The Cellardyke Echo – 5/8/ 2021 – Issue 299


PUBLIC MEETING (Anstruther Easter). A public meeting of this place and the two neighbouring burghs Cellardyke and West Anstruther, was held evening of Monday last-Provost Greig in the chair —for the purpose of expressing satisfaction at the passing of the Anstruther Union Harbour Act of Parliament, and the passing vote of thanks to our member, Mr Ellice, for his praiseworthy efforts to get the bill passed safely through both Houses. Mr Mackintosh, banker, read a lengthened resume of the transactions connected with the originating and passing of the bill, and the different measures adopted by the local committee for bringing the bill before Parliament, from which it appeared that the counsel and aid given by Mr Ellice were greatly instrumental in bringing it to a successful issue.

Mr John Todd, fishcurer, moved the first resolution—”That this meeting, composed of the inhabitants of East and West Anstruther and Cellardyke, in public meeting assembled, unanimously express gratification with the passing of the Anstruther Union Harbour Act, and that the meeting believes the harbour, when erected, will render the fisherman’s occupation, more remunerative and less hazardous; will not only prove a boat harbour of refuge, but will be available for the general coasting trade and will lead to the development of the resources, and to increase the commercial importance and of the whole district.”

In support of his resolution, Mr Todd said that one fact of great importance that would be derived by the passing of the act would that the boats could enter or depart from the harbour at any state of the tide, thereby not only enabling the fishermen to go oftener to sea at less risk, but also that the different markets would be supplied with the fish in a fresh state, for which a higher price would be got, which would both benefit fishermen and the inhabitants of the district. …..


Herring Fishing.—Since Thursday last little has been done at any of the stations of this district. From one to six crans have been the highest takes landed within this period, and only a very few crews have been so successful, the majority having such poor results as not to be marketable. The St Monance and Pittenweem boats still continue to prosecute the fishing the Firth, but many of the Cellardyke boats have proceeded to the north. Prices have been well maintained at from 30s to 37s per cran.


 Dr Guthrie’s talk on behalf of the benevolent Institution and coast Missions in Thurso

…….THE CELLARDYKE FISHERMEN PRAISED. Our fisher friends here will be delighted hear me extol the fishermen, but I do it honestly and sincerely. I was lately over in Fife, and at famous fishing place, Cellardyke. The fishermen of this place are fishers to much greater extent than the Newhaven folks. A finer people you will not see. Well, when I was there I spoke to one of them and asked him about the habits of the place. “Oh, Dr Guthrie,” he said, “the habits of the people are much improved in the last thirty years. I remember when no boat went out to the German Ocean without two or three bottles of whisky, and I remember when no herring boat was hauled up, when the fishing was over, but she cost many shillings (I forget the exact sum) for whisky. Now,” said he, “Sir, do you see these boats?” and I saw about 70 boats run up the beach, and lying there during the winter season. “These boats have been all run up twenty years ago, and cost £25 for whisky. These boats were run up last year, and not drop of whisky was drunk. Now, instead of our men taking their whisky when they out to sea (some of them, indeed, do that still, but not the bulk) they take coffee; they take (I think he called it) a coffee boiler; (it was not a coffee pot); they take machinery for making coffee. They plough the deep and ride through the storm, and come back again sober as judges, and more sober than many judges used be.


CELLARDYKE. DOG-FIGHTING. – A burgh court was held here yesterday—Bailies Sharp and Watson on the bench. John Scott, carter, Cellardyke, was charged, at the instance of the burgh fiscal, with committing an offence within the meaning of the Act 13 Vict. c. 92, entituled ” An Act for the effectual prevention of cruelty to animals (Scotland) 1860,” by encouraging and inciting a dog in his charge to fight with another dog belonging to George Henderson, Cellardyke, on the evening of Monday the 18th of July, near the town hall, in consequence of which both dogs fought for a considerable time and injured each other, whereby he rendered himself liable to a penalty not exceeding £5. The panel pled guilty, and he was sentenced to pay a fine of 10s or go to prison for ten days. Bailie Sharp said the bench had mitigated the penalty in order to allow the panel an opportunity of paying the fine, but should he appear again before them on a similar complaint, it would be more serious for him, as the Magistrates were determined to put an end to the practice.


Pleasure Seekers from Leith.—ln thee course of the last eight days so generally observed as a holiday time in Edinburgh and Leith, the steamer Forth has made repeated cheap trips from that port, which induced not a few to make a passing visit to the East of Fife. These pleasure seekers appeared for the most part to belong to the industrial classes, but although the weather was occasionally wet and unfavourable for being out of doors, they, with only a few exceptions, avoided the common temptation of the public house, and conducted themselves with exemplary order and propriety. Chalmers’ birthplace was looked at with curious interest, and many eager inquiry was made after Maggie Lauder’s house, but though disappointed in this instance, many our Edinburgh friends were much struck and delighted with the long streets and clean comfortable houses of Cellardyke, so widely different from the usual characteristics of a Scottish fishing village. Large numbers visited Pittenweem with much interest, and a few enterprising groups extended their walk as far as St Monance and Crail, when the beautiful sea braes and the boats on their way to the fishing ground were gazed with lively enthusiasm and pleasure; and altogether their visit to the East Neuk appeared to yield the highest satisfaction and enjoyment to pent-up denizens of ” Auld Reekie,” well those of its prosperous seaport.


Drowned at Sea.—On Monday afternoon a lamentable accident happened near the Bell Rock, by which a young man named Andrew Carstairs, one the crew of the Cellardyke fishing boat ” Planet,” No. 22 (Skipper Duncan McRuvie), lost his life. He had gone to the side of the boat to draw some salt water with the peggin”—a wooden vessel fitted with a long handle —when in attempting to lift it on board he was dragged overboard by the strength of the current, owing to the speed at which the boat was going through the water. This circumstance, however, enabled the boat to tack with the utmost readiness, but promptness and activity were all unavailing, as before the drowning young man could be reached, his boat mates, looking with feelings not to be described, saw him throw his arms into the air, and then sink into a watery grave. Carstairs was about twenty years of age; but however short his lifetime he had been peculiarly the child of misfortune and sorrow. In early youth he was deprived by death of both his father and mother, and some years ago a melancholy calamity having overtaken his maternal grandmother, who lived in comfortable circumstances in Crail, he was sent into the world all homeless and friendless growing up without any steady employment, and open to every snare and temptation around him; and now that his brief blighted life is over, leaving few if any to mourn his untimely fate.


French Fishermen.—Several French fishing vessels have arrived Anstruther harbour this season for the purpose buying the old nets of the Cellardyke fishermen, with which to prosecute the herring fishing in the North Sea. These vessels are lugger rigged; but, though clumsy in appearance, they are good sea boats. They have a crew of twenty men and boys, who, when compared with our fishermen, have few if any of the comforts of life. Sleeping, in their clothes on the hard planks, and using cider only instead of hot tea or coffee, where for dinner they have a miscellaneous diet of fish, flesh and vegetables, which they devour out of the cooking pot, in the same way that country urchins sup their porridge out of same bowl. Notwithstanding, however, the many discomforts of such a life, they maintain all the gaiety and flow of animal spirits so characteristic of Frenchmen; and on an evening they land from their vessels and dance and caper and sing with all the glee of children, drawing around them large numbers of the town folks, who enjoy many hearty laugh over their fantastic manoeuvres. The French luggers, though fitted out with gear which the Scottish fishermen regard as useless, are frequently very successful in the North Sea ; but they are the dread of our home crews, who have not only reason to fear a collision with their stronger tackling, but who also not suspect then wrongly of pirating their nets and herrings.

A boy named Alex. Martin, ten years of age, son of Skipper Alex. Martin, was drowned last week a little to the west of Cellardyke harbour.

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