The Cellardyke Echo – 4/5/2016


At a meeting of Kilrenny town council communication was received from the post office authorities intimating that the telegraph would be extended to Cellardyke immediately. The clerk also read a petition from the inhabitants of Kilrenny requesting the council to take steps to provide a supply of water for domestic purposes, the former source having become impregnated with oil and other impurities from the Paraffin Oil works at Pitcorthie. The lessee of these works Mr A G Yool having promised a subscription of £5 towards defraying the expense of making a well, the meeting appointed the Magistrates to inquire as to the most suitable site and have the grievance remedied as soon as possible ( Shale Oil extraction was as controversial then as the fracking method of extraction today)


One of the Cellardyke yawls prosecuting the salmon fishing in the firth captured a whale on Saturday. It was supposed that he fish had been chasing a salmon when it got caught in the nets.  Its capture was quite a maritime exploit. Skipper John Gardiner’s net rope was almost torn away by a tremendous jerk, while at the same time the sea, so calm before, began to boil and toss as if the boat was beset within eddying circles of a furious whirlpool. It was about midnight and the astonished fishers were wakened by the true secret of the alarm, as a colossal tail immediately began to lash the water with resistless fury, making it only too obvious that some monster of the deep had become entangled in the gear. Fortunately in addition to his two young nephews who usually accompany him in his fishing trips, Skipper Gardiner in this occasion had the powerful help of his brother, but even with this effective reinforcement, an encounter with so formidable an antagonist in size and fury was so doubtful that Mr Gardiner, thinking, ‘discretion the better part of valour’ proposed to cut away the nets, but he was overruled by his brother and his two sons, the later showed a pluck and resolution beyond their years. A desperate conflict now ensued in the attempt to grapple with the leviathan, which in its maddened efforts to get free, became, of course , more and more  entangled amongst the nets; but in one of its wild gambols the daring fishers succeeded in cleverly fastening a rope round its tail, but the giant was not to be so easily bridled, and was likely to have burst through every complicated environment, when after a fierce struggle, during which the boys nobly took part; even in the wildest sallies and plunges of the enraged kraken, if they could not do more, their encouraging cries ‘Hing on Uncle, Hing on..’ impelled to the watery combat, which was at length so far decided by the stalwart arm of the skipper, who succeeded by a dextrous thrust in planting the boat hook into the whales mouth, which being in this way secured very much like the bull with a ring in its nose, was triumphantly towed into Anstruther harbour alive. It was landed on the slip at the east quay, where shortly afterwards it began to blow and lash the ground violently. Before it died it succeeded in throwing itself over the slip on to the beach, where it was visited by a large number of people in the course of the day. It has a singularly beautiful appearance, its deep slate back and delicately white and sky tinted belly being as clear and glossy as polished glass, while those curious longitudinal folds so like the planking of a herring boat . The fish was a fine specimen of the species known as the rorqual or herring whale, and was fully 15 ½ feet in length. It was purchased by Provost Todd for 45s.


The splendid steamer ‘Heron’ belonging to the General Steam Navigation Co, while on her usual voyage from London to Granton ran ashore below Innergellie on the East Side of Cellardyke. This favourite steamer had sailed from London on the noon of Saturday with a valuable cargo and about 30 passengers.  In the thick fog the lead line was often in use, but Captain Wilson, one of the most valued officers of the company with quarter a century of service, was under the impression that the ship was in the fairway of the Forth when she ran foul of a flat ledge with such a velocity that her bow was raised many inches out of the water.  The engines were at once reversed, but the great way on the ship, and the ebb tide having set in for an hour before, she remained fast as the rock. In this situation she was seen about six in the morning by the crab and lobster yawls, but the captain thought himself justified in the calm state of the weather to take the chance of resuming the voyage with the next tide, and declined any help, though a hoe-sick passenger took the first opportunity of clambering over the ship’s side and gaining terra firma. Crowds of people soon after arrived on the beach, and the interest of course deepened with the attempt to back the ship at full sea, which, proved altogether unsuccessful. Captain Wilson seeing the result, landed his passengers, amongst whom were two ladies on their way to Dunfermline, and two soldiers one belonging the 42nd the other the 91st highlanders, who all left with the afternoon train, apparently none the worst either in person or in spirits after their mishaps, although the two ‘gallant defenders of their country’ experienced a second wreck, owing to their conveyance – a fleshers cart- coming to grief at the famous Buckie house corner. The crew of the Heron as soon as the decks were cleared made a vigorous effort to float the ship with the evening tide by shifting the cargo to the stern and also by running out anchors, this was happily accomplished, and by midnight the magnificent steamer was once more breasting the Forth as proudly as ever. She is nearly 220ft long, 600 tons and Clyde built and about 14 years old, is one of the finest steamers on the coast and worth probably over £25, 000.


Robert Christie, carter, Cellardyke, plead guilty to having committed an assault on Alexander Carmichael, also a carter, Cellardyke, during some contention about ‘turns’ on the pier. He plead guilty and was sentenced to a fine of 7s 6d.


An aged spinster residing at Shorehead Cellardyke – Lucy Moncrieff- was found dead by neighbours on Tuesday morning, Living alone, she seems to have risen to begin her duties of the day, but the vital spark had fled almost with the kindling of the fire which burnt brightly on the hearth, while the hand that lit it lay cold and stiff in the grasp of death.

Another Cellardyke fisherman has been drowned, being the fifth since the opening of the present year. The unfortunate mariner was Thomas Watson, son of Thomas Watson (Martin) was washed overboard. He was one of the crew of the Garland, Adam Watson Master. Another of the crew David Watson was washed overboard, but after being fully half an hour in the water he was rescued. While a third member of the crew John Stewart, had his leg broken. Watson leaves a widow and one child.


Norwich Fisheries Exhibition

The telegram announcing that the Jurors after three days deliberation, had awarded the premium of £50 for the best steam fisher to Anstruther Boatbuilder Wm Jarvis, was received with no little satisfaction by his neighbours. Mr Alexander Cunningham (Cellardyke) was awarded a silver medal for a miniature of the handsome boat he is now building for St Andrews owners at Cellardyke shore. It is likewise fitted up with a working model of an engine, and is otherwise complete in all the appurtenances and fittings of a deep-sea fisher. Councillor Millar, (who had until recently been building in Cellardyke), West Anstruther, exhibited a steam fishing smack model, and Alex Thomson a Fifeshire Herring boat (Alex was Millar’s foreman, who later built yawls in Cunningham and Millar’s old yard in Cellardyke) Messrs Martin Cellardyke, obtained a diploma for their fisher apparel and Sharpe and Murray secured a bronze medal for their oilskins and another for their cured herrings.


James Wallace Fisherman was charged at the instance of Kilrenny school board with grossly and without reasonable excuse failing to educate his son john, who is between 11 and 12 years of age. He pleaded not guilty but Mr John Barbour, teacher, Cellardyke, deponed the lad only attended 154 of possible 314 attendances. For his defence he said he did everything in his power to coerce the boy to attend school, but Mr Murray said that this did not relieve him of his responsibility, Wallace was found guilty and fined 5s, David Brown another fisherman was charged with a similar offence in the case of his daughter Euphemia, also of 11 years. Her attendance, according t the teacher was still more irregular, but the panel pleaded that the girl had been required at home like others of his circumstances to wait on her mother during confinement, and also that she had been suffering from a sore throat, although in his own words ‘it is poverty that has brought me here, in so far that for a time, the girl had been kept from school because of the want of clothes and shoes. No man’ he said ‘ was more anxious to have his children educated; but times had been so bad with him and his that he had been thankful to see his children with bread, not to speak of schooling’ Provost Watson defended the course taken by the school board, when the panel was likewise convicted and fined in the sum of 5s.

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