The Trust is determined to consider the environment and the protection of native species while carrying out its work across the Applecross Estate. This includes managing fish stocks in the streams and rivers, overseeing the culling of deer on the Estate, and ensuring that sustainable practices are used across the board.
In recent years, while the bigger east coast Scottish rivers still have viable fish populations, the smaller west coast rivers have faced the impact of declining Atlantic Salmon and sea trout stocks.
The Applecross is a typical Highland spate river, quickly transforming from a trickle to a torrent following a downpour. A big winter spate can be devastating, dislodging the riverbed gravel and destroying any eggs laid there.
To help preserve the native Applecross salmon, a stocking programme has been running for around 20 years. At the end of each fishing season, a small number of males and females are taken to holding tanks where the eggs are stripped from the hens, fertilised by milt from the cocks and then laid down for incubation. After hatching, they are grown in tanks before being released into the river.
These measures ensure that a native stock survives. In 2014, it was encouraging to count 30 salmon and grilse plus a few sea trout in the Rockies Pool, and another 16 salmon and grilse in the Violet Pool.
Land and Habitats
The Applecross Trust maintains a sustainable red deer population using Best Practice Guidelines and based on 5-year plans in association with Scottish Natural Heritage and South West Ross Deer Management Group (SWRDMG), over an area of 62,340 hectares.
Deer management on Applecross Estate is complicated by the 109 registered crofts within the estate boundaries, plus extensive common grazings over both the north and south parts of the estate.
Much of the area is mountainous, with grass-moorland on the lower slopes, and areas of shorter grazings on the higher faces. Within the Estate, there are some remnants of native semi-natural woodland.
The Trustees are determined that sustainable land-use practices should have an eye to environmental impacts and should not conflict with the primary objective of maintaining the natural habitats of the Estate in optimum condition. Deer management centres on ensuring that deer populations are maintained in balance with the habitat. Culling of stags and hinds to maintain stable populations is calculated to generate sustainable sporting interest.
The Trust lets the stalking on a commercial basis and the charges are assessed independently annually. The income is agreed and guaranteed by Deer Management Consultants Ltd; the majority of stalking is let to clients.
Small hill lochs are dotted across the Applecross hill and moorland landscape. A great many have Gaelic names and are steeped in local history and folklore. Some of these have populations of small brown trout. The Trust requests that anyone wishing to fish these hill lochs does so using fly only and feeds back information on catches and fly used to the Trust.
Angling at Milltown Loch is reserved for Applecross Angling Club members only.