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

Posts tagged ‘Senscot’

A Tractor with no Wheels

Quiet couple of days although still managed a couple of pleasant shifts at the Inn, a bit of seaweed gathering and a fuel delivery from our cheery oil tanker man, Kenny. A brief excursion out on the boat to haul a few creels to check how bad the fishing still is and it was. Hauled 150 creels for very few prawns and went back in to do some work on the moorings. Changed a bridle and saw that I need new chain for next year, good to have this done as today’s forecast was right in that there was a gale coming into the moorings for most of the day. Can rest a little easier knowing things are in not too bad shape. Although pretty dull there was some bonny light south over the Crowlins and Skye.


Passing Milton loch I almost always stop now to have a wee look at the swans, love hearing them call to each other and the way they gracefully move away from you, just in case.


Yesterday while dropping off a couple of things in Milton I noticed there is a Baxter Project under way…..aiming to become a two tractor family.


While it is quieter at the Inn you end up chatting  more than what you would call working. A couple of things not on the menu board, you tell the customers and all they have is what is not on the board. Must be the description of venison loin in a red wine jus served with new potatoes and vegetables. The monk fish in that day was served in a lemon and herb butter also with potatoes and vegetables. No wonder they take their time in choosing when you add in the bog standard, rump of lamb, lobsters, duck breast, seafood linguine, it goes on and on. Got to know a couple from Dundee quite well, good chatter and interesting talking to an agronomist for a wee change. Inevitable this week of all weeks politics seems top of a lot of conversations. Quite an art, still to be learnt, to chat about next years referendum without becoming too involved in the topic. I have taken a lot of time and read and still read a lot of information about the subject. A lot of what I feel is emotion and I have always thought about Scotland as an entity, more than a region, and why not, a country. Status quo is not usually a very attractive proposition. As in many areas in life, whether at a local or regional level it is time for a little thinking out of the box. It was not that long ago I was in Sleat and saw a pretty impressive operation in how to manage a forest and it seemed aspirational. Cannot help comparing it to back home where the figures are so different no one seems to be able to turn over the profit and employment which Sleat Community Trust are doing. Reading posts, streams, papers the reality is no one can predict much into the future, although everyone is trying, as that is the only way to justify their positions. It would be nice to have more of a say in one’s own destiny. There was plenty of opinion locally that told us that taking over the Filling Station was not going to work….four years of hassle  and I took another fuel delivery today with just short of 500,000 litres  of fuel sold and we keep on going.

Not too much excitement today, just a trip up to see the delivery of fuel,


a not very interesting job for Dougal and Co,


the seaweed gathering was much more interesting. As I went up in the van I had to put a load of weed in the back to justify the trip. It is quite hard being green. So with the minutes done all that remains is to finish a Scottish quiz for Saint Andrews night at the Inn. May or may not be used, depending on how many people out and enthusiasm. Curry night at the Walled Garden means less guys at the Inn. Keeping the political theme going I came across a great quote from a slightly surprising source, the Pope. Every Friday we get an email from Lawrence, who sends out the Senscot bulletin www.senscot.net/view_bull.php?viewid=16359 and usually has something pertinent to say this time it was quoting the new Pope who seems to have a different take on things,“The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenceless before the interests of a deified market, which becomes the only rule”. Good to balance Boris’ view that greed is good.


Three days in the life.

Was going to post last night as a wind down from a shift at the pub but as it turned out I crashed about 20 mins after coming home. Busy last few days with a pub shift on thursday evening followed by a fishing day on Friday and another shift last night. The M.O.D. are still up doing trials on the range and I had the Merlin helicopter fly over me a few times on Friday. Although fishermen are not the navy’s best friends we co-exist quite happily. I really do not understand the logic of nuclear submarines, especially the bit about spending huge amounts of money on something you cannot use, I enjoy the unintended consequences of a better fishing around the range. This is basically an MPA (marine protected area) which most fishermen are against. There is an area where there are 17 hydrophones set up on the seabed with cables running from them to the Sand building where the operations are directed. This is closed off to all types of fishing with a surrounding no trawl area and the fishing does appear to be a bit better although it is still too heavily fished. It was a difficult day fishing but we did catch a few prawns despite a hydraulic pipe burst and a seized connection. I had to go into a bit of shelter to free it before carrying on hauling. Good result in that Hamish got his squats in sweet chilli sauce. I get far more pleasure seeing the seafood caught off Applecross and eaten locally. Although sometimes you get more money sending your products round the world I do not think this is sustainable in our unbalanced carbon world.

Good shift to work last night, Kenny and Dave were on the cookers last night and the food, as ever, was spectacular. There is food being served at the Inn for pub food prices where, if you were in Edinburgh for example, you would be paying double for less. The competition was the theme of the night as a group of five turned up looking for accommodation. The Inn was full but they went to the campsite and booked one of the cabins. When they came back down for something to eat I picked up on an accent and told them about the staff competition where we have guessed how many countries come to the Inn over the year. To cut to the chase it turned out that Uruguay, Japan, Latvia, Poland, and Israel were the make up of the group. It is quite amazing that in the beginning of March there have been people from 22 different countries already visited.

While walking the Dougal family yesterday morning you look around and see so much unused potential for people to live and work here. Before I came out I was emailed George Mombiot’s take on the Gamekeeper’s report on employment and sundries connected to the red deer of Scotland. He points out that in the whole county of Sutherland there are only 112 people employed with an income generated of 1.6 million pounds. He suggests it is difficult to find such an under used land mass anywhere else in the world. I have always believed that mono-cultures are really bad for a diverse environment and we seem to be surrounded by them whether it be sheep or deer overgrazing on land or the prawn trawling industry at sea. On land the bio-diversity has already disappeared where even the peat bogs are being degraded. There are signs this may be changing but it has to change with the people in mind. It does not have to be an either or. After living properly we are a part of the environment. Some institutions tend to forget this. We receive  a regular email on Fridays from Laurence who is part of Senscot. He is working in a very optimist field, that of social enterprise, but holds a pessimistic view on life. He basically views the system we live in as broken and he often wonders what will emerge. Opinions are just that but I tend to agree with him and that is why working with The  Community Company is so fulfilling. I think this is the way ahead to arrest the decline of the past few decades, at least locally. A vibrant community is the answer to many of our day-to-day difficulties.

Tag Cloud

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