Wednesday, 24 August 2011

The Toberonochy Lemon Shop


Each year an event takes place in conditions of secrecy only rivalled by the Bilderberg Conference, but less damaging by far to global peace and prosperity, consuming no oil whatever and attended by a much nicer bunch of people, on a small island off the West coast of Scotland.

It takes place in the open air, but participants are untroubled by the vagaries of the weather, viewing extremes of rain, strong wind and temperature as stimuli to, rather than distractions from, their water-borne adventures. In all conditions they congregate. Strong winds and adverse tides present challenges to ever-longer turns to windward; in fact one year the weather obliged with a 180 degree wind shift while the crews were lunching after tacking half a dozen nautical miles South, coinciding with high water which gave a return journey of equal unpleasantness against a cold wet Northerly and a strong ebb tide. Despite, or maybe because of, such things participants, who like those at Bilderberg are all personal invitees, return year after year.

In 2004 there was little wind and on the morning in question the fleet was becalmed under a dreich grey sky, the drizzly rain trickling down their necks. I have no photograph of that morning, as the scene was too grim for anyone to bother recording and the image above comes from a cheerier day. To add to the miserable atmosphere the Brother had brought along the Great Highland Bagpipe, with which to regale the little ships as they drifted along on the tide. 

Through the Sound came a commodious plastic-hulled vessel, which dropped anchor in Kilchattan Bay and sent a lady crew member ashore on a mission, to acquire some lemons for the gin and tonic. Asking a local resident where such a purchase could be made she got the reply "I regret, Madam, that there are no lemon shops in Toberonochy, in fact there are no shops here at all."

At that moment out on the water the Brother filled the bagpipe with blaw and started on a tragic lament, in keeping with the mood of the morning. On hearing this the lady said, obviously stunned at thinking she had gate-crashed an aquatic wake, "I'm terribly sorry to intrude on your small community in this time of grief," and made her way back embarrassed to her yacht.



Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Daring (maybe not so) Young Men in their Flying Canoes

Canoe men, all images courtesy Jeff Broome
One blustery day at the end of May I was amazed to see a fleet of little sailing machines travelling down our loch at great speed before a Westerly breeze. Soon after they were hauling out in front of the house and we were able to offer them a little shelter in our humble abode.

Their visit gave Anne and me an insight into the crusing sailing canoe, pioneered by some great Victorians and now taken to a fine modern art by these latter-day McGregors. They've now written up their exploits in Argyll in their Canoe Gossip and have allowed me to publish them as a guest posting.

"Waiting for the Tide (and Wind) - Jeff Broome
A select band of five congregated in Oban on the last Saturday in May for a cruise, initially intended to be a circumnavigation of Mull. These were myself, the two Daves, Gavin and Keith. There were no spouses in attendance as other activities, such as growing vegetables, seem to have been more attractive, although the underlying concern was that us lads want to sail too far and for too long. As things turned out this would not have been a problem. The forecast was dire for Sunday and so we weren't in any great hurry to get away. Besides, the prospect of camping for at least one night on Kerrera could not compete with the comforts of the campsite and bright lights of Oban.
Sunday turned out to be as grim as predicted, so we walked into Oban for lunch. I can recommend the freshly cooked mussels from the stall behind the ferry terminal and also the cafe found by the others. In the pub, ambitions were reined in and the plan was now for a cruise down the Firth of Lorn and to play it by ear as the weather was clearly going to be unpredictable; this option would give us both sheltered water and convenient opportunities for escape, if necessary.

Monday morning was still windy, but manageable, and the weather forecast was for it to improve, although a serious low was predicted to hit us later in the week. By the time we had packed up the tents and loaded up the boats, things were looking a lot better and we set off down the Sound of Kerrera into lumpy seas. The five boats varied in size from Dave P's ocean going trimaran down to Dave S's Fulmar. We called in at Barrnacarry Bay on the south shore at the entrance to Loch Feochan for a leisurely lunch.
The west coast of Seil promised to be rather uncomfortable and so the plan was to sail through Clachan Sound and we were in no hurry. Even so we set off knowing that the tide would still be against us in the sound, but this gave us the opportunity to explore the Puilladobhrain anchorage before going through. This is a deservedly very popular stop for yotties, it is very sheltered and has beautiful views across the Firth of Lorn to the mountains of Mull.
Clachan Sound is remarkable. It is a narrow and very straight channel between the island of Seil and the mainland which is spanned by the 'Bridge over the Atlantic', a single arch stone bridge completed in 1793. Next to it is Tigh an Truish Inn (the house of trousers!), allegedly where islanders stopped to change out of their banned tartan and kilts on their way to the mainland. Fortunately the Sound was sheltered from the wind because I found that sailing into the wind and with the tide can produce some very disconcerting effects. We had a very enjoyabl sail down Seil Sound as the wind had veered to the west a little and we made good time down to Degnish Point. The beach suggested by Keith was rejected as an unsuitable place to camp as it is rather exposed to the south and so we set off to Bagh Lachlainn on the east coast of Luing. which turned out to be a lovely sheltered location to weather a storm.

In the morning we set off for an exploration of Loch Melfort where none of us had sailed before. This took us down the Sound of Shuna and back north again where we encountered a Wayfarer being sailed by two OCSG members, Charlie and Bernie. We parted company and then had exhilarating sail up to Kilmelford in search of a café. We gathered on the road above the beach where we had landed to be greeted by Ewan Kennedy who had watched us sail in and come out to meet us. He gave us a choice: walk a mile or so to a cafe in Kilmelford Village; or accept his hospitality. Naturally we accepted his offer and spent a very enjoyable time drinking tea and coffee and eating a magnificent fruitcake that his wife produced from a cupboard. It would seem she keeps one in reserve for occasions like this when her husband invites in bands of hungry strangers. We had a fascinating conversation that ranged over the recent gales and the number of stranded yachts (four in Loch Melfort and we saw another two near Oban) and the fact that the tide didn't go out that day, Islander class boats, such as his own, mutual acquaintance with Richard Pierce, who it turns out was in the Lake District and not at home on Luing, his blog and more besides. We also could not leave without inspecting his dinghy and the restoration project in his garage.
We finally tore ourselves away and set off beating back up the loch. The weather had started to deteriorate by the time we got back to our campsite where Charlie and Bernie joined us and we had a very convivial evening around their campfire. Wednesday was as miserable as predicted and we all decided to go for a walk to Cullipool to check out the attractions of the post office, which boasts a machine dispensing Nescafe and stocks bird seed and wallpaper paste in addition to the usual very basic selection of groceries. I posted a postcard to my mum that took a mere 22 days to reach London! Charlie, Bernie and I walked around the north end of the island past the slate quarries and along the Cuan Sound to watch the tide racing through the Sound and the confused seas where the stream hits the open water.
We had a leisurely start the following morning because we had decided to head out through the Cuan Sound with a vague ambition to visit the Garvellachs. Reaching them was unlikely because we would have to wait for the tide to change in the Cuan Sound and this would not really leave enough time to get there without meeting foul tides. In the event we snuck through the sound against the last of the ebb and decided to head for the island of Belnahua. We set a cut off time of midday due to the light winds and the need to get to somewhere we could camp that night. In the event we made it within our time limit and landed with some difficulty, there still being a lazy swell and a rather steep beach. In fact Dave S nearly came a cropper as the backwash pulled his boat from his grasp. We had a very brief stay, as we were nervous about the safety of the boats on the beach. Belnahua is a bleak place, one of the 'slate islands' that supported a population of more than a hundred quarry men at the peak of activity. The quarry workings in the centre of the island are now flooded leaving a narrow strip of land around the edge with ruined buildings and rusting machinery scattered around. Our chosen destination for the night was Port Donain on Mull, about ten miles to the north. We had the tide with us and light winds and so it was a relaxing sail. Keith decided part way that his back, which had started to ache that morning, would prefer sleeping in his van to another night camping, so he headed straight back to Oban. The sun came out as we approached Port Donain and we spent a very pleasant time setting up camp and drying out.
Friday morning was sunny and warm too and we eventually set sail towards Loch Spelve. I say sail, but drifting and paddling were more the order of the day. As we approached a light breeze sprang up, just sufficient for us to be able to make progress against the ebbing tide and we made it about a mile up the entrance of the loch and stopped for lunch. We couldn't stay long because the tide was due to turn and having made a note to return and explore the loch further, we departed. The wind picked up a bit as we got back out into the Firth of Lorn and made for our starting point at the Puffin Dive Centre at Gallanach. Keith was there to greet us as we approached and to warn us of the divers in the water just off the slipway.
All in all a very enjoyable trip with some excellent sailing, some fairly unpleasant weather, good company and a new friend in Ewan Kennedy."
You can find out more about the canoe men (and women) on their website Open Canoe Sailing Group

It is most timely that the canoe men have supplied this account, in view of the threat to one of the stretches of water they sailed over from a fish farm. To read about our campaign to stop this click here:- http://www.saveseilsound.org.uk

Monday, 15 August 2011

Setting up a Website

image courtesy David Ainsley
Regular visitors to this blog will realise that my efforts recently have been largely taken up with campaigning to save Seil Sound and its wildlife from an enormous salmon farm development, which a company largely owned from Poland intend to install in this precious part of Scotland's scenic coastal heritage.

I've already posted extensively about the threat on this blog, but that isn't what the blog was intended to be about. Our campaign group, consisting of a number of local residents and others with varying backgrounds but a shared interest in preserving our ecology, local economy and quality of life, decided that we should set up a dedicated website for the campaign.

We quickly discovered that setting up a website requires a great deal more expertise than blogging and our group were delighted to recruit Garry Milligan, a computer expert and website whizzkid with a great interest in the ecology and heritage, to our ranks.

A weekend of frantic activity resulted in many days work being compressed into the time available. From a standing start on Saturday morning http://www.saveseilsound.org.uk went live last night.

Please join our campaign and enjoy the new site, which will contain lots of useful and sometimes disturbing information about the effects of factory marine farming on our delicate eco-systems.

Meantime, I've got a mass of materials gathered over the Summer on more gentle matters, which will enable this blog to return to its usual business of random musings, historical information and nice images of our West coast and its denizens.

image courtesy of David Ainsley

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Ardmaddy Fish Farm - Briefing Notes

View of the threatened site
Update as at 18 August 2011

Since these notes were prepared the campaign group has set up http://www.saveseilsound.org.uk where there are now comprehensive pages incorporating everything in the notes and much more besides. Also the group has received more information about the proposal and a number of points have been cleared up.

In particular the applicants have confirmed that when they referred to the "existing" installation in their application they were referring not to their existing operation further North but to a proposed mussel farm for which a local fisherman got a licence from the Crown Estate many years ago, but never actually constructed. Accordingly what they described as existing didn't exist and what did exist wasn't described.
 
The applicants have now provided details of their existing farm, in the sense of the one that really, actually does exist in the real world, which can be read about on the new website. What follows is the text of my original post. Please follow http://www.saveseilsound.org.uk for developments and updates.
 
I have prepared these notes for the assistance of those who are just joining the 400 or so people who have already made their views known to Argyll & Bute Council and also as an aide memoire for the rest of us.
The proposal

The operators of an existing salmon farm at Ardmaddy Bay in the Seil Sound, Argyll propose to close down that facility and open a new one further South in the Sound. They describe this as a proposed "relocation" but arguably this is misleading, because:-

1 Although not far distant the new site is much more prominent and conspicuous. It is in the centre of one of Argyll's finest visual panoramas, much visited by tourists and close to the Cuan Sound, which is believed to form a major run for the local wild fish population and is much used by passing commercial vessels and yachts.
2 The existing farm is said by the applicants to consist of six square fish cages, each ten metres by ten metres The new farm would contain two rows, each of six circular cages, described as 100 metres circumference, that is about 32 metres diameter, increasing the area involved from 55,803 square metres to 179,800 square metres. I'm not a great expert on football pitches, Olympic swimming pools or the size of Wales, but this seems a massive increase, by a factor of 3.2.
3 The existing operation is serviced by boats from Craobh Haven and the applicant's base in Loch Craignish. The new one would involve a concrete feeder and servicing barge of which the dimensions are given in one of the applicant's supporting documents. The proposed barge is rectangular and has a deck area of 26 metres by 18 metres. On top there are a number of units, including a feed silo and a personnel room with on top of this a further deck area surrounded by railings, giving a total height of about 3 metres. The structure would be built from grey concrete and surrounded by tyre fenders.
4 The existing unit has a maximum permitted biomass of 1,350 tonnes, whereas the new one would be 2,500 tonnes.
5 The proposed new unit would involve underwater lighting between the months of December and May, consisting of 2 x 1,000 watt lamps per cage powered by a diesel-fuelled generator on the barge.
6 To scare off wild-life "approved acoustic deterrents may be used if and when required."

I suggest that these features sufficiently distinguish the new proposal from the existing one to make this effectively a new proposal and not a relocation.

Further misleading statements.

The applicants state that the site has an "existing use" as a mussel farm. It is true that a local fisherman got a lease from the Crown Estate many years ago for this site (and two others) for this purpose, but he never operated the site as such. This statement may be calculated to make anyone unfamiliar with the locus think there is an operation there already. I am unable to see why else it was made.

What is relevant, but the applicants don't refer to it, is that many years ago Pan Fish Scotland were scoping this site for salmon farming and rejected it after local objections, some based on the fact that the adjacent bay was seen as a "harbour of refuge."
The applicants state:- "A Farm Management Agreement has been defined for this area and has been signed by Lakeland Marine Farm and Kames Limited." This is no doubt true but is not the whole story. There was a "Lower Lorn Area Management Agreement" in place between 2006 and the end of 2010, but it collapsed, per the Atlantic Salmon Trust:-
"Now the Lower Lorn AMA has collapsed, after wild fish interests in Argyll decided they could no longer support it. The Association of Salmon Fishery Boards (ASFB) says that this calls into question the viability of the entire policy.
The collapse is blamed on the 'serial failure of one side to the agreement to honour its commitments.' "
While the agreement between the two companies is better than nothing this history does nothing to inspire confidence. Area Management Agreements are a key part of the Scottish Government's strategy for controlling the spread of infection and sea lice and the lack of one in a largely contained stretch of water such as Loch Melfort is highly disturbing.

Nor for that matter does it inspire confidence that Lakeland Marine Farm Limited were in 2006 fined for the criminal offence of over-stocking their unit at Shuna.

Full details of the proposal and the comments received by Argyll & Bute Council can be found online here:- 


 The benefits of the proposal.
Farmed fish are by far the largest export from the Scottish economy by value at the present time, bringing in great sums to local economies not just in terms of direct employment but in the supporting industries and the spin-off multiplier effect beloved by economists. One consequence of this is that there is undoubtedly pressure on government bodies to downplay the side effects.

In the present case the applicants claim that the proposal will support "3 to 4 full-time and two part-time employees." Even in terms of the micro-economy in this part of Argyll this does not seem a lot. The automatic feeding system makes the unit less labour-intensive than a traditional unit.

One thing that will not happen is for any of the profit to stay in Scotland, or indeed in the UK. Lakeland Marine Farm Limited is owned by Morpol, an operation with numerous foreign shareholders, but mainly owned from Poland. You can inspect the list of shareholders here:-
The Grounds of Objection
The Science
As with many scientific issues where money is involved there is a furious debate about why our native fish stocks on the West coast are in proven, serious decline. Wild salmon are apparently plentiful in our great Northern and Eastern rivers where, surprise, surprise, there are no fish farms.

Marine biologists are providing convincing evidence of cross-infection between caged fish and wild stocks not just when the former escape but with the spread of the deadly sea-lice.

Many experts are worried that our waters could experience catastrophic increases of lice, one describing our sea-lochs as "bombing alleys."

The routine anti-biotic treatment of caged fish leads to the development of super-viruses.

The quantity of salmon faeces produced by 2,500 tonnes of salmon (about 400,000 fish) is equivalent to that produced by a town many times the size of Oban. Richard Pierce has calculated that the total human population of Seil has a weight of about fifteen tonnes. And the government spent eleven (or was it eighteen) million Pounds on a sewage system for them to keep our seas clean!

Very little is known about the behaviour patterns of our native sea-trout. There still are some in Loch Melfort and it is known that they run in Seil Sound.

How much pollution can the site in Ardmaddy take? I am informed that the bottom is rocky and so less able to take the constant dumping of waste food and faeces. By contrast, with a sediment bottom marine borers come to the surface and diligently clear up the mess left by human enterprise.

Finally to those who say we must eat something and why not salmon we must respond with the question "what do the salmon feed on?"

The most widely-accepted opinion seems to be that it takes three tonnes of fish-meal to produce one tonne of salmon. The fish-meal consists of sand-eels and similar fish that have been hoovered from the sea-bed, dried and processed. As fish are themselves mainly water it must take several tonnes of fish to create one tonne of meal. The industry itself claims a conversion ration of about 1.5 to 1, which seems improbable but is still inefficient.

Incidentally the destruction of sand-eels impacts on the populations of sea-birds and marine mammals too.

There is a helpful and highly readable article about all this available online here:-

Last, but I hope not least, some may spare a thought for the wretched salmon thrashing about in the cages. A very senior former government adviser in these matters considers "farming" a misnomer and told me that caged feeding would be a better term.

To all of this the industry will say, either that its methods are perfectly safe and there are other reasons for the loss of our wild fauna, or that these having already been destroyed there is nothing left to damage.

I am frankly astonished that Argyll & Bute Council appear to have decided that an Environmental Impact Assessment is not required in this case and have asked the planning officer in charge to explain the reasoning behind this. Others with better scientific knowledge than I have are also asking more detailed questions about this.

We can't expect too much from our national politicians, but local ones should be very concerned indeed about our ecology and the impact its destruction would have on our main local industry, tourism.

Tourism
While salmon-farming is important nationally tourism is the main driver of our local economy in Argyll. Including its supporting industries it employs by far the greatest number of our private sector workers.

Increasingly foreign visitors are coming to see Scotland's unique ecosystems, often bringing with them canoes and bicycles to explore her remote corners. Those of us lucky enough to be here year-round perhaps become used to the scenery, but to visitors from, say, the industrial heartland of Germany or the intensively-farmed flatlands of the Netherlands it presents breathtaking views of the unspoilt fringe of Europe.

Yachting has a traditionally elitist image, but water sport in all its forms, be it small boating, canoeing, diving or indeed yachting has always been one of the major pastimes of our island nation. Increasingly people are trailer-sailing, bringing small relatively inexpensive craft with them. There are also our excellent facilities for sea trips to see seals, dolphins, birds and other wild-life.

Bluntly, fish-farming and tourism don't mix. The sites are ugly and industrial and you won't see a lot of seals near them, because operators shoot them. (The present applicants have declared their intention to seek a shooting licence.)

In the present recession parts of our tourism industry are struggling and it's vitally important not to damage them further. This should be the main focus of our objections, as the threat to the local economy should be pretty obvious to both the planning officials and members of the planning committee.

Public Health and Safety

Seil Sound and Cuan Sound are in constant use by commercial fishermen, pleasure boats and yachts and excursion boats. Ardmaddy is a favourite spot for the Hebridean Princess and the Waverley occasionally passes near.

The proposal would make the only bay nearby effectively inaccessible, denying the harbour of refuge that was the basis for then Scottish-owned Pan Fish withdrawing years ago.

More than one half of the navigable part of the Seil Sound would be out of bounds. Just beyond the site the apparently clear part contains dangerous unmarked rocks. Richard Pierce has contributed the following:-

"This is the only sheltered safe beach landing / anchorage/ refuge in many miles of otherwise hostile coastline.  Its orientation, and position provide an unusually well protected refuge in all wind directions and tide conditions, particularly for the ever increasing number of cruising yachts and small cruise ships visiting the area....
I am concerned that by omission, the application does not fully illustrate the impact that the proposed development would have on safe navigation. For instance the submitted chart is cropped in such a way that anyone unfamiliar with the area will see no potential hazards. Reading the chart in the way a mariner does, to plot his course or safe refuge, requires a more extensive view....[which shows]... that no other vessel can anchor not only in the black zone, but in a significant region beyond, for fear of fouling anchor warps on mooring lines.                                                                 
This mooring area will thus preclude other vessels from anchoring in the shelter of Torsa from the prevailing SW and NE gales.
...from the scans it is difficult to appreciate the hazards to navigation to the North East Torsa at the entrance to the fiercely tidal Cuan Sound."
In the online version of this Richard has posted some images that clearly illustrate his point. He has also posted a photograph of a stranded yacht with the words:-

"This recent RNLI rescue was effected just a few hundred metres to the NW of the proposed cages. The unmarked submerged rocks are in what would appear to be the centre of the 'new' fairway. Thankfully these visitors made their mistake in calm weather."
You can read Richard's full posting and see the photographs here:-

This is not just posturing by demented yachties. Visitors to our waters, even from as near as the Firth of Clyde, often don't appreciate the hazards presented by Argyll's unmarked reefs and isolated rocks. The public have the right to use the sea for the purposes of both navigation and leisure. This is inalienable, that is to say the Crown Estate Commissioners do not have the power to take it away, although in the past they have come close to doing so.
Quality of Life

I have left this to the end, because I suspect a decision will be made on economic rather than on the unquantifiable effect of forcing local residents to endure constant noise, artificial light and water pollution. For local residents the effects of the development, apart from the obvious visual one, would be:-
1 The constant background noise from the day-round operation of diesel generators. The existing one at the North end of Shuna can be heard thumping all day from miles away. On Luing recently I heard locals remarking that the noise had actually stopped for a short period!
2 Periodic noise from the helicopters and supply vessels. Those of us already experiencing these know how intense the disturbance can be.
3 Lack of access to a beautiful stretch of water and shore for fishing and pleasure boating.
4 Light pollution from the underwater installations. A major joy of country living is the darkness of our winter nights.
5 Loss of wild life, resulting form the shooting of seals and the acoustic scaring devices.
6 Pollution of the sea caused by food debris and faeces.
The Irony

What is depressing about this application is that the interests of fish-farmers and others such as tourists and local residents only come into conflict when one intrudes on the territory of another. By locating farms in remote locations far away from centres of tourism and population the problems seen with this application would largely be avoided. Further the most modern and enlightened methods of fish farming incorporate:-
1 Locations on the open sea, where sea-lice is less of a problem.
2 The use of double-netting, which minimises the risk of escapes and makes it unnecessary to shoot seals.
3 Locating the units on land, or developing enclosed sea-based units where the environment can be totally contained. This puts the farmer in total control of the nurture and health of his product.
Postscript
I owe a great debt of gratitude to numerous people who have helped me to put these notes together. I have taken a lot of care with the text and have tried to make it as accurate as possible, but if you spot anything that should be questioned or corrected please let me know.
I'm posting the notes up on www.scottishboating.blogspot.com, where comments can be made, anonymously if people wish (although that is obviously not my preferred option) or I can be emailed on ewangkennedy@gmail,com.
As comments come in I will edit the text as appropriate, so that it remains up to date and accurate.
Notes prepared by Ewan G Kennedy, Kilmelford, 7 August 2011

Friday, 5 August 2011

Ardmaddy Fish Farm - The Latest

Yacht aground in centre of what would be left of the channel

The closing date for formal submissions closed yesterday with over 400 comments, mostly objections. This must be close to a record for a single application.

Despite the closing date there is still time for anyone to post a comment. Argyll & Bute Council have confirmed that they will have regard to all material submitted up to the date the actual decision is made. 

To post a comment please click here: - Argyll & Bute Council website for the Ardmaddy Fish Farm 

We have an excellent, experienced team working on all aspects of this matter, the ecological, the biological, the economic, the navigational, as well as the threat to the quality of life for local residents, who will be subjected to  round-the-clock noise from the diesel generators that power the automatic feeding systems.

One of our team, Richard Pierce of Luing, has permitted me to publish in full the text of his letter to the planning officer in charge:-

"It seems to me that this is not an application to move an existing facility. It is an application to establish a new facility,  and therefore I understand it should be considered by an entirely different planning process. Please tell me if I am right or wrong in this assumption bearing in mind the following:


1        Being at least twice the size of the existing facility, the proposed installation will require many new cages, and a service barge that the present facility does not have.  From the submitted documents it is not easy to see that the barge is 26m x 18m, with a building  approx.18m x 15m on top, which rises at least 3m above deck level. The submitted documents do not enable an informed comparison to be made. In addition there is no indication of the plant that will be installed, or the sound pressure levels thereof , and judging by the North Shuna installation this could be a very serious consideration.
Existing Fish Farm 2011



2.        The proposed new site is in an unspoiled, non-industrial, wild environment. Such areas are easily irreversibly destroyed and are increasingly rare. The following pictures may help those who may not be able to visit the site in the near future.
The proposed site is in the middle of this panorama taken from Torsa.  To the left is Seil Sound, to the right is Loch Melfort.
Looking South over the proposed site from Port na Morachd
 ...and  looking North


This is the only sheltered safe beach landing / anchorage/ refuge in many miles of otherwise hostile coastline.  Its orientation, and position provide an unusually well protected refuge in all wind directions and tide conditions, particularly for the ever increasing number of cruising yachts and small cruise ships visiting the area.


3.    I am concerned that by omission, the application does not fully illustrate the impact that the proposed development would have on safe navigation. For instance the submitted chart is cropped in such a way that anyone unfamiliar with the area will see no potential hazards. Reading the chart in the way a mariner does, to plot his course or safe refuge, requires a more extensive view: 
 

This shows the Proposed Extent of Moorings... meaning that no other vessel can anchor not only in the black zone, but in a significant region beyond, for fear of fouling anchor warps on mooring lines.
                                                                  
This mooring area will thus preclude other vessels from anchoring in the shelter of Torsa from the prevailing SW and NE gales.
        
Even from the above scans it is difficult to appreciate the hazards to navigation to the North East Torsa at the entrance to the fiercely tidal Cuan Sound.   So to illustrate:

Summer 2010   RNLI in attendance to rock-bound yacht. Not a rare occurrence.
 This recent RNLI rescue was effected just a few hundred metres to the NW of the proposed cages. The unmarked submerged rocks are in what would appear to be the centre of the 'new' fairway.

Thankfully these visitors made their mistake in calm weather."

The Wherrymen

The Wherrymen
Two old friends on the water