evening launch of their shares issue for their hydro scheme. We were there last year and Alison did a talk to a busy local audience about our various experiences here. I tag along. After landing the prawns on Monday evening noticed the completed log pile Freddie built on Saturday, a holzhausen it seems.

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With the logs placed bark down until the top layer when the bark is on top letting the rain to run off. Back home to mess about with Dougal

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and chop a few logs seeing as the weather was holding up. By sundown you could see Tuesday’s front coming in.

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Catching up on what was happening on Rona yesterday and one of the photos reminded me of the tom Devine talk and subsequent chats about how every bit of land was brought into use. Raasay and Rona have a harsh Clearance history and “the marks on the land” are still there to see.

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Today I have tried to use the first of the month to get back into a groove, unlike last winter, where I left everything to the last-minute. Ease into it rather than try to maintain drastic changes. Breaking Bad has reached its conclusion, that was some series and will be hard to replace. House of Cards will give it a go. New telly ordered and the TV licence is heading for a cancellation. That and joining Scottish CND, can hardly believe how politicised I have become. Trying to transfer into practical efforts rather than just keeping the bar conversations going. So after the first episode of HofCs it was off out with Dougal and Eilidh going north up the Tor Mor towards Torgarve.

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Passed above Milton

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and the new plantation set up by the Milton crofters in partnership with ALPS. Looking forward to see the trees establishing and improving the ground.

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Although I headed off with a shower coming across the Sound it quickly cleared up and the sun was back out as I picked up the Archeological Trail and then on through Carnach Wood coming out just north of Milton.

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No sooner was I back home when I was sent back up to the Filling Station as our annual inspection was under way with Bill in attendance. He had already done the physical check over and the paper work will be heading through to him in the next 2/3 weeks. He seemed impressed with how it looked and was operating. Again good to see more volunteers getting involved in the running of it. Bill has known how difficult it has been to keep it operating over the last four years. Now it is functioning better we are hoping sales will increase as it is more user-friendly thus enhancing its survival. It will only survive through volunteers and until we get the Hydro scheme up and running it will always be a struggle to keep the services that the Company has taken on in profit. I suppose I am more aware than most and that is why the calendars are for sale…..to raise money to keep these services going. Broadband, toilets and selling fuel do not make money otherwise somebody else would be doing it as a business. However if these services were to be withdrawn….. Dougal came with me this time as I went up on the bike. Lovely cycle home in the now very breezy but bright day. Stopped a couple of times for a snap of the shoreline south of Shore Street

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and again just past the BT mast.

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Sneaked another episode of HofCs before going out to chop some more wood, good for the dogs to catch a few rodents across the road.

Just to finish off after a wee shift at the Inn. American/Canadian wedding party, All Blacks on the big table, Foresters on table 8 after the Ryder Cup Americans with a scattering of regulars and others throughout the evening meant for a steady night. Loved Aron’s story about the Israeli family. For the next post.

The Milton Vodka Run

The picture tells the story.

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Daddy long legs Crab.

Cycling to the Inn this morning was so peaceful and still. When I stopped at the Milton loch to watch the swans, once the noise of the tractor engine, heading to Camusterrach, had faded all one heard was the calling of a swan. Some thing between a hoot and a whoop. Then as you listened you caught the rapid flapping of  wings as a seabird emerges from a dive. And then nothing, no background noise, just a very quiet silence. Not many places where you come across this, especially when not looking out for it. An uneventful lunch shift just being completed, a staff lasagna on the cards and a walk with Dougal should complete a fine sunlight afternoon in Applecross. Of course behind the scenes hen houses are being built, toilets painted, pigs  being fed and piers being planned. This part being written towards the end of the shift on the wee iPad suggesting not many people in.

It is a thinking time of year as plans often go awry as weather intervenes and, in my case, the odd health wobble. Out as planned Friday morning and pleasant enough it was with the sun hitting Paul’s mast on the north end of Raasay and the south end of Rona also getting some much-needed shine.

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Not much to report on the prawn front, meaning not many prawns and not many sightings of traffic, the odd one heading north.

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Often get these wee crabs, the daddy-long-legs of the sea.

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Usually they get one of their really long claws caught up in the creel mesh. Unfortunately during the day the pain killers were only just allowing me to function, which was a pity as I had looked forward to going out but such is life. Sarah turned up and massage completed but by then I knew that the next wee while was not going to be enjoyable. As Amy had her little show and presentation on at the Hall, after coming back from dropping off the langoustines it was a lie down with the intention of heading out but not to be. The next four hours were spent covered in “concerned” dogs and dozing in front of some very uninspired rugby, although did have a good hour watching Country on Beeb 4, Tammy, Kris, Rita, Dolly, Kenny, glen, all there but Willie Nelson singing “Always on my Mind” is hard to beat.

Yesterday morning unfortunately was a continuation, slightly surprising, but as, I had slept through six hours of a migraine, then that is a bonus. Meant the planned fish did not happen but eventually made it to the Hall to see Amy’s landscape presentation.

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Bit of a long, head down walk to get there and to the shop before turning for home.  While out I thought these two photos summed up the mood,

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sometimes you do not see the familiar but the oak tree in the field in front of the Schoolhouse shows a successful fight for life while growing through, round a barren rock.

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Possibly the result of the only place it was allowed to grow. Recovery took shape by mid afternoon and made it to work despite calling in sick at 12pm. A good, steady evening topped off with a “Movember” quiz organised by the “Movember Girls” and conducted by Paul. Made it to half time with the Greek living in Dublin and the German lawyer, Andross and Kim. Bit of an Irish theme as residents included a guy from County Clare and a girl from the “north”. Before the quiz we were regaled with a few songs from John and Lorna, of Tarneybackle fame, John is, despite the photo,

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a very happy and jolly chap and I spent some good time in their company talking about this and that, mainly about next September. Every now and again, with genuine excitement. The quotation round of the quiz and Dougal’s desire to get outside again meant I had to leave early with not too many regrets.£200 raised for Movember….nice one.

I will never know if it is because one goes through a bit of pain your senses are a bit sharper but going past the lochside this morning was stunning and deserved the stop, look around and listen. Before work I headed over to the Public Toilets which are completing the refurb to take a couple of photos but decided to wait a day or so. It is on schedule with painting, fittings floor all done and connections and clean up this week to be done on time. Scarily short of time but another community project near completion. On the way back a blink of sun over Clachan caught the eye.

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Today’s little surprise was the visitors on table 4, when chatting to them, as you do, it turns out one of them had a strong Applecross, no, Toscaig connection. So I asked what it was and he said his aunt Mary Kate used to live there. There was quite a stunned silence when I told him that she was my Dad’s first cousin…..could tell he was not expecting that response. Only in the Applecross Inn.

So back on the bike after the fine staff lasagna,chips and peas to some beautiful scenes off to the west,

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truly an amazing place to live. We, inhabitants quite often find lots of different ways of not getting on with each other but, boy, when you take time out and have a look around and see the awesomeness of nature….. With the landscape theme in mind even the metropolis of Milton was looking grand with all it wires connected to the outside world.

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And that would have been enough for the day but I have to thank Dougal and the family for getting out and up Tor Mor for even more spectacular scenes.

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The Ronja heading north with a heavy load in weather as different as could be when I last saw her turning around on Wednesday morning in a storm force 10.And finally the sun sets on a varied three days. “A Northerly Land” was playing through out the writing of this post. I wonder if any one else heard it?

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Stormy Applecross.

Stormy night, not windy or blustery but stormy. Depending on how long it goes on for this is the biggest storm to hit here since 2005 when 20% of the plantations up the Glen were taken down. Guess what we were doing ….at the Inn at an event talking about the weather and how climate change will affect communities and how we are going to deal with it. Full on night as we had to start up the generator with the power down for a while and now we are blocked off by a tree down between the Shore Street and Milton. Quick organise who was taking who where in who’s car and off through the trees to my lift. As there was Zumba at the Hall Caroline, stuck on the southside, is ferrying guys home leaving our cars at the Inn. Alison , Jill and Zuzu get Terry’s car home and Terry gets Jill’s car home round the Coast and Judith meets Caroline to take her back north. Marie will either stay at the Inn or get some one’s car to go home to Lochcarron. The walk through the trees to Milton was a little nerve wracking, listening to all the creaking and cracking of the old trees and branches. You could almost feel their pain. Quote of the night from Aron, “It has definitely got windier since we came up here.”Always fear for boats and any one on the water on a night like this. Big tide and the noise of the surf walking along the Street was awesome.

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ACC, APPLESTOCK and a Proof Read.

Was not allowed to post until I had done the minutes of the Company Board meeting so that must mean one job done. The governance of the Company is turning the corner with minutes coming out and more Board meetings planned…one arranged for next month to keep things moving. Adverts are going out soon for part-time jobs and the financials are being worked on. The Filling Station billing was being handed over today with Francis taking this over although there was a soft ware problem with data transfer, hopefully minor. Great to see the start of the spreading of the load of volunteer work and it looks as though this will be continuing. Most of the ACC Board got together with our development manager from HIE and it was really constructive going through the positives and the problems with the directors realising how much work is to be done. Often you have Board or committee meetings and directors and members turn up and do nothing till the next meeting. Because we have so much going on we cannot do that and after yesterday’s meeting there was a definite uplifting feeling that we have so much to do and are going to do it, gradually pulling more and more members of the community into helping. Helped me not feeling so unhealthy and a walk down the road with Dougal and family in the east wind kept me awake. Dougal as usual is in great health. This is him just before he disappears over the wall to see his neighbours in the morning.

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I was invited to another meeting on Monday evening which is to organise a new Festival to be called Applestock. There has been lots of work done already and is very impressive. It is planned to be based around the Walled Garden and the Campsite with family orientated events during the Saturday around the Walled Garden and then off to the Campsite for the headline band on the evening. Not sure if I am allowed to say who is planned but if successfully booked it will make for a brilliant night of music. Offered to do a bit of bar help in the evening and it could end up being a longish day as the Inn will be busy, used to love working the bar at the Games, great crack,hard work and music, always a good combination. It is great to see the next group getting it together and organising events.  I was proud to be involved with setting up The Seafood and Music Festival and although it slipped into a Beer and Music Fest and became too much for the Inn to cope with it was good while it lasted. APPLESTOCK 18th of May is the date to look out for..its already on Facebook.

Missed my third meeting in three days, tonight, as I could be feeling better and although I have a croft and have plans it is not high on my priorities.It was just another walk back with Dougal and family from the Filling Station and even in today’s greyish light there is always something to catch the eye.

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And just further alone the road passing Milton noticed the holiday house there could have been a place in Las Palmas. Passed it most days for the last thirty years and you see it in a different light, I think that is why I will always like living here, seeing something for the first time, maybe its just a gift of the unobservant.

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Last night I had the privilege watching some one very good at what she does work. A couple of weeks ago I was asked to do an article on Applecross for a tourist magazine and with a little trepidation said yes. Nothing else to do!! Anyway got something down, about the thousand words requested and sent it down to Sara our proof reader living in Toscaig. She came up last night and over three hours took it apart and put it back together,and this was after working on it down the road. It was very impressive to watch and probably learned quite a bit without being in a classroom situation. so it is off to Inverness tomorrow, health and weather permitting, supposed to be a dump of snow on the way so it will be back early.

 

 

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