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

Posts tagged ‘SEA’

More SEA.

Back home and easing through the day keeping a destressing headache at bay but catching up a little on what should be done using what was learnt over the last few days. Good time to reflect and try to consolidate as well. Thursday, with the usual start of taking Dougal and Eilidh for a we stretch and then the standard “Gamekeepers Breakfast” with out haggis, one has to draw the line somewhere, we all settled down to presenting the Challenge. This was to suggest a way for Lochbroom to develop further and to earn them some money. Our group went for the big picture and involved affordable housing, forest purchase and retail centre. I like the movement and purpose in the picture.

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All singing dancing but only if everything worked. Our plan had many assumptions. Was there a forest for sale being the big one. Everyone contributed at all levels but it depended on purchase and a lot more local knowledge. The broadband did not help so we never managed to put a screen presentation together. Possibly visuals and the scale of what we were proposing did not help our cause but the other guys zeroed in on a waste product difficult to get rid off and converted it into a use making money in the process. They made firelighters out of wax and sawdust, lighting a fire in the process and they rightly won. Mixed feelings and felt we “did good” but they were better. Disappointment lasted minutes and a farewells and yet another lunch followed

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where I pigged out on two desserts.

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Looking back it is always the people who make the most impact and the comments and compliments we shared with each other. Did help that Coul House is dog friendly and everyone in the group were serious dog lovers. Dougal and Eilidh were constantly asked for, talked to and petted. They were constantly excited as every time they were around they were either going out or coming in and they were surrounded by people. Issues we all have were shared in confidence and help offered and most if not all of us went away inspired. It does not appear to be just another course and is skilfully put together and even this being the second time on it there have been many benefits and insights to be investigated. Seeing a lot less of Wallander, certainly in the short-term. There was good news all around. A new job taking over a cafe, funding success in the theatre world and good fund-raising news in the renewable sector, one close to our hearts, the hydro scheme just down the road. The speakers brought in were spot on as well even the second time around and I did manage to stay awake and again always informative to find out what is happening behind the scenes. You always have trachles to sort out locally while presenting a positive image for the public, not a deception but not everyone wants to know about the negativity you have to go through to achieve community ideals. Very little time to look out the window.

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So feeling light and sugar rich due to doubling up on the amazing last sweet from the Could House kitchen it was back west to home. Not before going to Skye, catching up with a happy but unknowing mother, giving blood and hoping it wasn’t too sugar rich giving some one diabetes, finally home and straight into a nice wee shift at the Inn. Usual spread of people, local builders, retirees from North Berwick, honeymooners, and americans. Not to mention the farmer from Granton. His wife was highly amused at me guessing he was a farmer. I am going to get it wrong one of these days and will end up with a smack. Slept well with no dreams but good memories.

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So much going on on a National level but nice to see The National for sale in Applecross and sold out. Willingly gave my copy away as I am back over the Hill and have access to another. Post this in Ullapool or even Leckmelm.

Now posting this from the Gallery Cafe in Ullapool immersed in Scottish politics and fascinating.

“Calm Man” and Community Broadband.

Least said about yesterday the better as it was another “head day”. Bit worryingly soon since the last one. Possibly how I went about Monday had played a part on it. Out fishing and then the Inn where I was back and fro to the Garden as it was a lovely evening in bright June sunshine and not eating till 9.30pm since breakfast probably all contributed to a next day stopper. The fact that I am pretty ropy still may mean a little bit too much of sun on a fair-skinned West coaster was the main factor. Does that mean a “McDonald’s style cap for a shift at the Inn in the good weather?

Enough of that, as weather wise, I did not miss much at sea and I did catch the Hebnet boys, Simon and Ian, in the evening as they went back up the Tor Mor to check why the Ardhu connection was not running.

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Interesting watching and listening to the problem solving and seeing the initial post transformed into a more substantial unit. Lovely walk up there with the dogs and the view spectacular.

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Dougal and Co found the young stag who is living dangerously inside the new south coast deer fence and sent him off in the direction of Milton.

Breezy day with a stiff south-westerly blowing and another day ashore. Had a post card sent to the Inn for me which has made my week. A week ago I mentioned I had come across a Californian with his German wife and related a pompadom story and how he complimented me with the comment of “common man”. Common man would have done for me as I look askance at our insane class system where who you are accounts for too much in our society and not how you got there and not how you treat your fellow-man/woman. I got a brilliant post card correcting the compliment as ‘Calm man” in amongst the general mayhem of service at the Inn. to quote ” Calm as in the opposite of Gordon Ramsay when he so eloquently strings together entire sentences using nothing but the F word. Calm as in the house is on fire but we will tend to it when we’ve finished our beer and we get some time to spare. Calm as in not giving my wife a dirty look and saying”You don’t know what a pompadom is? Well straight back to Germany Fräulein until you get a proper education” ” The rest of the post card was just as good. I thank you Jake for taking the time out to send such card. It has been appreciated by many at the Inn and I suspect Kalie will update you and thinking back, how DO you describe a pompadom?

Training for the installation was going ahead at the Community Hall this morning and dropped in to take a couple of photos. It is a very smart system and when there are problems they can be dealt with on a laptop at home sussing out what the problem is without some one driving round the North coast to push in a cable that has come loose.

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For me it has been really interesting watching the coming together of The Applenet and CBS partnership. Having gone on the SEA course and not being directly involved in the broadband roll out but at the same time being a director and seeing the communications of all sides with every one ending up on the same page, some of that course applications has been evident. Short term frustrations have been overcome and one can see why CBS were asking for details and plans that seemed a paper exercise to people who just wanted to get on with things. A lot of effort went into the final business plan and worst case scenarios were laid out to show that the Network would not collapse for lack of finance and also build up a reserve for capital replacement. It is a simple idea but there are a lot of logistics involved to carry it out. Going to CBS we will be able to carry on round the North coast where their internet is even worse than ours, almost non-existent. It has been a balance of making sure all the is dotted and ts crossed without endangering the project with too much paperwork After the training this morning the guys are going to go out to the compiled list and start on the connections having upgraded the main relay points.

On the way back from picking up the papers noticed a colourful flower sitting in a ditch in Camusteil, suspect they may be garden escapees,possibly nasturtiums.

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Alison’s entry to the recycle peg bag competition is out on the line working away. No foxes were hurt during the making of this bag.

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Fishing,The Inn and GPs “needs”

Sun has just set and with nothing more to do this evening its good sit down and do a wee post with Babelfish playing on iTunes. Weather has held up over the last three days and I fished on all of them. Almost flat calm on all the days and the evening sunsets have been spectacular. Two shifts at the Inn as we are a little stretched at the moment with Jill away in SA and Judith heading off to the Northern Lights, taking the ferry up the Norwegian coast with her dad. People on the move as Alison is off to Dumfries with Kenny, so it is just me Dougal,his family and the bees for the next couple of weeks. Thoughts turning to a way of getting hens again and thinking of getting a mobile hen-house and run, keeping the hens enclosed all the time but moving the run about the garden.Essential as we have a resident pine martin, saw him/her popping over the school wall on Wednesday night so security top of the list. I enjoyed them last year and want them back even if it was a constant battle keeping them away from the lettuce. There is a proliferation of fowl in Applecross from Toscaig to Milton. Ducks, turkeys,geese and all manner of hens. I hope the reports of mink sightings die down. Donald has trapped three at the pier. One would have been good as maybe it would not have had a partner, but three…..

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The fishing has been so so this week although enough to keep the Inn going and a bit more. I have managed to get all my gear back working after hauling my “lost” one, untangling about 15 creels, buoying it and shooting it back and lifting anther that had been left too long. I can always make excuses not to lift creels but working on my own it is only me that is going to suffer for it so you just have to bite the bullet. I still have one on the pier to re-rope and take back out. This came up in the SEA course last year of an example of no one is going to sort out your own mess/mistakes, a principle that got me caught up with various finances I am responsible for….well almost caught up.

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Wednesday and last night at the Inn were quite hairy at times with lots of people about and waiting lists for tables but to a customer they were all good people and every one seemed to enjoy their Applecross experience. I am sure the weather helps to an extent but the craic on both nights was very enjoyable. Most people are interested in you as well and having a sort of “local”accent they tend to ask where you are from and that opens up lots of conversations from Harris to University to life in Applecross. Aron came in with his ice cream delivery and that takes things in a completely different direction….Tottenham, Moro cheffing, and of course Krotor in the 5th Element. I am going to have to watch that film. The quote of last night was after being introduced to Aron and talking to me about Monty Hall….”Can’t believe it, we met Krotor and the guy who took Monty Hall out on his boat on the same evening”. Good meeting the family from Lewes, in Sussex, staying at Clive’s and down for the last four nights. I asked the mother if she was her daughter’s sister…went down well. Taxi services were required on both nights and being left on your own front is a little scary but its all good and you feel really good when you take five, look round the bar and see seventy customers all enjoying the atmosphere, food and conversation. It’s good to be a tiny part of that.

A trip to Sarah’s at Shieldaig for my first massage for three weeks has brought everything into perspective and now chilled out. The view back across to the village from the Coast Road was lovely tonight and although the moor burning that has been going on for the last two weeks has died down, looking across to the north of Portree I see another one well under way. The one over at Achmore seemed pretty major as it was well in evidence when I was on the Sound on Wednesday and going through Shieldaig glen the burning was right up to the road side.

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Our medical issues are up and running again with the Highland Health Board advert going live again trying to recruit a new GP to Applecross. It is a problem and a growing one for rural communities. The advert is very open-ended and is asking for any one applying to come up with innovative solutions to providing high quality cover for a small resident population with a huge influx of visitors in the summer. Options like linking into another practise, even rotational doctors, cover provided through IT connections, using the practise in an educational program.  Anything goes with the proviso that we do not lose any quality of the service that we have become used to. A husband a wife Dr couple were shown round the area today and seemed quite taken with it….. The two questions that asked time and again are what is the broadband connection like and what is the housing situation for building, buying or living in. The first is in our control and is being addressed on a community level with our broadband roll out this summer/autumn and with the hope of increasing the speeds further with more initiatives in the future. Housing….. that is out with our control as a community. It would be so much better for the community if we had the ownership of a “Dr’s house” to add to the attraction of the practise.I believe there is now capacity within this peninsula to carry out a project like this and everyone would benefit if the end result was to see a continuation of our 24/7 medical cover. I have got to know our locum doctors and they all have loved this place and the people. The accommodation provided for them has left a lot to be desired. There is potential for a genuine partnership between the community and landowner to enable a critical service to continue and security of medical and educational services are an attraction to those people who may want to live here in the future. Here’s hoping there will be a solution in the offing.

And finishing with a last sunset for a wee while going by the forecast.

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