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

Posts tagged ‘otters’

Dougal uses a life.

The weather is the main talking point and looking at some of the videos and photos from further north it is no wonder. Awesome is the most appropriate description of the last couple of days. 3 o’clock this morning and it was blowing a howling gale from the north. Quite a number of people were woken around this time but no one really knows why…either a roll of thunder or a squall passing through. Could not get back to sleep with thinking was my boat going to be on the moorings in the morning.Thats when you try to remember if you sent the direct debit back to the insurance company and cannot actually remember posting it. Ali and Seonag took 4 hours to get to Inverness on their way to pick up first prize in the Scottish Final of the Countryside Alliance Village Shop Section. The squally showers that were falling here was heavy snow further inland.

Company Board Meeting last night as part of our new regime, only a month since our last one. It is very busy at the moment with job adverts and recruitment panels to set up. The Filling Station is still to the forefront and software problems are still holding up invoicing but we seem to be getting a little closer to solving our forecourt computer problems with engineers and parts on the way. There is also a burst of youth activity on the go and surveys and questionnaires asking what improvements younger folk would like to allow them to stay longer in the area. We are on the point of signing the lease for the hydro, said that before possibly almost a year ago, but it may be imminent now. So it will be onto the Bill of Quantities, soil testing and planning. I don’t suppose any one said it was going to be easy. And there is the little matter of finding the dosh to build it, but if the financial projections, despite the rent, match expectations then it will be worth it. There is a healthy community here and there is so much to do to introduce some of the technology that many people take for granted and as we will have to maintain these new systems there will be local employment which will be both meaningful and long-term. Although a little sign of ageing it is great to see another group of people coming forward with ideas such as Applestock, which I believe is on the point of an exciting announcement on the musical front. Even in the depths of winter and energy levels low there is happenings where ever you look.

Today was bright and cold and windy from the north and it was off to see Jess with my completed forms for my meadow. Walked up with Dougal and Co and on the way back decided to head down onto the sand as the tide was half out. The dogs love a run about. All was going well until a big dog otter  got cheesed off with suddenly being the centre of attention in particular of Dougal. Almost lost my voice yelling at Dougal as he thought it was there to play with and did not realise he was in danger of losing half his snout. Did n’t realise I could take photos and scream at the same time. The otter charged off to the water’s edge and that was when Dougal was most in danger as the otter was back in his own element and turned on him. Luckily the otter swam off and Dougal came to his senses…although that tends to be a bit of an exaggeration, as he hasn’t got many. Oh to be a spaniel.

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Otters,deer and trees

Starting rather than finishing with a post. Weather is poor again so going to land prawns for the Spanish market this morning, they will be packed and flown off for the weekend Barcelona market. Although the catches are not too bad just now we are in the Christmas/Easter price dip. It would be better for the stock if we caught prawns when the market prices are buoyant rather than trying to make up for the poor price with quantity. The weather on Monday was beautiful. Quiet, peaceful and sunny, the shades and sunhat were on. It is a busy range with a lot of flyovers by the Merlin helicopter. Only had one fleet to re-splice and had to lift two that were shot over, that is some-one’s fishing gear is shot over yours. It is a routine job if it is in shallow water but a different matter when in 90 fathoms. It is hard on your gear, equipment and body trying to free up the creels and ropes from each other. Japanese rolling hitch is usually the knot single-handed boats use to clear the gear.

Went to an ALPS meeting in the evening which was fairly uneventful, mainly centring round the design and printing of the new leaflets describing the new walks and areas around the peninsular. The issue of a wood fuel supply keeps coming up in the discussions surrounding the harvesting of the Gateway plantation. These plantations were planted in the 1960s, the old block conifer system, and have not been managed since the day they were planted. The result now is they are in very poor condition in that they have up to 30% wind blown timber which is lying rotting on the ground. The Community Company has been trying to secure a wood-fuel supply and as the timber is already here one would think this a fairly simple project. The idea of burning local wood rather than taking in truck loads of coal and sending out truck loads of wood seems absurd to me but there it is.

Yesterday was mainly a recovery day after hauling 500 creels on Monday and the only note of interest was the diesel delivery. We were sold out for two days due to the fact the tanker did not arrive in Inverness on time and several Filling Stations were left without fuel. It always makes you think when you take away the key foundation of the way we live our lives, fossil fuels, the whole system would very quickly fall apart.

Dougal has had a great start to his day which unfortunately began at 6.00 am when sitting on the windowsill starting shouting at the deer on the road, he has a lot to say for some-one so young. Then when I took him along the road to Culduie he met his first otter when we were on the way back home. A young otter scooted across the road in front of him into the sea, luckily for him it was young and fast as Dougal verses an otter would only have one result. Busy and varied couple of weeks coming up so better get on with it.

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