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

Posts tagged ‘Moro’

Where do you Belong?

Came across an interesting post on Facebook that I cannot get out of my head and have been thinking about most of the day. For me it is revealing the way I ask questions of the visitors at the Inn and the response I get and the interest in me that it sparks.

“We abuse the land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” Aldo Leopold. Went on to the net to see what I could learn about Aldo and was interested that he took part in the eradication of the wolves as a predator on farmed stocks but came to realise that this was totally the wrong way to go about “managing” wilderness areas. A bit like some fishermen wanting cod to join the dinosaurs so they can have a freer access to trawling the langoustine out of existence. But without a thought of what role the cod play in supporting the whole marine ecosystem. It seems to be commonly accepted that taking the wolves out of the equation areas became deforested as elk/moose numbers grew and overgrazed saplings. Who would have thought that wolves affected natural tree regeneration. Wonder what the disappearance of cod,haddock,hake and whiting in our local waters is doing to our marine environment. Short term there is less” money” to be made from the sea, evidenced by the numbers of ex fishermen now working ashore, but what is the long-term problems that are going to emerge because of the way we are treating our marine environment. A freelance writer turned up at the Inn yesterday and Judith called me over for a brief chat about the Inn’s policy on not landing Berried Langoustine and as with everyone else we speak to, it is such an obvious way to try to regenerate a failing fishery. Sarah and Aron told me a couple of weeks ago that Sam Clark, of Moro fame, has called up his supplier to tell him that he will change his buyer if he sends him any females carrying eggs…that was after spending a day out on the Varuna. I was not looking for this but to be told the news I did feel as though some thing good had happened. As I had not heard from Rick Stein apart from the fact he was busy I sent another email telling him that Moro had now stopped using berried langoustine. That was last week and no reply as yet.

Going back to the land issue, there were a couple of comments that were interesting in that “indigenous”people see land and land use in a different way. Suggested that Gaels tend to ask the question “Where do you belong?” “C’aite ‘bhuineas sibh?” not “Where are you from?” Often a bit nervous of using the term “indigenous” as it has so many connotations these days with UKIP about and making progress. When I was in Knoydart you got the feeling and at the time it was subconscious but the guys I met there belonged to the place and that was both at Doune and in general. I never really thought too much about this and it was only with the quote of Aldo’s that made me think just that bit deeper about our connection to the land and how emotional it can get. I do not think you have to be born in a place to belong. There are many people who have come to live in Applecross and have belonged here and have cared for the place to a far greater extent than I have managed as my main struggle was survival and paying off mortgages. There are always going to be scraps and arguments etc within communities regarding land and land use but I fail to see how decisions can be made by people who do not “belong” to those same communities. Visitors often ask where I am from and there is no easy answer as my family is only had a brief stay here, coming from Harris and me growing up in Kyle, but I think I belong to Applecross, maybe to the chagrin of one or two Applecross residents.

Yesterday’s shift at the Inn was far more sensible but still very busy. The world map is up on the wall and we are filling in all the countries that did not arrive last year. I am going to go off on a tangent and see how many States I can get. Yesterday I was talking to guys from Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa. Weather still very unsettled and I called off my trip to Uags, although at the time the weather was fine I believed the forecast and it was right.


Today is another day ashore dodging the weather in the garden, getting the bee friendly seeds in book work and blogging. Down the road in the afternoon to fuel up the Auk.




Although not good for fishing the light is wonderful and changes all the time. Met up with the Welsh/Coillieghillie contingent as I was fuelling up and gave Dougal a run back up the road alongside the van. Met Robert, back from Knoydart, on the way up the road and he is experiencing the Knoydart high having just come back from a weekend of music and fun. Our own Applestock is coming closer and was speaking to Sarah this evening about the bar and really looking forward to it. Tickets are selling really well and the excitement factor is rising. It is going to be a busy week-end in three weeks time. There are probably updates and changes from this poster but if there was only half of what is advertised it would be well worth a visit.


A touch of Moro

Friday’s festivities were followed up by a day’s fishing on the Sound and on Loch Torridon. By all accounts there seemed to be a few happy fishermen around in the evening and although not confirmed there were 6/7 lb pollock caught with mackerel making up most of the catch. These competitions held up and down the coast are valuable indicators on the health of fish stocks over the years and the sad fact is that the Plockton competitions in years gone by shows haddock and cod being caught with a regularity that would make todays fishermen green with envy. This comes up time and again in conversations and every one I speak to is in total agreement as to why there are no fish to catch…..the prawn trawl. As was stated on our trip to the Scottish parliament the Inshore Fisheries Act is only less than 30 years old and can easily be modified or in fact admitted to be the biggest mistake in recent history of inshore fisheries management. Until this happens there will be little done in the static gear sector which also needs to put its own house in order. Over the last couple of days I have learned a lot about the world of Moro, through being in the company of Aaron and Sam Clarke. Sam was out on the Varuna on saturday to have a look at how we worked. Really interesting morning where he saw the catching and processing of the prawns, returning of the egg bearing females and the tailing of the numerous squat lobsters. Although he does not sell large quantities of prawns due to price consideration he was very interested in the returning of the berried prawns. Sam is the co-founder of the Moro restaurant in London with his partner Samantha, an eastern style of cooking which has a Moorish influence using cinnamon and other spices from the east. After three fleets Sam felt the effects of the previous evenings entertainment,work and young family so went and crashed in the foc’sle. Thought crossed my mind as I hauled another fleet that a year ago I had never heard of Moro, a successful and popular restaurant in London and today  the owner snoozing for’ard . Wind, not forecast, increased to a force 4/5 south-westerly so headed in after hauling 200 pots for very few prawns. Took Sam back to Toscaig where lunch was prepared, tomatoes,mozzarella,small leaf basil with drizziles of olive oil, fantastic along with some of Aaron’s soused herring, a taste sensation. Only in Applecross. Hard but very pleasant shift in the Inn. Two French families totalling 10 people wander in around 7.30pm were added to the waiting list of 20 customers. Hard, hard work for the kitchen who have been cooking all day to still be cooking at 9.30, but as usual all is well with happy people. There was no danger of me going to the dance at the Hall, recognising I am not as young as I used to be meant that, although tired today  it is still enjoyable. Jill and Annan,Wee Annan and friend, frequent visitors over from Plockton had a pleasant lunch while their boat sat peacefully off Milton.

After a lovely lunch of lobster, squat, crab and mango curry followed by a selection of Aaron’s ice creams it was off home to chase hens back into the run and wander through the autumn garden. Picking apples is one of next weeks jobs as yesterdays wind has blown quite a few off. Although a bit breezy for tomorrow I aim to get half a doz large prawns to Toscaig and try to keep them on the Inn menu. Hope to negotiate with Aaron a tub of kraken ice cream and one of rhubarb and stem ginger. Aah the good life of good food and good people.

Could not resist a photo of the blooming hydrangea which came from my mum’s garden in Kyle, always think these are a living reminder of people especially as they came from a cutting I took myself, one of my few gardening successes.

This photo is also for the ‘pink ladies raft team’ who although were photographed were a bit distant behind the lovely ladies who won.

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