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

Posts tagged ‘prawns’

The Parrot Visiting from Germany

It is beginning to seem that I could start any post with, “a bit of variety this week” and that was certainly the case this week. Going back into the time line of the last post to Tuesday, I had done a day’s fishing and came in to meet the ladies for a bit of filming on the Varuna.

They had come up on Sunday and I met them over the weekend when they had come down for a meal on the Sunday evening.

Seemed to go well enough on the day and I am pretty sure I will not be watching the programme just in case I am on it. The Bloody Project has struck again and it was good to see Graeme and to meet his partner, just finished his French detective mystery and good it was too. Interesting from the boat perspective as we could see Culduie, where the deed was done, scurrilous Ardhu, Camusterrach, the Big House and Shore Street which was Applecross village in the book.

So up to Friday and a day off. It began at 7.00am, selling langoustines to the Loch Ness Inn and ended at 1.30am on Saturday morning loading just short of a half ton of herring into the back of the van at Aird. The time in-between was the day off. We headed north after twelve, stopped for lunch at Gairloch and a trip down to the beach with the pups.

Then going further north we took a detour down the Inverasdale/Cove road, mainly because Gemma proclaims it is the only place she knows that is better than Applecross,

so it had to be seen.

It is truly a beautiful part of the Highlands and Dougal and Eilidh seemed to agree.

Another beach walk with Dougal having a discussion with the white cow, who seemed very disinterested in him.

Then off to Ullapool to an exhibition/private showing of how plastics are entering our world in not the best of ways, even becoming part of the geology. Not an edifying prospect but well underway and out fishing the next day I pick up a plastic bag floating by

just to reinforce the message of the way we live has to change. Met up with Sara, a contact from the Inshore Fishing Conference and the discussion about sustainable fishing carried on to the Ceilidh Place where we were treated to some awesome music by King Creosote and Mairead Greene. Time just flew by and it was an hour later than I thought before we were back on the road home. Me in the passenger seat after a couple of Thistly Cross ciders and just as well as we were met on the road just outside Shieldaig by our local custodian, Craig. Not knowing the van he rapidly turned round and followed us down the Coast Road to stop us enquiring as to our late travelling home. Think Alison was quite excited to be stopped by the bobbies with blue lights flashing and all. Mason and Thor would have been impressed as the last time I saw them they were in said car outside the Schoolhouse. So the last stop was for the bait and salt and home by 2.00am, asleep by 2.05am and up at 6.00am to go fishing. Not even enough time to take off the wrist band.

It was hard work leaving the house at that time in the morning and staying on the couch with these two was very tempting.

Days off are tiring but the sights, sounds and conversations were all so worth it. Maybe Dougal could have done with more than the Pinewood walk at Inverewe and the two beach walks but his form was still good and he enjoyed the trip down to the Ullapool Harbour, fishing boats

and tall ship included.

So from the fishing to the shower and straight to the Inn where we had a tricky evening dealing with many bikers, a closed Walled Garden for Calum’s wedding and lots of visitors wanting to eat good food. And again on Sunday, the full twelve-hour shift, with a half hour for a bit of food. Lots of good food, laughter, good craic and a parrot,

a German one at that.

Seemingly she stayed at the Inn couple of years ago and was back for a return visit. She came out briefly for a wee look around during the quiet spell in the afternoon. Busy but a well run if a times tense day and even the nine bikers who turned up at 8.55pm for a meal were happy to be served nine fish and chips. They had just rode down from Thurso, turned up late at the Campsite and came straight down to the Inn. You could not serve them so another group were treated to the Highland hospitality of the Applecross Inn. The visitors were from all over, Kazakstan to Holland and all parts in-between. Hope the two Dutch girls who were to be in Mallaig for 2.00pm on Monday made it. They were to drop a hired car in Portree  and make it down the road to Armadale to catch the ferry across Sleat Sound and I think it was going to involve some hitch hiking. Good “we are all European” chat with them and while acknowledging we all come from different parts they hoped we would finally have the nerve to become Scottish in our own rights. All the european visitors are really sad about Brexit and hope that Scotland will stay around. We shall see.

Finishing on a sad note though I heard off the sad passing of John, who used to live in Applecross and worked and inspired many troubled youngsters. He also had a pretty troubled past which unfortunately caught up with him. I only have good memories of John, taking me out with No 3 and doing a spot of sea rescue before my trip to Canada with the kayak. So there was an appropriate sunset to finish off a memorable weekend and to remember him by.

So Much…..

Siting at the menu table after 4 hours work and just before it all kicks off again you wonder how on earth she runs this place the way she does. I have only been here for the weekend, granted I have also been fishing and washing creels and trying to sort a breakdown in the last couple of days, but running the Applecross Inn takes a phenomenal effort. When things are running okay it is busy, food, accommodation, drink and people all coming in and going out the door. The Dream Machine outside is also ploughing on with haddock, Aron’s ice-cream and coffee all going south as fast as it is being made or fried. As well as all this the roof needs done, the cold store gets put outside to make way for more space in the Prep room, new gas boilers and constant repairs for accommodation. For me, without all the extra stuff, this morning from just after eight it was checking out residents, taking booking for accommodation and meals for anytime this summer, bottling up the bar, cutting lemons, changing the menu board, ordering soft drinks and answering random requests from the phone, redirecting customers to the Walled Garden for breakfasts, sorting the float out for the Dream Machine and finally getting the crashed till system up and running again. Twelve o’clock now so the day starts. That plus another twelve staff, cooking, serving breakfast, servicing rooms, prepping, preparing salads…..

(The above was written in the heat of the battle just before twelve last Sunday, cannot believe that it is ten days since last post). Having said that, looking back on the photos there has been a lot packed in. The weather has been immense over the past while, to the extent of having three fires in Applecross in 24 hours. The first one in Toscaig had about ten residents and holiday makers beating out a fire across from the old homestead. The following day I called in one that started on the Coast Road, across the Bay. The opinion was that this was started by a passing car throwing a cigarette out. The Fire Brigade came from over the Hill as well as our beaters. If this had not been tackled, judging by the flames seen across from the Inn, this one had the potential to race up the Hillside behind Cruary. While the Brigade were in another one was called in at the Campsite and seems this was caused by wood worm dust coming down on an extractor fan, over heating, setting off what could have been a serious fire at the Steading. Pure coincidence/luck that the fire men were in Applecross and were diverted from across the Bay. Story is that another ten minutes and there would have been serious damage.

The week has been taken up with some long days, combining the fishing and the Inn. This is what I have been telling myself during the winter that I work the whole year during the summer months and should not feel so bad during the winter wind down. Yesterday, for example, I was up at 6.30am, fishing till around 3.30pm, landed the langoustine and squat tails, a half hour on the couch and shower before going up to the Inn till just before midnight. Finding the Inn very rewarding these days, meeting lots of folk, both regular and new arrivals. The weather makes such a difference to people’s moods and on week’s like these no wonder so many people come for a “get away from it all” holiday. And there are some who get that bit more, speaking to Ian last night and we were talking about the essence of the place, a spiritual peace. The bubble of the Inn can be left behind by walking in any direction for ten minutes and you enter a place of peaceful serenity. At a meeting last week I asked some one to describe the character of Applecross, he could not which I found a little disturbing as he is tasked with conserving it. But more of that later. I love being surrounded by people’s contentedness, happiness, pleasure of visiting such a beautiful part of the world and you try to covey to them what it is like to live here. Despite being hectic, busy, sometimes not enough time to stop and look around, the conversations you have with people like the Walkers or Ian, who obviously connect with the place, reinforce the feeling of pure joy of living in Applecross. Very occasionally there is a spare room available due to late cancellations and one such was filled on Sunday. I showed them the room and left smiling at how excited she was by the room the view and the promise of good food, a Hungarian who had just come of the ferry from one of the Western Isles having the holiday that they will never forget. You meet the world and their dogs at the Inn, so far not a Trump voter in sight, and there are a large number of Americans on the move.

The fishing had taken a bit of a dip last week but seems to have recovered somewhat on the last couple of hauls, catching enough to keep both Inns supplied. This morning there was an early start to get some langoustines over to the east coast with a regular carrier who was heading back with an empty lorry. The sights and sounds on the fishing trips are as varied as ever, some soaring and graceful,

some that jar, who is watching who,

traffic as other marine users ply their trade and make their up the Inner Sound,

natures intriguing creatures,

this being a Rhizostoma octopus floating by, I stopped to take a couple of shots but as the tide was flowing found it quite hard to manoeuvre, but pleased with the effect of the exhaust discharge on the water over it

and just the views of all the different goings on

and weather

fill one up.

Even the blackbacks have a certain beauty.

Still time for Dougal and Co to go for a wander on the mornings I do not go to sea. The advantage of being single-handed was I had time to recover on Monday morning before going out to haul two hundred creels in the afternoon to keep the Inn going. A walk is as good as a rest.

The trips home on the bike from the Inn are as good an example of the contrasts that Applecross throws up. Serving a hundred and fifty folk followed by a serene cycle home in the moonlight.

The rest of today , although the plans have not been set out properly yet, involve most of the rest of the day off with just a stop off at Aird to pick up a half ton of bait for the creels on the way home. The plan is to head north to Ullapool, eventually for a spot of music, possibly an art gallery visit and a dog walk thrown in. And it seems the weather is holding out so looking forward to a busy day off. Again so much has been going on so will try and catch up over the weekend as there was another film crew on board the Varuna and two more Consultation Meetings plus a missed CC Meeting due to tired head. Onwards. Duncan Chisholm on the stereo certainly setting us up for the rest of the day.

 

 

Capt ‘n Taneil

There seems no end of meetings to keep a Community functioning and there are many more that I do not go to. Tonight was the Community Company AGM where we saw two new directors coming forward, a retiring Chair after six years and a healthy and on time financial accounts. Many names mentioned tonight, both paid and volunteers, support from members and lots of projects in the pipe line. The latest being the proposed land purchase from the Highland NHS to build elderly/disabled housing by the Applecross Surgery and a feasibility study to examine prospects of re-establishing a ferry from Toscaig Pier along with other ideas prior to possible purchase from Highland Council. Imagine what the Community could do with access to a parcel of land….that was another meeting, this time on Friday. It was a little sad to hear the Chair say she had failed in her attempt to access land from the Trust. I do not see it as that. It is all part of the process and one day the dam will break. She had innumerable conversations about land with the Trust but all were rebuffed, but never directly, showing that this approach has been tried as well as the requests during Trust/Community Company meetings.

But suddenly there is not enough time in the day, or at least the parts of the day that you are not recovering from all that needs to be done. The recent weather has helped raise the energy levels somewhat although have to admit it was a pretty slow start this morning. Convinced myself that I was still suffering from Winter Lag and it was really an hour earlier. There is always a variety to life here. On Thursday I had the very pleasant company on board the Varuna of one of our soon to be departing Aussie staff.

Taneil came out to see what went on and insisted that I was Captain so we were Capt and Taneil for the day. Could not have picked a better day for it. In fact it was a short one as the fishing was pretty good and we had enough on board after five fleets. Stacking creels and tailing squats

make the day short and there always plenty to see, maybe attention span needs to be improved..

( Due to blip in the power lost Internet for a couple of days)

(Thursday) The variety of life never ceases here and Friday was just like that, so different from thursday. Taking some langoustines through to Loch Ness Inn, the Boss blagged a lift through as her leg had been playing up and strong antibiotics are not conducive to driving. She was having a Board meeting at the second best Inn in the Highlands and as Dougal and Eilidh were with me there was a walk on the cards, meeting was going to take three hours plus. With no real plan in mind I took the road to the end of Bunloit and took the hill walk rather than the Great Glen Way and went up Meall Fuar-mhonaidh.

Just kept walking to the time permitted and found it really enjoyable despite being a water man. As I am not often on the hills away from Applecross this is the first time I have been walking on a grouse moor. Seeing the burnt barren strips of land

where there could be varied habitation

that sustained such variety of life other than a mono culture for the few.

It was a little change for Dougal from his usual racing miles behind turnstones and oystercatchers, he was in his element  for a couple of minutes when he put up a black grouse.

The chase lasted long after the grouse was well out of sight. Up to the snow line and with views down Loch Ness and across in land to the Cairngorm a fine walk. Back to the Inn where the meeting was still going on so I headed up to Inverness to race round the usual commercial outlets to keep the business side of things going. Easily spend £1,000 on equipment, always the other side to a good fishing. The marine environment needs constant replacing of gear and capital. Good to get home though.

Back to yet another meeting, the last hopefully for a wee while regarding the Trust consultation. I reckon I have done really well to keep quiet and only interject, mainly from a realistic and tired/patient view-point. Interesting where the ” Working Group” has arrived at. A very polite version of what the Community Company has been doing for the last decade or so. We have put together a statement that has two main points.1 Improving the poor communications with the Trust and 2 The need for the Community to access land to continue its attempt to develop along sustainable lines. Bearing in mind this is a new approach from the whole Community rather than the perceived Commies who live in the Schoolhouse it has been an interesting exercise in watching the Group hold firm. Constantly brought up was the Community Development plan and again and again restoration of old Trust buildings. A Trust agenda as opposed to a Community one. This goes back to who and how the  consultants are paid, who is running the consultation and what is the agenda. The agenda is not remotely what it was at the start. This all may seem negative but I have stated time and again a win/win for the Community and Trust to work together. The perfect example would be for the Trust to sell the Community land and for the Community to develop as the Community needs and wishes. The Trust as the land provider gets finance and kudos for helping the Community to continue to develop. It will be interesting to see reaction to the statement finally sent to the Trustees, the best and politest possible, undemanding but pointing out  the situation as it is. One reaction locally was disbelief, followed by the question, “What the hell have we been trying to do for the last decade?” There will be people within the Community that will disagree strongly from the statement issued by the Working Group but we are democratic and are supposed to representing the view of the majority of the Community. I know in the past that any division has been used by the Trust to allow nothing to progress as there is a negative/passive view about the future here. So not only do we have Brexit, a pending Independence Referendum we have interesting local politics as well.

A Busy Wee Spell.

It was one of those nights of light sleep and a 5.30am start as the forecast for this week is pretty appalling for late August and do not expect much time on the water from now till Saturday. So an early breakfast for the pooches and off the moorings nice and early with a lovely sky

9Q7Q5683

 

and calm waters.

9Q7Q5681

9Q7Q5682

The intention was to get as many creels up today as possible as I do not seem to be able to catch enough to keep the Inn going for more than two days. I keep thinking that the fishing has declined a bit but it is because so many berried ones are going back. Just cannot land any now it has become engrained over the past 10/15 years now. Going north and it was still fine but the passing sailor was starting to show a breeze under way.

9Q7Q5684

Four more fleets and it was hard graft with a few things not staying where they should. last sailor passed and I called it a day after hauling 500 creels and a long splash going home, time to tail the inevitable squats.

9Q7Q5687

Treat the next few days for catching up many of the jobs that need doing ashore.

Back to Friday and after the dolphins I had planned a restful early afternoon before going up to the Community Hall to help organising a family ceilidh. Isla had got in touch a wee while ago and asked if there was anywhere her travelling group from Oxford Uni could play a gig and I had checked making sure it was not clashing with the Fishing Weekend. It did not, so booked Community Hall, organised sound and everything was set until mid afternoon phone call from Community Hall saying Music Store locked and no key. The planned snooze goes out the window and a rapid search round the community for the key to no avail. Only thing for it to avoid a cancellation was to find a Liverpudlian, a jemmy bar and we were soon in. Unfortunately the door was no more as it was weaker than the lock,

9Q7Q5606

but we were in and the ceilidh was on. Met up with Isla and the guys, all 16 of them at the Inn,

9Q7Q5608

sorted a few soft drinks out and some drinks for the band and away we went. A raffle for calendars and wine went fine and the music with some completely new dances, a Thread the Needles and Nine Pins,

9Q7Q5590

went down well, especially with the visitors and there were plenty. People who came, came to dance and it was nice to see a ceilidh with lots of kids running about, some hard to catch.

9Q7Q5596

The visitors from Toscaig left early to make more ice cream, going as well as the langoustine this summer.

9Q7Q5591

Finished up with a St Bernard’s and a Orcadian Strip the Willow. Good friendly night.

Saturday started on time but for the wrong reason, meant for an early start but the head said otherwise, Lots of painkillers got me going at the back of nine but knowing the day was set fair and the pain receding settled into a fine days fishing with the bonxies.

9Q7Q5611

9Q7Q5614

Missing my afternoon kips due to lack of time and arrived at the Inn with a bit of a back wash from the days pills but soon that was lost in the melee of the night. Tonight’s event was another charity event, a bed push over the Hill, one that happens annually and means a booking of 15 meant no tables down that end of the bar. it went well until the usual late comers. They got seated, were appreciated and all was well. Lots of monies raised and home, knackered by 11.30pm knowing I had to go back out to the Varuna to land the rest of the langoustine, feeding the monster is becoming seriously hard work.

The sunset was special

9Q7Q5623

9Q7Q5630

and waitresses

9Q7Q5633

are always around for a shot in the sunset.

9Q7Q5636

I think it was Saturday afternoon I was checking out the camera as it was acting up a bit, went out to the garden and discovered a little unusual way of sorting an error communication between lens and body. Apples,

9Q7Q5645

9Q7Q5660

mint

9Q7Q5662

and puppies were looking fine, rampant, bored

9Q7Q5665

and slightly apprehensive.

9Q7Q5675

Sundays langoustine

9Q7Q5677

 

were looking fine as were the staff.

9Q7Q5679

Langoustine cooked off so were not being abused or being mistreated. A day that was beautiful but busy again, very busy. Lots of people outside so there is not too much competition for seat and tables but dishes one way and food the other way just kept coming in and going out. Made it through to six with the help of a brownie before sitting down to a plate of squats in chilli sauce rice and salad. Life is tiring but good. Made it out the door and away on the bike after another bar glass wash up and seeing them coming in again. Brief interlude with a journalist who was doing a more in-depth view on the NC500, a bit more than how wonderful the drive and scenery is. more on how it is affecting people who live here and how they go about their lives. Every now and again you get a bit of a jolt and a group of four Italians came in for lunch and chatted a little to them. Love the sound of the language, second only to the lilt of the Gaelic, turns out that one of them was woken up in Rome 150 kms away by the earthquake that so cruelly destroyed so many lives up in the mountains to the north-east. An immediacy when you speak to some one directly connected to events that are heart-rending but distant when seen on TV. Reminds me of the couple from Nice on table 7 a few weeks ago. Pretty rapid movement on our episode with the door as a new one has already been purchased and is back in Applecross along with lock.

Applecross Games,…”Are you normally this busy?”

Seen off another Games Day and the Aftermath, although the Inn staff are still seeing to it now as there is still two hours of food serving to go as I start this post. I had an easy day yesterday by catching up on some sleep and cycling off down to Toscaig to case the croft for a bit of fencing. The outer fence of the north end of the croft has been down for a few years and that section has been deteriorating letting bracken and rushes take over. The deer and sheep quickly finished off the willow that had been growing inside the fence, but prioritising making some money meant that nothing was done to sort the problem. The plan this autumn is to have both sections of croft fenced and reintroduce a wild flower meadow below an orchard. It will have to be something that does not take a lot of time and animals on the croft is simply a no-no. By rights I should not still have my croft as I have not used it properly. Over the years I have maybe used it as an extended garden but little else. Now with a little more time and effort I intend some clearing, soil analysis, drainage and planting. See how it goes as I maybe using this posting as a bit of pressure to get things underway. Luckily I will have some good advice behind me from the Black Isle. That apart the day was quiet but aware of the busy part of the community as the Applecross Games were underway at the Campsite. I almost made it but could not find the energy and knew I needed that for the evening shift at the Inn. As ever Applecross is full of contrasts and the hurly burly of the Inn is so different from the peace and quiet just a half mile down the road at Milton.

9Q7Q4775

Came up early and soon we were ordering, serving, arranging tables for the Coghills from Skye to the Carron Valley MCC. The couple of rooms that were full we found tables without any waiting. Sometimes you think how lucky things are to work out like that but it is so well organised that it always falls into place and it is no accident. There was no sign of the Boss so we decided that there was drink involved with her visit to the Field. Good team on meant there was no reason for her to worry about anything, just Billy appearing after ten (closed early for the staff to get a night out) for a pint or two only getting the one, bit miffed but it is one of the few nights for early closing. Home by 11.30pm and asleep not long after.

Today was approached with some trepidation as some staff have had a few the previous evening and it is one of the busiest days of the year. Began by getting some more langoustine ashore

9Q7Q4773

and things were rapidly underway with the visitation by the Nicolls, all seventeen of them. Put them on two tables and it worked out pretty well as the young and older of the group split up fairly naturally. Biggest table bill I have done so far but they were so easy to look after and very appreciative of the service. The day slipped into a bit of relentless ordering of food and drink with hordes of people calling in before heading home or people passing through.

9Q7Q4783

Noticeably more Chinese on the go and mainly attracted by the NC500. It was getting  a bit fraught by 4/5 o’clock they just kept coming in, luckily for us the weather held up is still holding off so the evening shift should not be too hard. The car park extension is taking place under the careful eye of Kenny.

9Q7Q4780

He is doing a very fine job and Applecross is showing quite a few examples of his dexterity with his machine. Seems natural when working away at his job. Garden full and the bikers just keep on coming but you can see why.

9Q7Q4788

While all this is going on Rob comes in to cook a BBQ for the Games helpers/organisers and some spread it was too.

9Q7Q4817

I managed a small plate on the side just to sample of course. The lamb and monk fish kebabs, langoustine, squats were all top drawer.

9Q7Q4814

That food could have graced any tables in any top restaurant in the country.

9Q7Q4812

Meanwhile on the other tables the food just kept coming out. Isla and her mate had her eye on some langoustine tails, trying to look cute as she could but don’t think she managed one.

9Q7Q4804

Things had quietened down a little by tea time, the band had struck up again and I was away down the road with some ice cream and a Crabbies to check the forecast for Cambridge, pack a couple of bags and plan for the next week.heading to Aberdeen tomorrow to take in a Blue Deal Workshop, organised by the NEF, before heading to The Cambridge Folk Festival. Christy Moore and Afro Celts are top of the list but the list is long and there will be surprises among the attractions of Imelda May, Baaba Maal, Mike McGoldrick, John McCusker, Blazin’ Fiddles, Imar, the list goes on and on, filled with brilliant musicians. So be off-line for a week or so but taking photos and meeting lots of friends again.

A post on fb coincided with a train of thought I have had over the last few weeks regarding how we live, politics and how we treat each other and the environment. In particular as we joined the Trident protest in Inverness, we watched the inevitable vote for the renewal of our weapons of mass destruction. jobs was rather a new and lame reason put forward for its renewal, but saw in the debate how party lines are more important than common sense although some Labour MPs just cannot vote for something so against their conscience. Came across the following tweet from Gary Lineker, not often see tweets from him but worth a mention and this diagram which say it so succinctly.

Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 23.03.42

“Don’t get Trident, never have. If it’s ever actually needed we’re all screwed anyway. Spend the money on something important.” Gary Linekar. Very disturbing that in our democracy our Leader states openly in Parliament that Human Rights and the Geneva Convention mean less to her than killing a 100,000 people in the so-called “Defense of our Nation” using illegal WMD. Sometimes up in the remote North West it is easier to envelope oneself in the busy day-to-day life of Applecross than contemplate huge issues such as building weapons that we cannot surely use in any circumstances with money we have not got and Climate Change. We are busily setting records of ice melt and high temperatures around the world which only merit a sentence in the News Bulletin but if some one walks into an office in parliament then headlines are written about Parliamentary privileges being broken. Life is more simple up here with just a few petty disturbances and on the whole you get what you see. Stick to sorting out the croft maybe not so simple.

9Q7Q4771

Three Medium and One Large.

On the water on Saturdays are a pleasure if it was just listening to Radio Scotland and Radio 4, but one does pass the odd tired bod.

9Q7Q4245

The variety is huge from hearing the weekend News going into Shereen and guests where you pick up fascinating pieces like the interview with Mary Miller. A minister’s wife who refused a comfortable manse in a safe suburb to living in a Castlemilk council house where John Miller preached. She was one of the founding members of the Jeely Piece Club, a group of mothers who were fed up with the cycle of drugs and poverty of the estate. You also get a round-up of what has over the week, the Referendum over Europe is never far away.  Then over on R4 you are taken to Angola and the problems of falling oil revenues, sewage in the streets of Luanda, but the rich are remaining rich and the poor are even poorer. Then the humour of Aff the Ball where Sally Magnusson comes on and talks Pee. Yep, seems she has written a book about urine. Has an important place in history, it turns out, French baguettes in medieval times had urine in them as there appears to be yeast in the pee.  The fishing was excellent, first creel had 3 medium and 1 large langoustine in it and from then on very enjoyable quantities coming aboard,

9Q7Q4250

and only had to haul five fleets, 275 creels, to keep the Inn going over the weekend. They are selling huge amounts of langoustines at the moment, both whole in lemon and garlic butter and half pints as a sharing starter. The mayo buckets have the whole ones while the ones ready for tailing are in the basket.

I am not one for taking lots of food photos but thought the seafood pasta of the other evening

9Q7Q4199

deserved one as did the view out west with the mist rolling over the north end of Raasay,

9Q7Q4202

should have been the warning that there may have to be a later start the next morning.

9Q7Q4205

Like every morning, bar one, this week the starts have been early and the first “job” of the day is to return the sheep south. Wednesday was a particularly early start, just after four and was about to head out to sea, after a breakfast, when the mist rolled in.

9Q7Q4216

It was pretty dark around the moorings and did not lift till around ten. Ardubh did look mysterious in the fog.

9Q7Q4221

Cannot say I am too bothered about the sheep coming up the road, other than the lack of sleep. Some things never change and even as the deer fence was being built I knew the sheep were never going to go out onto the hill for the summer. A pity but sometimes you have to live with rural idiosyncrasies. One of the reasons I am keen to see them off south where they belong is there are patches of wild flowers that appear in Camusterrach that help the bees. And the sheep here are out on the hill, must be a little depressing to see the grass being taken while the village sheep here are giving it a rest. Tells you what the sheep think of the state of their native feeding. Dougal enjoys his early morning jaunts.

9Q7Q4238

Have to say the sheep are getting used to it and take off south as soon as Dougal and I open the gate. They need persuading to keep going so we have to go to the top of the Craig Darroch to make sure they are in their daytime pastures.

9Q7Q4241

On the way past the dinghy on the out hauler saw she was resting on the shore and I take that as a sign of how tired one becomes when you make little mistakes like not tying the endless line off.

9Q7Q4243

After breakfast this morning the tiredness in the legs meant another short kip on the couch before going out at half eight. Great thing about being single-handed and self-employed, you please yourself and have no one to blame for things that go wrong like the dinghy resting on the shore.

Fishing has been fine this week, with a little dip in the middle but has come back strongly in the last couple of hauls. Just as well as the Inn has turned into a Langoustine Bar with scallops and crab going well. The weather changing may slow down the output although no signs today. A passing super yacht

9Q7Q4228

made me think of Sandy in his little dingy and to be perfectly honest I know the one I prefer, closer to nature in the wee dinghy. Not sure if that is the new one but it was the Hampshire as they were booked in and cancelled at the Inn. Fair old size as you can see the Mairead M in the background.

9Q7Q4234

Took the Loch Ness Inn some langoustine on Friday and included a trip into Inverness, a dart round the outlets, Highland Wholefoods, Gaelforce Marine, Macgregors and Simply Pets. Managed a haircut before calling in to BlackIsle Berries on the way home. Four punnets of the best, tastiest Highland strawberries you could find, gone already.

Going up to the Inn for the second half of the work day and realising that will have crammed ten days work in the last eight with little respite in prospect. And that is not counting a five-hour trip picking up parts and delivering langoustine on Friday. The Inn shifts on Wednesday and Thursday have settled down a little and you are able to make a bit more contact with some customers. Lots of German and French about and we have the French-speaking Charlotte home for the month to help out in any of the linguistic difficulties.

A June Sunrise.

Not often you will see a photo of a sunrise on these postings at this time of year.

9Q7Q4083

On the odd occasion in my long forgotten youth I may have made my way home at this time of day/night. It would have been a little more enjoyable if the pressure to catch some langoustine was not so great along with getting up after a restless night and a bit of a head. Still with a 4.00am start, out with Dougal and Eilidh, removing the next village’s sheep from around the Schoolhouse, breakfast, I was away from the moorings just after half four. Almost immediately the north wind gets up and on the second fleet I was in gear. Not the best of conditions as I was worried about ropes in the propeller with gear shot so close. Several cuts to my third fleet, just the one on my first, but enough to land to the Inn to keep the langoustine on the menu board. I had landed the last of the stored ones yesterday morning

9Q7Q4057

but almost every order has either scallops or langoustines somewhere in it , quite hard to keep up. Good problem though and pleasant enough challenge. Straight to my kip to sleep through the headache and catch up with some shut-eye, nice to be landing the catch as other fishermen were passing by to go to sea. Recovered now and getting ready for an evening shift at the Inn.

Last night was fairly gentle, relatively speaking, although the days are pretty full on. A group of 15 turn up (we already have a 15 and a 7) not booked, but as usual that is okay. Seems a 20 turned up today. Yesterday the plan was to head out early like today but that was thwarted by the fact you would not be able to see the buoys

9Q7Q4062

and where I was going to fish that is imperative. You could see it was going to clear but not quick enough.

9Q7Q4065

By the time the mist cleared the wind was increasing so little incentive.

9Q7Q4067

Instead I went round to Aird for some bait but unknown to me the freezer store is being serviced so no bait, now ordered and to be picked up this weekend. Stopped for a ceilidh in the sun and sorted out a few people and problems in Applecross over a couple of mugs of tea with the dogs tolerating each other in the garden. Definitely a heat wave even with the northerly breeze blowing. On the way back round the coast, partly as a result of the Polaroid shades the colours are accentuated so a couple of stops were required

9Q7Q4071

to admire the stunning views.

9Q7Q4074

Some would conclude that as a wasted journey but when you take a bit of time out in the sun, in good company, to chat about this and that, the wonderful scenes,

9Q7Q4072

not a waste at all and as a result have my next delivery of herring sorted. The evening passed without incident, topped off with a fine venison burger made on site. Did a fuel dip at 10.30pm on the way home and ended up with Dougal as company on the cycle south. He had been up the road on a regular walk with Eilidh but the spaniel in him never says no to another run down the road. Have to remember these days when the rain comes.

Tag Cloud

Wee Ginger Dug

Biting the hand of Project Fear

Beyond the Horizon

Commentary and Sustainability Policy Analysis from Dr Calum Macleod

Lenathehyena's Blog

IT'S NOT ROCKET SALAD.........in the Land o' cakes and brither Scots

Scottish Communities CAN

Scottish Communities Climate Action Network

Beyond the Bloomin' Heather

A critical discussion of the history and politics behind Scotland's most beautiful landscapes

Jean Urquhart

following dissolution of parliament this site will move to jeanurquhart.com

justsust

Re-imagining a just and green society

Derek Bateman Broadcaster1

An ongoing dialogue

derek bateman broadcaster2

My first and last ever blog (probably)

Small Scales

fisheries and ocean conservation in Atlantic Canada

UHeye

e-learning, networking, and the UHI

Writing

It's got a backbeat. You can't lose it. If you wanna dance with me.

derek bateman broadcaster2

My first and last ever blog (probably)

Jessica's Nature Blog

https://natureinfocus.blog

Shawndra Miller

Giving voice to the world’s remaking

Hiking Photography

Beautiful photos of hiking and other outdoor adventures.

isleofronalog

Just another WordPress.com site

Life at the end of the road

the trials and tribulations of an accidental crofter

milesmack

A Highland GP on life the universe and anything...