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

Posts tagged ‘raft race’

Applecross Raft Race.

After a hard day at sea it was off to the Raft Race, three rafts this year. Hard day in that was out not too sharp but the first fleet was hauled in a really awkward motion. When it comes from two directions due to the wind swinging further round to the west it makes for a cork screwing action and slows you up crossing the deck. Uses up a lot more energy and a couple of spasms of cramp during the night is testament on the day. Due to me mentioning the Sand Track earlier I took the pooches up the shoulder before the start of the entertainment began at the Inn. A quick run down the road with the dogs to come back up and pick up Breagh’s harp as she was playing music later in the Inn. The future paddlers were out in force

mainly getting their carbs in

for when it comes round to their turn.

Usual suspects turn up to row the rafts, some disturbingly comfortable in their new outfits,

the unbeaten run continues

with girls in second,

although they did have a ringer on board.

The ringer’s partner waiting for her man to come shore.

There was a serious doubt about the weather for most of the week but good fortune was in place.

Music by now playing away

with the key board player having a sneaky sip between riffs,

and the burgers flying out, the ice cream man being the burger man for the day.

Sorry to have missed the music later but a pesto squat lobster pasta meal and off to bed before ten. The work rate at the moment is very high but taking a bit of a toll due manifesting in severe tiredness and cramps, but still feels healthy. Fishing Competition going on today and although I am in full support a day on board doing nothing does not appeal. When I am on the Varuna I never stop, whether I am steaming to the next fleet or hauling it.

Fishing Competition and Raft Race Weekend.

(Sunday evening) Not sure how far this post will go but home after another brisk day at the Inn. After landing the langoustines yesterday and thinking they would last till I was back out on Tuesday I was back out to the Varuna for another two boxes. They are playing a star role at the moment, going out to locals and visitors alike. Great to see people relishing good wholesome Scottish food in a dramatic surround and for once fine weather. Todays weather was slightly off kilter in that it was blowing a gale from the east but the temperature was up into the mid 20s and blue skies all around. A long and fairly tiring shift and when a finish at ten was offered I did not protest too much. Lots of walking involved as many folk were sitting outside eating in the Garden, Patio or just outside the Inn. All the flags out at one point and reactions to flags by some are interesting. The Polish who did not want the German flag is fair enough, bit of history there, the Swiss who do not want the French flag, and the Lithuanian who was so disappointed in us not having her flag. Maybe go onto to eBay and purchase a few. Flags are funny symbols of national belonging that some people hold dear and most people would say a region then a country. I am first and foremost a Highlander who looks to the sea for a living and a way of life. And for the life of me cannot explain why my flag is the saltire and not the Union Jack. A strange statement from some one who does not consider oneself to be Nationalist.

Back to the script, Friday and Saturday were concerned with the Raft Race, Fishing Competition and aftermath. Tricky decisions had to be taken due to weather forecast but everything went ahead as planned despite a heavy down pour as the Rafts were heading towards an exciting finish.


Lower numbers than usual but with a following wind all three were neck and neck at the finish. Working during this part of the evening and only took the camera out after it was all over. Funny to think this man


keeps my boat afloat, this being the same man later,


after over £1000 raised for Macmillan Cancer Relief Care, at the Hall shorn. The second photo was taken by Lesley Fox at the Hall. One of the best engineers on the west. The lifeboat from Portree came over,


unfortunately the helicopter was called out, the Coast Road Truckers played the night away and the Inn kept serving.


The Fishing Competition took place on Saturday without the Varuna as I was still trying to keep the langoustines on the menu and I hate standing about on the boat doing nothing waiting for people to catch fish. Also I know very little about catching so is a bit unfair on who ever would come out. My day was as usual, as it was a windy start, washed a fleet and went out about twelve,


hauled 200 creels and parachuted into the Inn till around eleven. Only the bonxies for company.




Came across an electric blue squat lobster, usually found on the line and not at 50 fathoms.


Enjoyed the challenge and did not hit the wall until after ten which meant it was very easy to drive past the entertainment going on at the Community Hall.

Going further back to Thursday and the three start to cover breaks and in for the long haul as Tarneybackle were playing after nine.


Last two times it has gone well sorting out the diners and finding the space for the band to set up. Small Inn and needs a fine line between getting it done and not spoiling the customers enjoyment. They have a dedicated following and were enjoyed by all.


I am sure they would not mind me saying that “The Glasgow Cat” is not the bar staff’s fav tune although the Boss was in there with all the actions. I was watching a follower making some slightly bizarre motions, not having taken part in the song before, and did not realise this was a request for the song. More my kind of song was their fine version of Dougie Maclean’s Caledonia, but that is the beauty of music, something for everyone. The wee chappie from Dundee got so excited after the rendition of Bonnets o’ Dundee that he stotted over to Judith and declared she had “the best pub in the world”.

Serious signs of autumn


well under way


although some of the summer bits and pieces have not finished such as the Buddleia which is still flowering away.

Monday is for something completely different.

The Race Itself.

Seems there are not enough hours to the day all of a sudden, only to be expected on a Bank holiday(sort of) /Raft Race/Fishing Competition weekend. Before going back up the road in the next hour I have to replenish prawn stocks at the Inn and take the pooches out for a wander. They are going to be on their own for quite a bit today as staff numbers are pretty thin out front and in the Bar. Break will involve cycling home and taking them out for a decent walk before going back into the maelstrom. Weather is beautiful this morning as well so day trippers may well be attracted out for meal……I suppose you have to say “Bring it on”.

Back to the Raft Race.


I took a meander back to Shore Street before the rafts made their way along the shore against the wind.


One of the rafts never made it and were pulled on board the safety boat. The boys with the legs “streaked ahead of the “white” streaks”




and the superwomen


came in ahead of the Gnomes. Above the lifeboat was joined by the Search and Rescue helicopter from Stornoway.


Ashore, the Street was full,

IMG_6215 the Airstream was working full capacity


and the local talent on display again.


Flags flying on the tables of customers watching the spectacle. Decided against bringing Dougal up to the proceedings as sitting quietly is not his strong point with so much going on.


Offshore the helicopter


and lifeboat


came together and the boys put on a serious display,




showing off their skills in rescuing seafarers.






It was well impressive and some people watching were a little emotional watching their efforts. watch avidly from the shore by the returning contestants and there was another display to come but more of that another time.


Raft Race and general mayhem.

General organised mayhem at the Inn tonight. These nights can be difficult to work as the residents still have to be looked after and families fed in amongst a more raucous background. The annual raft race took place which attracts many regulars back to the area. The fishing competition takes place tomorrow. Considering the weather this morning everything went really well with a breeze for most of the evening and a bit of sunshine thrown in. The life boats from Kyle and Portree came over and anyone wanting a trip out headed off to Milton pier. Unfortunately the Search and Rescue helicopter which does a display was called out to attend to a broken leg on Ben Nevis.

While the life boats stood off the rafts headed down from Milton to the Inn. Convincing winners were the women from the boatyards, roads ,dykes and kitchens of Applecross.

Meanwhile ashore Aaron’s BBQ was well under way, featuring pulled pork rolls, peri peri prawns,halloumi skewers with beetroot pilaf and of course the kraken ice cream.

Music was provided by  Jigginaboot ,fiddle and strings outside and this was followed by The Coast Road Truckers and they were starting their second half as I was leaving. The party was well under way with the rums, lagers, gins and drams not touching the sides. Traditionally there are several hangovers for the Fishing competition on saturday.

Quite a few characters are around on the day Francis has not been home for a couple of days and Darren, who would believe he is a ruffty tuffty stone waller?

And behind all this was the amazing backdrop of The Inner Sound. It is no wonder that the saint Maelruah stopped off here. How could he have passed such an amazing place. In amongst all this was a film crew who were putting together a pilot for a potential TV series. Not sure what about but answered a question or two about the place while sampling one of Aaron’s kracken ice cream cones.

And finally with The Bahamas arriving on Wednesday and Chilean divers this weekend we are up to 64 visiting countries.


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