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

Posts tagged ‘terns’

An Enjoyable Favour.

A little confusion reigned this morning. When taking the dogs out first thing got a request for a couple of cans of diesel for a generator. It was do that first or head for the toilets, well I did the diesel and it was just as well. Headed out to the Varuna to check her over for tomorrow’s tow but saw Donald on board and the confusing bit was he was waiting for me to tow him over today. Did not take much organising and we headed off in ten minutes. Actually a far better day for doing it especially having seen the forecast for tomorrow.


Speed was not too bad


and the trip down to Uags, round the corner and up Loch Kishorn. Lovely views over to the West, passing first Eilean na Ba


and then the Crowlins.


Toscaig next.IMG_7020

Over to the south the Bridge was lit up


and rays of sun light kept coming and going.


Towing went well with calm conditions all the way.


Weather up ahead, although quiet was looking showery and the result of the sun still shining in the south-west were some spectacular rainbows.


In the quiet weather boats were out making the most of the break.


Then for the tricky bit. I am getting good at not getting too stressed out by not thinking about events before you need to. Tied up along side the Michelle we headed in together to tie her up along the north side of the pier at the Yard. Ewen waiting for us and everything went well


with no boats hitting any thing they were not supposed to.

The Michelle safely tied up , Donald with his lift arranged for home it was just a case for me to cast off and head back to the mooring. As I was leaving Donald said something that was unnecessary “Anytime you want a favour just ask” but he still said it and like Kenny towing me in when I ran out of diesel this summer it is always good to know you are surrounded by good people. Only glad it was my turn to help. It is very much a sea code….you drop everything to sort some out who may be in a spot of bother.The reason I thought everything was happening tomorrow was another boat was ear marked for the cradle and she arrived as I steamed back out.


Past the now historic Kishorn Oil Yard’s base


and Dry Dock,


now the domain of Ferguson’s Transport and Donnie “Tarzan” Gillies.

Journey back was as enjoyable with views to the north both bright and dark up the Bealach.


Terns down here as well.


Back down the Loch was wonderful


as was the view due West just to the South of the Crowlins.


Round Uags and north to home, past the ruins of the families struck down by TB,


then on by Ardban.


Into the moorings where a big Greg was out in his Canadian


paddling amongst the eiders….well only one as I have not seen his mate yet.


All that was left to do was to drop the diesel off, up the road to pick up a couple of sirloin  steaks get a lesson involving fingers and thumbs on how to gauge whether a steak is well, medium or rarely cooked. Then back home to cook two medium rare whisky steaks to finish off a very enjoyable and fulfilling day. But not before taking in another rainbow.


Snap Happy.

Out today, the first time for don’t know how long, and for the most part very enjoyable. Flat calm


leaving the moorings and it needed to be as a couple of the fleets had fouled ends.


Not many creels involved but well twisted and in many cases had to cut the stoppers off, the rope that ties the creels to the main line. To be quite honest it was almost exciting to get out and the camera was clicking at anything that moved


and views that did not.


Some terns wheeling about,


maybe quite late in the year for around here, not sure what kind, maybe young Roseate,




and the occasional shag turned up for a bit of pout.


The shags and cormorants always seems so cross, “I’m coming for fish whether you like it or not”.


A few squid eggs on the ropes,


When the gear has been left for a while the squid lays on the inactive creels and ropes. The usual gulls


and the odd boat travelling south


but very few langoustine in the pots. Bit of rationing at the Inn. Try it again tomorrow although forecast a bit iffy. Going to resist telling visitors it is not a super market and sometimes you “can’t get what you want”. Managed to stay out till the sun dipped behind just south of Dun Can




and not before catching the ingredients for the New Year’s Day fish pie.


Amazing how cold it gets when the dusk sets in.

Yesterday was the first day of the New Year week and it was a little busier keeping me away from the Ipad. The holiday houses have filled up and there are more people staying around the area…..coming for the Scottish Hogmanay. Or if you are my age, just another weekend. A lovely bright morning


with the odd rainbow showing over the north end of Rasaay


and one of the highlights of the afternoon was a visiting shar pei,


Maisey, I think, originally bred as palace guard dogs or as a fighting breed from the Guangdong region of China. Not Maisey you understand.

Whitsun Weekend.

The deal for last night was that I would go home for my break and be on call for later. Why it even crossed any one’s mind that I would not be called out…… 6.10 and the phone rang with a slightly panicky Judith at the other end. This Inn we have never ceases to amaze me. Judith at the door with the clip board and Jill and I working the tables along with Ruaraidh M, Jess, Miranda, Jamie and Kenny G all coming out with plates of food till 9.30. I fished for two days and we were sold out of prawns by 8.30. Weather is bad for tomorrow so mediums and what we now call splitters are coming ashore in the morning. Tonight there were 64 booked plus the usual passing trade, last night it was 84. I really do not know how it happens but it does. During the day there must have been over 100 bikers passing through.

Yesterday morning did not start well as I got a phone call at 9 saying the Filling station was down again, this after it was supposed to have been fixed on Wednesday. It has been rebooted every day since!! I still think it has been one of the better things that has happened here in quite a while and I have said it before without the pumps we would be in a fair bit of trouble by now as a community. We will get them fixed and it will be an even bigger achievement when we do as we have had little or no support in trying to fix the problems. I always remember the shopkeeper telling me that when we cleaned the tanks,shutting them down in the process he lost 20% of his turnover. So no pumps would lead to possibly no shop and from there who knows. We just find it so frustrating that we are losing so many sales, the visitors are very understanding and appreciative but sometimes that is not enough.


Had an hour planned with the Guardian before work so that went out the window. One car that will not be getting petrol from any pumps again is Tom’s, a regular who comes up to Applecross to chill out for a week enabling him to carry on working with disadvantaged kids. Above Keppoch his attention was turning to the Bay where he planned to put his tent up. Back to the road and there was the stag, Automatic quick swerve and after a few end overs he used up one of his lives. Judging by where his car ended up his is a very lucky man with just a few cuts and bruises.You have to go back to the 60s for the last fatality on the Hill although there are numerous bumps and scrapes. Tom’s was a little more spectacular.


Saturday’s busy shift was preceded by another day’s fishing for the Inn and very poor it continues to be. The morning was lovely despite a breeze forecast and the surrounds coming out of the moorings as always worth a look.



My friendly gannet came alongside again along with the cohort of skuas. The big advantage of poor fishing is there are very few other boats out on the Sound so I am getting a lot of the birds around me.


Great to see the wee terns having a go at the skua tanks.


Breeze was from the south today and perfect for sailing. This yacht came out from Poll Domhain, a great little anchorage to the east of Ardban. Although open to the north no swell seems to enter the bay and provides a stopping off point for sailors heading up and down the Sound.IMG_3184

Heard a great story a couple of nights ago about a couple of wee boys who were very excited about a rare cold winter’s day where they used the main road to create a slide. They had borrowed a pair of oilskins and went up and down the road until it was a sheet of ice and they were exhausted. They retired very happy and tired at 10pm to bed. Next day on discovering one of the local worthies car was upside down on its roof at the bottom of the slide, coupled with a pair of ruined oilskins there were two little boys from Milton who kept very quiet for the next few days.

Surrounded by Seabirds

Yesterday began with a bumpy ride out to the Varuna to keep the Inn’s prawn supply going and this was followed up by a full day’s work there.


Weather was a major topic of conversation with wind sweeping down from the north and frequent hail showers. Felt so sorry for the young plants and the trees with their blossoms being stripped off. The sycamores out side took a bit of a pasting.


Unfortunately had a progressively bad headache all day and that took the edge of enjoying the shift. Despite a kip on my break could not shake it of. Vaguely heard Bertie explaining away why we are not catching any prawns, lobster and crab, saying they are there but the cod are eating them. It sounded a bit confused but I was dozing at the time so may have missed the gist of his explanation of why the shellfish fishery is going tits up.

Very late start as felt hung over from yesterday’s head. managed to get out by eleven and hauled 350 pots so not too bad a day. Dougal, being out for the first two hours of the day decided that he wanted to stay out and hid behind his favourite tree.


Knew that half pints and squats were sold out so had to try to get some for the kitchen. prawn tails take the pressure off as there is little preparation for this starter dish. On the way round to the pier the gorse was showing particularly well, good early bee food.


Gorse has it’s detractors in Applecross but I think it has its place and the war waged against it is very misplaced. Effective in the grand scheme of things and wonderful colouring as well. Was told once by an elderly crofter that it is compared to love as it blossoms on every month of the year. Passed other water users on the way out of the moorings.


Although there was still a northerly breeze and hard work hauling I found myself surrounded by ten skuas and for the first time a couple of gannets were alongside.


Another first was a skua taking a fish from my hand, tried it with the gannets but not quite. Fulmar and some tern were about as well. Had a wonderful time and takes your mind of everything. Gannets are probably my favourite seabird.


They are beautiful, sleek arrows, very mobile and are etchings of the sea. There have been gannets working in Applecross Bay for three or four weeks now.


Managed to get the catch to Robert just before six and as there was a lull front of house the pans went straight on the cooker. Fried off a few prawn tails for tea this evening with some sea salt and wild garlic leaves from the garden. Bit frustrated with the broadband this evening having difficulty uploading but in the grand scheme of things ….fairly insignificant.

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