For almost 10 years two motor launch operators have competed fiercely with each other for the lucrative tourist trade, taking holidaymakers on a five-mile sea voyage to the heart of Skye's rugged Cuillin mountains to see the famous and picturesque Loch Coruisk.
David Brown, 55, owner of Bella Jane Boat Trips, was in court yesterday charged with pushing Roderick Downes, 60, a helper with competitor Misty Isle Boat Trips, causing him to fall "to his injury" on the pier at Elgol on June 8.
Mr Brown's lawyer, Duncan Burd, appeared on behalf of his client at Portree Sheriff Court and pled not guilty for the boat chief. Trial has been set for February 17 next year.
Yesterday Mr Brown said: "I am fighting this accusation of assault and pleading not guilty. It is only the latest of many false accusations against me made over the years."
Mr Brown bought over the Bella Jane business in 2005 from another operator and ever since there has been friction with Seumas MacKinnon, 63, who launched his Misty Isle Boat Trips the same year but has been doing tourist trips to Loch Coruisk from Elgol in his previous boats for the past 45 years.
Mr MacKinnon's ancestor, Captain John MacKinnon, ferried Bonnie Prince Charles to Skye to escape the redcoats after the ill-fated Battle of Culloden in 1746.
After constant claims and counter-claims between the two skipper-owners, Highland Council, which owns Elgol pier in south-west Skye, installed a CCTV camera on the pier five years ago to keep an eye on what was going on there.