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

Posts tagged ‘Shore Street’

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.


Followed by West Africa.

Sunday evening;It got better despite a fair bit of  ignorance about jazz rhythms of west Africa. I still do not know that much about jazz but spent a wonderful three hours down at the Old Fruit Market listening to music from the Ivory Coast, Mali and Burkino Faso. IMG_0065   IMG_0068 Hard to describe other than standing still was not an option, a great way to spend a Sunday evening. A couple of little snatches of sounds. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gT9BDmfPGhg&feature=em-upload_owner#action=share

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gT9BDmfPGhg&feature=em-upload_owner Before we knew it was eleven o’clock and another early crash. The Festival caters  for all ages, younger ones heading off to the Festival Club while the old fogies head for their kip to ready for another day. Morning was a recovery one and then we headed off to Hillhead Bookclub to have a very pleasant studenty lunch with Son No4 and Rachel. IMG_0057 Turns out that Rob, Marion and Helen were there the night before after the gig. Just found out Ardelve was at the Piping concert on Saturday.Very hip place and both there and in the evening at the jazz the Tyrolean hat was not out-of-place. Despite coming from the edge of the country one can fit in with the hip quite easily. Can not talk to much about the music a apart from the fact it was excellent  and the first time at The Old Fruit Market. Changed the tickets for upstairs so got a nice baloney view of the evening’s entertainment, all three hours of it. The rhythms were fantastic and it was hard to believe Manu Dibango was ban eighty year old, certainly did not act like one. So that is half time and already looking to this week-end. More traditional with Stockton’s Wing, Blazin Fiddles, Transatlantic Sessions and one I am looking forward to The Lewis Psalm singers with a Hindustani Ensemble. Monday evening; So it was off up the road, snow at Drumochter, IMG_7463 short stop at Inverness and then on to Shieldaig via Kinlochewe. IMG_7465 Stunning scenery on the way home, IMG_7478 always when finishing off a break the fact that it is back home to Applecross eases the pain of the holiday ending. IMG_7473 Waited for Sarah to turn up as I was early, but no bad thing as it was a beautiful afternoon in a magical wee village. IMG_7485 Needed the session, a bit painful as it has not been so regular lately. So home to Dougal and Co by evening and was welcomed home well. Tuesday; Today a bit of a non day as a touch of man flu so slummed it during the day and was out doing a shift at the Inn and just short of twenty meals served. Enough to make time fly. Not worked it out yet but having a go at posting videos. The one yesterday of Macumba was supposed to be one and maybe will be. Took a good one of George Gunn but that has not worked out either. Will get there in the end. Now it is Thursday afternoon doing a split shift at the Inn, under the weather and not fit to fish but okay to be nice to people, ten of whom are in just now but all looking after themselves. Wonderful day, just been down to the very low tide and the bright sunshine. IMG_7552 And had a look at the sparkling toilets, IMG_7568   IMG_7564 unfortunately we have just noticed the typo on the sign outside. IMG_7561 The wee service rush is over and chilling out now. Only big thing of note during the day is the incredible Baxter is now 70, as I told him this morning he has been looking 70 for the past decade especially on the Glens mornings. Toilets now open and the “official” opening will be probably next week. Reaction of those who have been down for a mosey has been really good and visitors that I have spoken to over the last couple of weeks have impressed with what is going on here. The big missing link is housing, as Audrey our councillor, was saying in the local paper a couple of weeks ago, at hose areas that managed to have affordable housing built in their communities are the ones with increasing school roles. Take Shieldaig as an example. Two children at school before they put their houses up and now fourteen. This afternoon taking the pooches, Dougal in very good form despite spending another night out gallivanting, out for a run along towards Culduie I was privileged to watch a powerful light show over to the west. Leaving the Inn I looked West and there was a performance under way.

IMG_7569 Talking to John, the fencer in the evening we exchanged stories about experiences on the hill and the water, good to talk to some one who relates to your own experiences. It was a spine tingling conversation. Have not had a session like that for a number of years. Sharing tales, but not trying to out do each other, talking and then listening. He was a good man, of the earth, liked a drink but so what. May never see him again ,does not matter, the connection was good . Raghu Dixit was saying just that, some one walks into your life does some thing good or is just good company, and then walks on his own path leaving you in a better place. Friday morning; finally going to post this week long bits and pieces before heading south again. Health decidedly ropey but mind over matter… Reading this back there can be few posts that include West African jazz concerts, Thai massage, Community run Toilets and of course Baxter.

Big Tide.

Quiet day at sea but with a strong tide. Saturday’s improved fishing is but a distant memory although I do have an extra knot of speed due to yesterday’s exertions. This little beastie came up on the shallow water out on the middle bank.


Looks like  across between a multi limbed sea squirt and jelly fish He/she is upside down and is greener than looks in the photo. Transfixed by a one to one interview on Radio4 about a TA guy sent to Afghanistan. He worked in the city and became a TA volunteer because that is what his family did. He was asked at the end if he had any regrets after his tour and his reply was so sad. He could not go there as he already was carrying the regret of killing another human being and he was suffering from “survivor” regret and if he questioned the insanity of going there he would be insane himself. I know it is a cliché but if only the “leaders” who send people into these situations would go themselves maybe we would have less insanity.


Tide was very low and went down the shore with Dougal and lots of spoots squirting away on the water’s edge. Caught short at the Filling Station today by running out of petrol. Order is in and expected thursday but a combination of lots of tourist sales and less problems, that is it has not been down much recently. So apologies to any one who is stuck for fuel over the next couple of days.


A bit more wind and the Strome ByPass.

Watching “the local road men” on ch5 just now and have to say its very entertaining. Yesterday was another windy day and it turned out there was little damage reported from the previous evening. All cars and people are now in their rightful places. Took a couple of photos from Milton Pier and the sea was still pretty restless.



Bit of variety today and started meeting with Jess about reseeding my croft with species rich grasslands, creating a meadow of wildflowers and hedging the area. I have mixed feelings about this as I remember well coming over here in the sixties and the whole of Applecross was covered in such hay meadows. This was a time when most crofts were worked and had animals on the ground. The difference then was the grounds were better managed on a community level and the animals went to the hill in the summer and there were no deer on the croft ground either. The inbye croft ground was closed off and left to grow for a hay crop.I remember the last year the gates were shut to keep the stock off in the 1980s the north end of the crofts was covered in a yellow mass of marsh marigolds. Had an elderly crofter tell me there were bees kept here then and when they scythed the hay they kept disturbing the bees feeding on the flowers. Now there is public money put to get the environment back to the way it was when it was worked properly. The problem has arisen where people are no longer prepared to pay a proper price for well reared food but go for mass-produced rubbish,devoid of nutrients, but is cheap. The hidden cost is this money that is now being spent to correct the previously healthy environment.

From this meeting it was off up to the Filling Station to reboot it again, Sean had already done 3 reboots, and finally got it going. We are approaching crisis point with our manufacturer as the system is crashing more regularly just now and we are looking for ways out of this problem. Picked up a load from our charity bin and took it over to the drop off point in Lochcarron then on to Strathcarron to meet up with Community Councillors, HC Councillors and officials to discuss the thorny problem of the StromeFerry ByPass. The process is long slow and painful but one seemingly we all have to go through. Every single option has to be examined and it is quite tedious at times even if you do know it is necessary. The language is sprinkled with lots of anachronisms such as STAGS and SMART objectives, measurability, options, bridges, tunnels, new roads and very briefly a ferry. I could not live in that world of words, budget restraints, promises, solutions etc. Escaped at 5 o’clock, got a report on how poor the weather was and glad I did not go out fishing today, seems it’s a north wind tomorrow so fishing career still on hold. Some serious gusts of wind reported on National News, 129mp on top of the Bealach and Sand reported gusts over 150mph. These trees were by the river Carron and show the power of the wind. Our tree along from Shore Street unfortunately is the one with the spectacular fungi growing out of its trunk over the last couple of years. I suppose that explains its weakness.


Just along from the fallen tree the cattle grid is taking shape and means that deer raiding the gardens and crofts to the south of Milton will be a thing of the past, although Jess was saying there is evidence the deer are having a go at the fence from the outside and there are several bulge already from their attempts to go through it.


Stormy Applecross.

Stormy night, not windy or blustery but stormy. Depending on how long it goes on for this is the biggest storm to hit here since 2005 when 20% of the plantations up the Glen were taken down. Guess what we were doing ….at the Inn at an event talking about the weather and how climate change will affect communities and how we are going to deal with it. Full on night as we had to start up the generator with the power down for a while and now we are blocked off by a tree down between the Shore Street and Milton. Quick organise who was taking who where in who’s car and off through the trees to my lift. As there was Zumba at the Hall Caroline, stuck on the southside, is ferrying guys home leaving our cars at the Inn. Alison , Jill and Zuzu get Terry’s car home and Terry gets Jill’s car home round the Coast and Judith meets Caroline to take her back north. Marie will either stay at the Inn or get some one’s car to go home to Lochcarron. The walk through the trees to Milton was a little nerve wracking, listening to all the creaking and cracking of the old trees and branches. You could almost feel their pain. Quote of the night from Aron, “It has definitely got windier since we came up here.”Always fear for boats and any one on the water on a night like this. Big tide and the noise of the surf walking along the Street was awesome.



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