Friday, 3 April 2009

Fred in parliament with Klondyke claim.

No, not Fred "the shred" Goodwin, but Fred "the cable" Hamilton came with his daughter Ruth for a ceilidh on the Thames at lunchtime. Fred works for the Hydro board and has been married to my cousin Chris in Ullapool for 20-odd years.

That Telford-designed town on the Scottish west coast, he tells me, is gearing up for the tourist season and there is an echo of the village's old Klondyke days in the bay with an Irish-owned vessel trans-shipping fish from Norwegian boats.

The factory-ship is the Ocean Fresh, a Norwegian-flagged vessel buying blue whiting from Norwegian boats that come and go from Loch Broom. The fish is frozen on board and auctioned over the internet for human consumption in China and Nigeria.

Back in the day, before the wall came down, Loch Broom used to be filled with dozens of rusty East European factory ships, processing mackerel for the good old USSR and the quay and shops used to chime with slavic accents.

Kenny MacKenzie, at the harbour office, tells me this operation with the Ocean Fresh is going well and, who knows, maybe next year the Klondykers will be back in force.

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