Friday, 15 October 2010

The Summer Isles and Tanera Mor

After I had watched the seals and the tour boats had watched me watching the seals, I then headed for the sheltered anchorage on Tanera Mor. It is the largest and only inhabited island in the Summer Isle archipelago. I wasn’t surprised to see the tour boats stopped here too.

The island has its own Post Office which is allowed to make its own postage stamps. The tourists all seemed to head over to that stamping ground for their souvineers, while I continued into the anchorage past the fish farms.

The view over the holding nets, across to the main land and Stac Poly really dominated the scene.

I landed at the old pier which was once the working centre of a busy herring fishing industry.

But the bustling fishing industry has long gone, along with the herring in the surrounding sea.

I walked along a hidden path to the top of a hill overlooking the harbour and tried to imagine what it was like in its hay day.

The sounds of the boats off loading the fish, the noise of the gulls as the fought over the fish that fell as they were off loaded onto the pier, the smell of the fish as they were put on ice in wooden boxes, the laughter of the fish processors and the fishermen as they went about their business. Now it was as silent as the salmon swimming in the fish farm.

I felt a little sad as I went back in my inflatable. I recalled when I was a youngster watching the herring fleet landing their catch at a very busy Ayr harbour. We fought with the seagulls to get the fish that dropped from the nets and tried to supplement our pocket money by selling them to folks in the High Street. We didnt sell many as herring were plentifull. Alas, those days are long gone too.

I crossed the anchorage in silence as I tried to think back. What did salted herring taste like ? What did it look like ? I had just spent the last two weeks living on a diet of Mackerel and Pollack without so much as a whiff of a herring.

My day dreaming stopped as I approached the pier on the main land again. My trip to the summer isles was now over but the memory will linger with me for many a day yet.

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