The Cellardyke Echo – 29/5/2021 – Issue 288


The dashing North Sea clipper “Alaska” of Cellardyke has just been exchanged by skipper Thomas Ritchie for the “Margarets,” belonging to his young townsmen, Mr David Davidson. The Skipper, we believe, is induced to take this step as a veteran will do who finds his strength no longer equal to the fire of the race, and so, however reluctantly reefs his sail.


Owing to the heavy gales of Monday and Tuesday the fishermen have suffered great loss of gear, many of the nets, when shot for bait, have been torn to shreds. Very fair shots of big fish were landed by 56 boats, and the sums realised ranged from £4 to £33 The prices were—cod, 12s to 16s per score ; ling, 1s 3d to 2se each ; halibut, 3s 9d to 5s per stone; and skate. 1s 3d to 1s 6d each. The most of the fish were bought by the local fishcurers to be dried. Six Cellardyke boats left Anstruther lost week to prosecute the herring fishing on the Irish coast at Kinsale.

A Cutting from the Log

“Eiast oot for the muckle creel ” was the watchword of Tom Murray, who lived in the days of Queen Anne and as true at this hour as it was a hundred and eighty years ago. Only see, for example, the last time the sail was furled at Anster Pier. There would seem to be little to glean or gather on the edge, but how widely different is the harvest in the outer sea! The boats to leeward—that is, forty to eighty miles east of the May—realised five to twenty pounds, but the supplies to windward are the big sheaves of the year. Thus it was that by the fifty-six sales on Friday the broad quay, stretching like a great arm a couple of furlongs to sea, was once and again, as alter a snowstorm, by the white fish laid out for market. But let a single anecdote illustrate the whole. As the shadows began to fall on Monday, the boats, as if by given signals, took in sail to fish for bait. Not so one gallant craft which, like the curlew, holds her onward flight. Now the curtain falls, and nothing is to be seen save the stars at their sentinel-watch on the battlements of night, and now the sun goes forth like a bridegroom on sea and sky; but she flies on till but two hundred miles are spun by the log away from the May, when first the net and then the line is cast on the smiling deep. It is the Jessie, of Cellardyke, and Skipper Brunton has so exactly hit one of the green spots of ocean that well may the veteran exclaim : “I say, if this is no Shetland, it’s as gude,” as the well-filled hook goes thumping on the deck ; and so, by and-bye, the long run ends at Anstruther pier with the magnificent take of 490 cod, 70 ling, and 20 halibut, of such a size and condition as would have thrown Imperial Rome into ecstasies, not to count the 12 or 13 score of codlings, &c., reserved for the winter use of the crew. The seventy takes fetched £5 to £31, at such prices with first arrivals as cod 17s, and ling 5s and 30s per score ; but there was the usual backward swing, need we say after the lest whistle of the train. Several of the Fifeshire boats were caught within the circle of the gale. Happily no damage was sustained at sea, but the favourite was dismasted in Fisher Row Bay, and the Herbert Gladstone snapped her foreyard, and so was left to drift for a time at the mercy of the tide. Never, perhaps, did the fleet put to sea under more favourable auspices than on Monday. By daybreak the last sail was only seen, if seen at all, like a speck, so fair was the wind ; but by-and-by the sky was strangely overcast, and that night the hardy fisher had to watch by tiller and sheet in one of the wildest storms of the season. Telegrams are to hand telling that several had taken shelter at Aberdeen, Stonehaven, &c.; but as a rule, the fleet kept forereaching at sea with the hope of being able to continue the cruise. The fifteen Fifeshire boats have now sailed for the herring fishing at Kinsale.—Fish Trades Gazette.


On Friday evening last about 7 o’clock some alarm and excitement were created in Cellardyke by a report that a boat had gone ashore on the rocks to the westward of Cellardyke harbour. It seems that there not being enough water to get into Anstruther harbour, the “J. Ritchie-Welch” (Skipper, James Smith), was bringing up to lie until the tide flowed, when, being close inshore, the swell carried her on to the ” busses ” rocks lying to the west of Cellardyke harbour. Assisted by the flowing tide, however, she was soon got off, not much the worse of the mishap. L

LARGE CATCH of Big Fish.—The returns of the enormous quantities of big fish landed at Anstruther on Friday and Saturday of last week have just been made out, and show that there were delivered no fewer than 18,018 cod, 1056 halibut, 2961 ling, 458 skate, and 1901 coleman, making a total of 24,394 fish put out of 62 boats. The highest fished boats were the Jessie, skipper Brunton, who delivered 1191 fish, and received £33 (£4,437.35 in today’s money); and the James Ritchie Welch, skipper Smith, 1108 fish, which realised £35 7s. The money value of the total catch was about £1OOO.( £134,465.12 approx. value today)

ST Cyrus.-On Monday a carrier pigeon alighted at the small fishing village of Tangle Ha’, being the bearer of the following message from fishing boat at sea —”To Anstruther—From boat Vine, Cellardyke—1 o’clock, —25 miles off May—15 miles off Northland. Very little wind, and a little thick, but we see land north. First one went towards, Northland.—T. C.”

ln addition to the two patents, which Messrs Duncan & Black, Cellardyke, hare taken out for buoys and sea boots, and which have proved a decided advantage to the fishing community throughout Scotland, they have just secured a registered design for the improvement of fishermen’s brooks. Formerly it has always been a complaint by the fishermen that when hauling their lines or nets in stormy weather, they are often drenched into the skin by the water getting in at the side of the trousers. Owing to the construction of the flap, water is admitted freely, and in order to obviate this Messrs Duncan & Black have put on what they term ” flap-guards,” that is a piece of cloth sewed in at the sides, and when the brooks are buttoned up these guards are so placed that any sea water striking a fisherman will at once run off, and thus keep their inside clothes thoroughly dry. The brooks have now been appropriately named “Keep-me dry,” and a number of fishermen, who have seen them, have given orders for them, and speak highly of the advantages that will accrue to their class by wearing them.


On Monday morning David Wilson, aged 15, an apprentice in the bakery of Mr David Quillan, Cellardyke, was at work with the biscuit machine. While in the attempt to adjust a pin his right hand was caught by the revolving wheels, and so shattered that Dr McCallum found it necessary to amputate several of the fingers.

In the Sheriff Court on Tuesday an action was raised by John Gilchrist, shoemaker, Anstruther, against David Stewart, baker, lately in Cellardyke and now in Cupar, for a half-year’s rent of house, shop and bakehouse, lately tenanted by defender. The case for the defence was that the bakehouse had to be left after being used for a short time, because of its insanitary condition, and that the house which had been let along with the bakehouse, and had been left shortly afterwards, was of no service to defender without the bakehouse by which he earned his livelihood. The father of the defender, examined by Mr J. E. Grosset, Cupar, stated that he had complained to pursuer four times about the state of the bakehouse, the roof of which was so defective as to allow the snow and rain to enter and the floor of which in damp weather was flooded with water from a drain. The pursuer had not employed a practical man to make the repairs, but had done so himself, and the consequence had been that matters had never been put right. On the 17th of March, after the sanitary inspector and the medical officer of the burgh had condemned the place as insanitary and not a fit place in which food should be prepared, he left the premises. He had previously warned the landlord that he would not remain unless matters were put right. When he left the pursuer sequestered his baking utensils and furniture. Mr James Jack, sanitary inspector, corroborated the evidence as to the insanitary condition of the bakehouse, and said the smell arising from the damp was sufficient to taint the bread. Mr Gilchrist, pursuer, examined by Mr W. A. Taylor, Cupar, said the place bad been occupied as a bakehouse for seven or eight years. He admitted that the roof was so far defective as to allow snow to be blown through the crevices, but he maintained that the flooding of the floor with surface water, which came from an outside drain, and the unclean state of the walls arose from negligence on the part of the defender. The roof had been put in repair as soon as the weather permitted the work being done. His lordship said there was no doubt that the place had been in an insanitary condition, but as this was due as much to want of proper care of the part of the defender as pursuer, he granted decree as craved. No expenses were asked.


On Saturday afternoon George Smith, Cellardyke.  A dumb and deformed young man, was walking through West Anstruther when he was struck by a horse and knocked down, the cart passing over his body. When picked up it was found that two of his ribs had been broken, and he was also otherwise injured.

(another article reporting the same accident)

As George Smith was selling, in his old characteristic way on Saturday about the doors of West Anstruther, the fish so kindly given by the skippers, a passing horse threw him to the ground. He regained his feet and limped about a hundred yards, when he became so ill that he had to be driven to his mother’s house in Cellardyke, where it was seen that with other injuries two or three of his vibe were broken.

About 100 boats from Cellardyke will be engaged at Shetland, so that very few will be left at home in the course of three weeks.

CELLARDYKE- THE QUEEN’S BIRTHDAY.—Tuesday was observed as the Queen’s Birthday holiday in Cellardyke. The weather was delightful, and a good number left the town during the day by rail and machine.


There will be SOLD by Public Roup, (in virtue of the powers contained in Bonds and Dispositions in Security), within the TOWN HALL, Cellardyke, on MONDAY the 10th day of June 11889, at Two o’clock Afternoon.

THE NET and OILSKIN FACTORY, OIL-HOUSE. DWELLING – HOUSES, SHOPS, STORES, OFFICES, and other PERTINENTs numbered 29, 31, 33, 35, 37, and 39 James Street, Cellardyke with the ground belonging to same, all as presently occupied by Messrs Black & Company, Manufacturers, Mr Fortune, Druggist, and others.

For further particulars apply to Messrs Jamieson & Guthrie, Solicitors, Anstruther, in whose hands are the Title Deeds and Articles of Roup.

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