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

Posts tagged ‘RNLI’

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.

Applecross Raft Race,(The Beginning)

Managed the first two, that is heading over to the Pier and mending most of a fleet of creels. Ardhu is becoming the most photographed hamlet on the peninsula, but it looks different almost every time you see it.


Little mishap going from the dingy to Alistair’s boat, ended upside down on his foredeck, better than the water but a wee bit undignified. Dead leg but no further damage. Busy Pier as boats being repaired, returned and setting off. Back to Camusterrach


and a chat with the ice cream lady,Sarah, love the is side of living in Applecross and always try to find time to stop and talk. Time running on so went our separate ways, me to cut a few logs and prepare some of my tea, and Sarah to prepare for a busy shift at the Airstream.

Scene set to the north


and south


and weather holding, it was up the road in plenty of time and saw the arrival of the participants, some in neat little numbers, slightly disturbing,


pixies, maybe gnomes,


cat and super women


and others.


Some organised,


others relaxed.


Lifeboat comes across to attend the start of the Race,


ready now that Skipper has arrived in a neat little black number.


So left Milton Pier as the rafts were being put to sea


and the lifeboat sitting offshore.


Just a little warning about the last photo….enough said.


Two Days, two Funerals.

Friday evening;

Met lots of good and kind folk today who had all turned out to see Rossie off in Kyle. It was an earlier start than expected as the Bealach was still closed. Gates are working as I would have tried it and had to turn around, going by the evidence on the way back over in the evening.


As ever it always seems such a long way especially as you are travelling away from where you are going to for the first half hour. The journey back is full of memories of lots of conversations, chats and reminisces. Journey over involved dropping an Applecross regular, Immy, to catch the train at Strathcarron and a carton of cream at the Waterside. Forgot the drip trays that were to be delivered to Andy,s micro brewery in Plockton, but two out of three. I never know if it the fact that you go to some one’s send off and you are slightly more aware of your surroundings but the birch trees holding the last rain drops in the still air were some how poignant and I had to stop a couple of times to take a photo or two.


Did not do them justice as I was a little time limited.


Arriving with ten minutes to spare expected to be outside and that was the case, but moved up the brae to hear the speaker. Rossie as well as being a builder was also an undertaker, one of the best, and possibly his own circumstances enabled him to relate to other people’s tragedy. He was one of the good guys with or with out his own tragedies. Lovely story that made everyone laugh….bearing in mind he was a builder he took Ann out to the garage, one year, to give her a Christmas present, already a little confused she was even more so when she saw the cement mixer all wrapped up and with a bow around it. She duly unwrapped the mixer to find a nice bottle of perfume in its depths, but still curious she then asked Rossie what’s with the mixer. To which he replied that he could not resist buying it as it was such a bargain and that when she was not using it he could use it himself!! Out to Balmacara for the interment and there was a lovely touch with the Portree lifeboat steaming up to sit in the Bay, a tribute to all his work for the RNLI, as Rossie was laid to rest. I went back into Kyle to the RNLI centre where there was a spread and a farewell of epic proportions. Stayed for over an hour with lots of good company and community chat, you realise living over here that one does become a little remote….if there was only a way for communities to come together like today with out the grief of some passing on. The little I knew of Rossie I am sure he would have loved some of the conversations that took place. It is difficult to express one’s feelings when you drive home after a gathering such this, a situation when you give and receive a hug where no words can communicate the feeling, handshakes and eye contact exchanged, all far more valuable than any thing. If I have a new year resolution it would be to remember the pure kindness and oneness displayed today. Managed to come back over the Hill and it was a remarkably short journey….always is when you head is so full of thoughts. Wrote this maybe a bit too soon after the events of the day so will see what happens tomorrow when I read back after yet another funeral, Norman’s.

Saturday afternoon;

Every one was sitting in Clachan and Bread of Heaven was on the sound system as around a third of the community had come out to see Norman off. Again thoughts of a strong community came to the fore as over seventy people attended the service. He got some gentle ribbing which I sure he would have enjoyed and answered back to. I think that it is good to hear some one’s life story as that is what it is about. Remember Son no3’s strong eulogy of his granny while at my Dad’s there were a couple of mates coming out of the church jokingly asking each other who was it that was being buried today. The traditions are different here but are slowly changing, focusing on the person who has passed on rather than delivering a sermon to those who are attending. After organising the carry to the grave side, with a near mishap, and may have heard a wee chuckle from the little Welshman, it was down to the Inn for a soup and fish a chips. He had a few hundred of these delivered by the staff over the years. Was the recipient of a personal tale of tragedy, possibly sparked off by the days events and found it quite emotional. I knew the circumstances, but hearing the detail of a series of unbelievable misfortune from some directly involved was quite a heavy task. I suppose one way to look at it is that I was honoured that he should tell me his story and if it helped him on his journey it was worth it. Talking of cheerios, there was a better one last night as Matthias and Roseanne were leaving for Germany having spent their Christmas in Applecross, two very special and gentle people who will be back in May. So two funerals in two days and now after a wee snooze it will be down to the Inn to serve the hordes again.


After which there was little to report

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