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

Posts tagged ‘nature’

Full Circle

Sitting here with a half-moon streaming in the window as it lights up The Sound it is sometimes hard to believe you can pack so much into one day. The Inn has been taking up a lot of time this week due to birthday celebrations and staff off sick. A north wind blowing most of the week means that there was very little fishing activity since monday’s effort. Stocks of prawns at The Inn were low especially as every second order on friday seemed to involve prawns so that meant a long day at the office. But what an office. The day started at 5 am as day light came in and after the shipping forecast, breakfast,sorting Dougal and family it was off down the road to the boat. As I was crossing the Bay to my first fleet of creels the sun rose above the Applecross hills. Although I was under a bit of time pressure to catch prawns for the Inn’s menu board and be ashore to start my shift at mid-day there was time to look around the office, watch the blackbacks scrapping with the ‘bonxies’ over the meager bits of bait. Yesterday’s 30 knot wind had decreased overnight and just being on the water was a pleasure again. Ashore on time and with plenty prawns and squat lobsters for the Inn it was off to work although I struggle to call it that.

A hectic evening was anticipated going by the bookings. On evenings like this it feels as though the Inn takes on a life of its own borrowing some of the magic of Applecross that is all around it. There is a huge amount of hard work behind the front of house welcome and service. I often say to customers that it is easy to work front of house as the food is fantastic, the situation is magical and there is genuine contentment all around. It seems to be sensed by so many people even as they see how busy we all are serving them. I still think I have so much to learn and still make far to many mistakes but if explained openly people appreciate what you do and it does not spoil their enjoyment. So many different people from so many different walks of life and countries express their pleasure verbally, people you have met two hours before for the first time shake your hand as they leave all because they have had a special experience. The glorious weather,the landscape,the food and atmosphere touches many people in a way that I think is on a different plane than the material. The kitchen, under pretty severe pressure still manages to have a bit of banter with front of house and this filters through to the customers. Some of the repartee is not to be heard out front but it keeps every-one sane. Exhausted but happy at the end of the night I go over the mistakes but far more important I recall conversations,with visitors from,Switzerland,Denmark,France, Inverness,Lochcarron and Applecross, lots of chats about life, fishing, Applecross, anything. Like my involvement with Community Company I feel very fortunate to work at the Inn where you can connect with so many people and still have a quality of life that is second to none.

Twenty hours after starting my day it was off home and as I left the Inn I put on the radio only to hear Sailing By the melody that introduces the night shipping forecast. A full circle with so much in between. It does take a while to wind down from the adrenalin rush of earlier but with the moon a bit lower in the sky but still shining over The Sound it is to bed and a dreamless sleep.

Work,Learning,Music and good People

Very busy and varied week which started with a trip to the Loch Ness Inn to bring their staff back to Applecross for a night out. The trip back involved a stop off at Rogie Falls for a little treasure hunt which ended up with every one getting a slug of baileys.Then it was off to The Waterside, Judy’s sister’s cafe in Lochcarron. An Irish coffee later and it was back to the Inn in the Community bus. Worked until about 11pm before heading home for a well earned rest. Tuesday and it was away to Sabhal Mor in Sleat where we took part in the third of six two day sections of our social enterprise course. I think it is a combination of us all getting to know each other and a relaxing into the course. We all have to do a presentation about a given subject and I have to say I was very fortunate in that it was a comfortable subject. Covey’s 7 Habits are about sorting yourself out and then being able to interact successfully with other people on a business and personal level. The evening in the pub is just as important for the course where as you trust more you tend to share your problems with other people with whom you build up a confident two-way relationship. Although I often feel a bit out of my depth I do seem to hold my own being passionate about the things we talk about. Extremely nervous about my presentation but got through it because I really liked the subject and the guys I was speaking to were very understanding. I thought the 20 minutes I spoke for was actually 5 mins so must have gone into some zone. Picked up a new tag when speaking to some-one about the success of Kinlochshiel shinty team. They are very professional in their approach to the game now and so are their players partners who now call themselves SWAGs…….Shinty Wives And Girlfriends. Back home on wednesday to another shift in the pub and to be met with Mark’s jubilation at his Iranian visiter to the Inn. I reckon I trumped him today with Norway and Kenya though. The competition now stands at 29 countries which have visited the Inn. I keep thinking how extra-ordinary this is. Weather has improved dramatically and a couple of days fishing ensued. the weather was fantastic with the fishing not bad so contentment is the order of the day. Friday evening saw us off to the Celtic Connections Festival weekend at Broadford. Friday night saw us booking into a great friend’s place at Erbusaig and then heading to the Big Top, slightly later than planned but met with brilliant music especially provided by Raul Malo, The Michael Mcgoldrick Band and the Deadly Gentlemen. Saturday saw us in Raasay where Alison had a good catch up with one of her friends on Raasay House Communtiy Company while I took Dougal and family to Hallaig,a cleared township on the east of the island. I find it very atmospheric and going there transports you back in time almost hearing the life that used to go on there.Although many people do not like the gorse it is great for bees and is one of the early sources of food for them. The last few days of bright dry weather has brought it out. in full bloom.The walling is a bit different over here in that they seem to stand the top stones on end. A beautiful craft that lasts for many decades. I have been twice on this path and its ancient mosses always catch the eye, some up to two feet in height.It was back to the festival in the evening after a visit to my mum at An Arcasiad where she is being well looked after as she enters the later stages of Alzheimer’s at the grand old age of 93. The evening programn of The Civil Wars, Daimh, Roseanne Cash and Niteworks was second to none.The Civil Wars were a cracking harmony duo who rattled of a series of very beautiful songs,they were followed by the scottish group, Daimh who had several guests including Karen Matheson.For me the highlight was listening to the glorious Roseanne Cash and watching her obviously enjoy singing to an appreciative crowd.She was also very complimentary about scotland, its people and music.

After listening to Motherless Child,I’m Moving On,Take These Chains and Heartaches By The Number among many more it was off back to Dave’s.Another shift at the Inn,a walk home via Robert and Marion’s croft and an evening’s reflections of lovely people,interesting conversations, brilliant music, fantastic weather and scenery,and work that satisfies the soul and body the thought that I am very fortunate does cross my mind.

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