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

Posts tagged ‘Uags’

To Uags and Back

Good introduction back onto the water this morning. Compared to the last trip to Uags this one went so well that on the way home it cross my mind that it was going a little too smoothly, and the only little mishap happened soon after.

Back from Italy I was informed that another sea journey to Uags was requested by the MBA. Heart sank a little as it was ridden with hassle the last time I went but back home now I realised that it only took four phones calls to organise. No idea how much stuff or what was going out but down at the pier, Jill, Angus and Liz and Jane helped load up.

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Little hiccup before that was I forgot my camera from previous night and had to nip up the road to the Inn….on the bike of course. Change of mind-set still to kick in but will when I have to retrieve items forgotten. Before it would have meant just jumping into the van, not now. With Liz on board it was out into the Inner Sound rollers, broadsides on to the northerly that was trundling down from the Arctic, before turning to the south. Easy journey with the motion square on the stern and passing the history of Ardban, Coillighillie and the Crowlins we arrived safely at Uags with a brief escort of a pod of porpoises.

Good company and just as well seeing as helpers not available meant there were just the two of us to unload. The Skye Bridge caught the eye as the sun broke through.

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With everything ashore it was just a case of taking the dressed wood up to the bothy along with a couple of boxes and stacking the rest on the grass, weighed down.

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Bothy is well made out and the guys have done a great job on it.

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I always feel a little sadness when I look around that is only alive in memories and these fade over the ages.

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A comment made by Steve comparing what was the Scottish example of the village I saw in Lombardy would be. Ruins and desolate hillside, well here it is. When I first came to live in Toscaig in the early 80s Danny Mor was living up the road from us and he had come from Uags.

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On the voyage back we hit a bit of roughish weather and were butting into a strong northerly, so no surprise , the rope snaps on the dingy. Off round to pick it up again with new rope and boat hook at the ready. Under way again when this time the ring is pulled out of the painter bracket. Around again using the last bracket with a back up rope around the seat to get home. Passed a sentinel on the way in to the mooring but he let me in as I have fed many of his mates over the years. What goes round, comes round.

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Yesterday the weather was cruel, horizontal sleet and hail squalls accompanying a north westerly gale.

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No intention to do anything at sea so good opportunity to learn a little more about wood from Clive www.scottishwoodlandskillcentre.co.uk/ Absorbing to learn how to stack wood and the art of drying it and getting the right moisture levels for the right burning.

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Neat little Scandinavian candle burning outside in the gale as well.

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This was another event organised by Applecross Energy Efficiency www.spanglefish.com/applecrossenergyefficiency/ and was preceded the day before by a domestic chainsaw course. All left with what they came with seemingly. Lots more but work calls.

MBA Delivery to Uags

Coming down from my Knoydart/Doune high, been told to “stop going on about it”, it has been a case of getting into as much of  a routine as one does here. We had taken on a trip out to Uags for the Mountain Bothy Association to transport a load of building materials on the Varuna. The first bit was very easy and after an hour’s work the boat was loaded up and back on the moorings with the intention of me taking the equipment round in the morning.

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Sunday morning and I decided to pull out as the weather was not suitable and went off to the Inn where things have generally quitened down with the occasional busy spell. The weather turned out to be not too bad but I had taken the decision and that was really all that was too it. As in Knoydart, when Andy decided that the trip to Airor was not on it was not on. Land people look out to sea and see it differently, on shore winds, half hour calm periods in between squalls are seen as reasons for going/not going. On Monday and Tuesday mornings the decision not to go was taken again and were ready for a weather window yesterday early doors. And so it was, turning up at the pier at the back of six, the Varuna in at the pier, and loading up enough food for a battalion, we were off south. Loaded to the scuppers and towing a “mussel farm” dingy we did a slow 6 knots. The weather stayed reasonably calm and we embarked on a rapid transfer of 4×2 lengths of timber, 8×4 sheets of ply, fire places, cement, glass,sand, tools, wheel barrow and last but not least, the food. This was all done on my wee 10 ft Orkney longliner with a constant eye to the west. While I had no problem with the operation the stress levels were way up and my constant thought was ” I must learn to say NO’. But I did leave a bunch of volunteers happy with their lot and ready to get stuck into what looked like a major renovation of the Uags Bothy. No photos of the unloading due to health and safety regulations although I think I was being filmed by Steve from the Varuna as I headed ashore with load after load. Wonder if you could go out there when it was done and squat in it. Be a nice place to live!!

It did turn out to be  a weather window and the squally westerly window increased again but not before I got home. Up to and past the farm with Dougal and Co as Alison is away at the CBS conference with Sean and George. Working tonight so have to tire them out a little. Eilidh ended up well exercised as she decided to run with the deer. Not often, but she sneaks of before you notice and is on the hill out of sight. Back to the Inn and loaded the other better behaved ones to go back up the Tore Garve path where I meet her trotting down the track with not a care in the world. We were walking through the Carnoch plantation when she took off. I find this place very moody and dark but in between squalls, patches of sunlight lite up the path.

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You come across a cleared settlement in the middle of the wood and it feels quite eerie to me. I have this feeling when visiting places like Hallaig on Raasay and you connect in some ways to the pre Clearance times when the indigenous population was shoved off the better land. Now there is a Sitka spruce forest where people used to live….maybe there will be affordable housing there when it is all felled and people will be living and working again where they used to.

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With Eilidh back in tow, and in better frame of mind looking around you were able to appreciate the spring blooms.

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Before work and in between the showers it was a catch up in the garden with the Charlottes, Sharp Express, Red Duke of Yorks and some Roosters all in the ground with some fine manure. Then on to setting up some tomato plants in the porch kindly given to me by Torquil at Tore and peas, beans in the toilet roll inners with some beetroot and carrots in the new raised beds topped of with more “fertiliser”. Quieter evening at the Inn and home tired after a long day which started falling out of bed at 5.15am. Came across my first dog that had wheat intolerance and another which had a little tankard and stopped off for a wee sup of beer, responsible drinker though as he only had one. Had another chat with Gordon and Val and chatted about the heritage Centre and gaelic place names going “live’, which will be imminent. Mentioned his uncle, who is a natural sennachie, and who told me the other day about Bob Hardie who ran the Inn around the war years. Seems his previous job was chaffeur to the Bishop of Glasgow….simple a mine of information. So with another day ashore today and it is off out to the garden again although noticeably colder today.

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