Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Loch Etive and the empty mussel beds

The last time I went through the narrows at Bonawe, the waves were around three foot high and very close together as a force seven gust battled with the incoming tide. The waters were very confused and so was I but the boat made it through safely. This time the wind had dropped to nothing and only the tide rippled the surface.

I got a good look at the quarry workings when I past the narrowest part of the loch. The Bonawe quarry is still operational and among other things, produces the gravel chips for resurfacing roads. I guess my photo shows the grader and grinder that makes the quarried rock into stone chips.

Well stone me, there are thousands of chips here.Now where is the fish to go with them ?

Just a little further up is the start of the mussel farms. This old boat which I presume is a floating store for the farms doesn’t look like it will stay afloat much longer, the hull is a heap or rust.

Then its mile after mile of deserted mussel farm beds and buoys

The ropes the mussels grow on are all piled neatly on the platforms.

The only life I saw was the silent seagulls, longing for the food the mussel farmers left behind.

It must be hard on the local workers. The farms have been shut because of a mutant strain of mussel. It's shell is very weak and there is hardly any flesh inside. The industry has stopped in the hope the mutants disappear again. I wondered if the owners lived in the huge houses to the west of Taynuilt, and if they did, how they would pay their bills now.

I was now past the abandoned mussel beds and heading for my wild camping mooring.

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