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

Posts tagged ‘Raasay Sound’

Stag Trip with a Difference.

Stag trip began this morning, after a landing of langoustines and watching a dog otter quietly make his way into the water about ten metres away from me. You would not expect anything normal from No3 and No4 when they get together to organise a Stag Do prior to No4’s wedding later this month. No3’s competence in looking after No4 was apparent in the organising

and although they did not have the short wave radio up and running, flares and rescue training were in place along with provisions for a two night trip around Raasay and Rona.  Not too sure about the shades though.

The house is a lot quieter tonight without the discussions revolving around world politics, philosophy and psychology among many other subjects. It was a little fresher in the afternoon than forecast but by that time they should have made landfall on Rona. Prepping, carrying down the heavily laden kayaks,

and setting off all took place at half-tide

and they were heading out of Applecross Bay before twelve.

I had already decided that the weekend had caught up with me and took the day off which involved mending creels and an evening of wood gathering before having a fine meal at Mya’s PopUp Thai Restaurant. The boys may have caught sight of the odd gannet on the way across,

maybe a dolphin or two. There does seem to be a lot in the waters off the west this year. Sightings of Orcas in Loch Broom over the weekend no less.

Fergie and the Cuttlefish.

Good to be back on the water although the morning was rough enough. Put a fleet together on the way out to north of the Bay but there was still the left overs from yesterday’s northerly coming down the Sound. Only just stayed out, hauling the first two fleets was hard work. A half decent scattering of prawns helped keep me going and in due course the forecast turned out to be correct, a decrease in the strength and change in the direction meant a flat calm end to the day.


This was needed, wanting to get as many creels up as possible and still land the prawns in a reasonable time. Made it in by six and with the buckets outside and pans on the cooker the kitchen soon had them under way. Luckily the evening had not kicked off, there only being one order on the tab grab. Would have liked to have stayed out a little longer but coming in at seven or eight would have stewed up the kitchen. Weather breaking again tomorrow so that appears to be it for the week. Still lots of squats about and although the size of prawns are nothing to write home about there should be enough for the weekend. Not many boats about the Sound just now so the skuas gathered around towards the end of the day, had a half-dozen around the boat by the finish and lovely to see the diving gannet in the morning. He did not stay around. Signs of autumn in the larger numbers of berried prawns coming into the creels. Good to know there is scientific back up in knowing they survive when they are put back in. Also came across the first cuttle fish eggs of the season complete with cuttlefish.


Quite a few octopi about as well although the creels being left for the week will attract a slightly larger number. Good to come in late, tired but in quiet weather and although not that sunny, bright and clear.


A low tide and this proved awkward in the morning as the tide was with the boat while hauling against the wind. Not quite the Caribbean but there are many bright colours in the sea life of the west coast.


Struggled to rise early this morning after a night at the Inn with Fergie doing his annual trip with his button box accordion.


Busy enough early on but the weather helped with a number of people sitting outside. However, around half seven it became too cold and the waiting list for tables grew somewhat. Also making room for Fergie and his accompanying keyboard took a little doing especially as a couple of locals were eating at the big table when we were planning its move.


All ended well and Fergie struck up and played with out a break up till I left at 11.30pm. “Finbar” came out for a dance


and had just about every visitor up on the floor for a waltz.


Fergie also had the Boss in tears as he is publishing a book of a 100 tunes he has composed and one of them is called “Judy from Applecross Inn”, an honour indeed and the tears flowed…..possibly the first time this week. Fergie can still reduce a woman to tears, not bad for a man of seventy-five.

Good news to come home to with the Filling Station up and running again. I lost count of the number of people I had promised to fill up before they were leaving over the weekend. Good to see how well supported the Filling Station is by visitors who see the efforts made by the Company in providing some of the basic services needed as background to the current tourist “boom”.

A”Northerly Land”

Monday; What a day, with a lovely start.


Bees decided to take a wee look around to see what is going on. Warm in their corner although a bit early for some grub.



Majestic weather although a breeze from the north and an email from the accountant meant I stayed ashore and combined some more rapid recovery bookwork with tidying up outside and finally a late afternoon walk with Dougal and Co down across the Toscaig Regen.


Delivered the poker, which seemed to take on a “Feel the Force” life of its own in the master’s hand, and as the sun was dipping over the Cuillin


just sitting on a rock looking west


and south


with The Northerly Land playing on the Ipod waiting for Dougal to come back from his jaunt with a couple of hinds….it just can not get better.


Empty mind and absorbing the scene even for a couple of milliseconds becoming part of it, all is well, Kyleakin is looking well below the Bienne and the Bridge is lit up in the late afternoon and I think the Prosperity heading in under it.


Everything is so clear at this time of year and the light is so strong as it gets lower in the sky.


Fortunate that this is my office.


Patient granny, Jenny, waiting in the heather for her wayward grandson.


Although George’s poetry is for the glens of Caithness there is relevance to the geography of the coastal hamlets of Applecross. The Glen having been cleared as well with the houses to the south built on the edge of slopes and by the shore.

Sunday; Writing on Sunday morning , reflections on yesterday are so good. Despite a bit of a nasty headache for most of the morning the day’s music sort of blew it away. Do not want to think of the number of painkillers I have taken but the liver does not feel too tender so no more of that. Went down to the Royal Concert Hall to get tickets for the piping concert, alerted by Ross Ainslie on social media. That completed, back for a wee snooze before meeting up with Alison, she was doing something which involved shopping, I haven’t a clue what. So settling in with the IPod and in one of the seats where you can stretch one’s feet. We were treated to an astonishing display of piping from the more traditional, Angus MacColl, Argyll, through to a composition from Canada called Boraraig, selected extracts from a suite commissioned by Blas Festival, Budino from Galicia, who then played with Ross Ainslie and Jarlath Henderson and so it was half time. I have not got the words to describe properly the effect of sitting listening to uilean,small and Gallician pipes, accompanied by guitar, belting out the Fairy Dance. The obvious joy the players took in playing the tunes, I suppose you can say it is a sort of meditation, and all you can say “This will do”. The second half, by the way, was pretty dam good as well with the Scottish Youth Pipe Band. Surprisingly there are not many hours in the day at this Festival, especially when walking to and from the Concert Hall, you pass MacCumba banging out their rhythms on drums and a couple of pipers, sounding very primitive.


Some of their beards matched their ardent playing.

Evening was under way before taking a breath, well another wee snooze while not hearing about Hearts beating County, and a visit to a Tapas bar before heading over to the Oran Mor for The Northerly Land. Can only say I was blown away for the second night in a row. So different in culture to the previous night but equal in its warmth and possibly a bit more exuberant. A little hiccup on the way occurred as we were walking up to the venue, Alison casually asked if I had the tickets. Of course I didn’t,so it was back onto the underground and three quarters of an hour later and six pound down we were inside the Oran Mor to be treated to a very lively Lewis band called Face The West.


I have to express my ignorance of this band but they rocked and got the place warmed up for Iain Copeland and Co. I have been listening to this album almost non stop for three months now and to be quite frank it was a privilege to hear it live,


to hear the immediacy of George Gunn’s poetry, the brass section, the rhythms of Ian Copeland alongside the traditional instruments of Seamus, Neil and Angus. High amusement when a track was under way with no fiddler on stage.


Something must have triggered in Neil’s subconscious because although missing the first riff he made it for the rest of the track and got lots of ribbing for the rest of the set. To be fair with ten musicians and poets coming and going there needed to be an awareness of what was going on that was more than usual. And no surprise but one or two guys turn up who you have a faint recognition of.


A fine night and catching up with Rob today, a lot shorter than his, but we had more to do tomorrow.

So imagine sitting on top of a wee hill just to the west of Toscaig looking out over the Sound watching the sun sinking through the broken clouds over the Cuillin with the words of George Gunn and the rhythms of Iain Copeland in the air.


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