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

Posts tagged ‘Saint Island’

Saint Island

Quick photo post from Son No3 who went to St Island by kayak yesterday.Passing the Street and coming up to Milton. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Lovely sunny day but before that I missed a photo out when I was talking about the lilac tree and here it is, Margaret with some of the Flensburg guys when they went down to do a little spinning at Camusterrach when they were here in February. 10148528_10152371691548530_381425657_o 10148596_10152371684308530_1085609131_o At this time of year the gulls are hatching their chicks and the date is passed when the men used to go and pick up eggs for themselves. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Eggs now being to far gone in the growing stage. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I think I remember being told that the 22nd of May was the last day that they would pick up the eggs. Gulls dive bomb any one ashore on the island to protect their eggs. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Michelle coming in in the distance. The island was supposed to be the first landing point when Maelruabh came ashore in the seventh century. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Applecross Primary goes to Sea

Early start as a hydraulic pipe had to be changed before nipping out to set up a little string of creels for some very important guests due to arrive at 9.30am. Yet another peaceful start to the day with a little mist lingering.


Changing the pipe confirms why I am no engineer, job done in just under half an hour while I am sure it was really a five-minute issue. So it was out to the creels to make sure all was well and then in to the pier to await the kids. Six turned up with teach and a couple of parents and of out we went. Only out to east of Saint Island or to give its Gaelic name Eilean nam Naoimh. This is where it is traditionally thought that Saint Maelrubha spent his first night in Applecross.

There was a fair bit of excitement aboard but all was under control with life jackets and cautionary words. We hauled two crab pots but the crab fishing is really poor just now and only had one fairly small specimen to show them and Zoe had already caught a massive one with her Dad. Certainly fishing potential there for telling fisherman’s tales.


The prawn creels were far more interesting with a variety of crabs, shore/green, velvet, spider, and swimmer crabs. A wee cuttle fish made an appearance alongside several dog whelks of various shapes and sizes. The catfish raised the interest levels, A few star fish also found their way in, both common and thorn. Mysteriously a big prawn was in each of the creels but they did not create too much interest.


They seemed to enjoy it and back alongside the jetty I was asked a series of very intelligent questions. Afterwards I found the first question the most difficult to answer.” Why did you want to become a fisherman?”.


When I left school I joined a creel boat for 6 months before going to Edinburgh and it was a job. several of my holidays I was back on board boats and still never gave it a thought that I would be one. Coming back to Applecross with little or no useful skills it was back to sea, this during Maggie’s first big recession. Then bought my first boat still with not a lot of forethought and a mix of single-handed fishing and buying/building a bigger boat had me struggling on. It was only with the Varuna and major changes in life style saw me immersing myself in the environment of fishing and really trying to fish sustainably. I always feel that I have fallen into what I do. The one thing that has stuck in my mind, twenty-five or so years ago an elderly neighbour told me “the sea was in my blood” It took me another fifteen years to recognise her perceptive remark. Maybe she knew she was on safe ground with my Dad, grandfather and uncle all spending time at sea.

Quick trip up the road where Mike was leaving with another group and the mist slowly burning off. Dropped off the borrowed buoyancy aids.


The late morning and afternoon were spent in the garden resowing beetroot, starting off more broad beans and peas. watering and weeding. Despite all the nurturing I do I often find nature just gets on with it as this example on the wall. You would not think there was much nutrition up there.


Absolutely glorious weather all day into the evening and it was off up to the Inn after falling asleep and missing out on a Camusteel barbecue. Busy, busy evening and although must have walked miles back and fro to the Garden where the majority of people were eating felt a lack of connection with the customers. It was busy and every one enjoyed the fare on offer. It was the turn of the kitchen to get panned as there were so many more seats to feed. Strange how weather affects a shift, poor weather and front of house is spinning trying to find a seat for the customers.

Today starts with a prawn delivery and very noisy birds, followed by a full on shift. Not knowledgable on the subject so have no idea what was making the noise.


Calm still morning on the way to the Inn.


We call them relentless but enjoyable with lots of good connections. Met a guy who claimed he was conceived on St Kilda. Quite feasible going by his age and knowing the evacuation took place in 1936. Lochcarron, Germany and Inverness turned up today to get fed, well it seemed like it at five when I headed for Toscaig with Aron and the dogs to clear my croft for ploughing as a precursor to sowing the meadow. Sara and Aron live in my grandfather’s old house and he would not recognise it now. It was the other night I noticed how lovely it looks and thought the camera would have to come down next trip. The wooden end is being renovated and is going to be an ice cream parlour, possibly the first here.


So now it is some oatcake, followed by some rum and raisen and a new wonderful raspberry ice-cream courtesy of Aron.

Need Diesel to Fish.

Busy couple of days at sea and not uneventful. Gradually sorting gear that has not been hauled for a while and other boats out making the most of the good weather. The Mairead M comes out from Kyle and we are often alongside hauling creels.


This morning slightly later than normal I went to the boat and found the cormorant waiting for me. Made me feel a little guilty for turning out late.


Little too breezy for my comfort and so headed back to the mooring after hauling 100 creels. Saw some seal pups on Saint Island so headed over to take a couple of close ups and the engine stopped. Been very fortunate with my breakdowns and only had a couple of gearbox problems in 8 years and this turned out to be a bit of a mistake on my part. Last check on my fuel pipe I mistook the dye of the diesel for actual fuel and after a quick inspection I realised I had ran out of diesel. On land you just park up and head for home, On the water it is slightly different. Over the side with the anchor, a little bit of maintenance, a radio call to Kenny on the Kingfisher, who was heading in and half an hour later I was back on my moorings. Does make you think a bit though, although it should not have happened in the first place ,it did and it could not have happened in a better place.


So all that was left to do today was to bake a couple of loaves, make a tray of flap jacks, cook off the chicken stock, make the chicken fried rice for tea and then wander up to a 2 and a 1/2 hour ALPS meeting, finishing at 9.30pm, a tea in the pub and home by 11. And the tourists wonder what we do in the winter!!

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