The Cellardyke Echo – 19/ 9/2021 -Issue 305


The following is the gross catch of herrings, the number of boats, and the average per boat, at Anstruther and Cellardyke for the last sixteen years :

 Years                   Crans caught                    Average per boat            Number of Boats

1855                      36,685                                               119                                        115

1856                     7,726                                                  55                                         140                       

1857                      9,000                                                 75                                         120        

1858                     33,204                                              242                                       136                       

1859                     10,545                                                70                                        150

1860                     38,257                                                229                                       170

1861                      15,265                                                93                                        170

1862                      14,150                                                 79                                        180

1863                     6,220                                                  34                                        184

1864                     14,150                                                 84                                        187

1865                     4,580                                                 27                                         173

1866                     4,050                                                 24 ½                                    165

1867                     7,260                                                  52                                         150

1868                     6,955                                                 47 ½                                    140

1869                     3,260                                                  22                                         145

1870                     6,265                                                  40 ½                                    155

SERIOUS ACCIDENT. – On Wednesday night, while a man named Leslie Brown, fisherman, was coming out of the public house belonging to Mr David Wilson, he missed his footing and fell to the bottom of the stair. He was immediately conveyed home on a stretcher, and Dr MacArthur having been sent for, his skull was found to have been fractured by the fall. He still lies in a very precarious condition.

THE CLOSE OF THE DRAVE.- The close of the herring fishing this week has witnessed a more than usual number of inebriates in the streets, and more than once we heard the remark that the poorer the drave, the greater number of drunken people. A few of the crews settled up on Wednesday afternoon, and after getting their money they proceeded to spend a portion of it in getting ” fou,” it being the opinion of a good many who go to the fishing that getting drunk at the end of it is a regular part-and the best of the work of the drave. At night, consequently, some difficulty was experienced in walking along the street, a crowd being collected every now and then to witness a struggle between someone who had taken a drop too much and a friend doing his best to keep him quiet, or perhaps a wife or female relation striving to get their demonstrative relatives to go home. At one of these, a man was shouting and swearing, and threatening to do some mischief, while a female was endeavouring to push him into a house, in which, after a hard struggle, she finally succeeded. ‘this same man, according to the assertions of several persons who had been attracted by the noise, had specially distinguished himself in a late revival ; and not a few of them took occasion of the opportunity to condemn revivals and revivalists generally as being “no better than other folk.” Further on, two men who had begun to quarrel and fight were being separated before doing any harm, although if the anathemas they hurled at each other had been at all effective, they would have been in a very nice pickle. The crowds were as a rule composed chiefly of the younger members of the community, who, if one might judge from the criticisms and narratives of the exploits of former draves, seemed to view the behaviour of their seniors with great gusto. The public houses of course did a roaring trade, and a fair share of the earnings of not a few of the half-dealsmen were expended in drinking and treating friends. Walking along the streets, one was sure frequently to hear the remark made by someone who had evidently been cultivating the acquaintance and spirit of John Barleycorn, to some friend whom he had met, “Come awa’, an’ I’ll gie ye a glass.” One half dealsman, who was taken to the police-office on Monday night for being drunk and incapable, had 38s 7d in his possession when released next morning after leaving bail, and on Wednesday forenoon he was without a penny. Few or no accidents seem to have taken place, which, however, did not appear to be the fault of many who were seen endeavouring to limit their walk to the half of the street, but with very indifferent success. One man, it is said, fell into a tub of “tarry,” as the stuff used for barking nets is often called ; but as it was not very warm at the time, he was none the worse.

Remarkable Rescue.

ln the course of last week one of the Cellardyke boats was on herring cruise along the Kincardine coast, a half-dealsman, while in the act of drawing a pail full of water, lost his balance and fell into the sea. The boat was sailing rapidly, and when the struggling fisher next appeared on the surface it was in her wake ; and, though an oar was thrown towards him, and everything possible done for his rescue by his comrades, his situation appeared to be hopeless, when the Pittenweem boat of skipper Michael Heugh, which was astern, succeeded in taking the poor fellow on board just as he sinking into watery grave. He was very much exhausted, but by the kind treatment of Skipper Heugh and his crew, he gradually recovered. What makes the case the more remarkable is the curious coincidence that the Pittenweem boat by which this providential rescue was effected is the same from which the unfortunate half dealsman, John McLeish, of Dundee, was drowned while also drawing a pail full of sea water, in the previous week

On Thursday, a great many of the half-dealsmen left, by both coach and steamer. In the latter there would be nearly 100 of them, the most of them being the worse of drink. A fight took place shortly before starting, and the police apprehended an Irishman who had been concerned in it. Immediately on the steamer leaving the quay, a regular melee took place between five or six half dealsmen on board the steamer, and blows were freely exchanged. The steamer, however, kept on her course, and the fight lasted as long as she was in sight. Mr Kerr, the manager of the Steam Shipping Company, telegraphed to the superintendent of police at Leith to have force of constables awaiting the arrival of the steamer, in order to be in readiness should anything have occurred on the voyage up.


The movement for this object has been taken up here with a spirit very creditable to the community. On Saturday, the ladies’ committee appointed at the meeting on Friday, together with a large number of others from Anstruther, Cellardyke, &c., met in the Town Hall for the purpose of making up bandages, belts, ix., a large quantity of materials for that purpose having been presented by several merchants and others in Anstruther and Cellardyke; and meetings have been held daily up to Wednesday, all the materials having been exhausted by that time. Dr Macarthur attended each day, and gave valuable advice as to the making-up of the different articles; while the other members of the committee of gentlemen also attended, and gave every assistance in their power, Mr Jamieson acting as secretary and corresponding treasurer. Two large boxes of material have been sent off to the Association in London, the contents of which were-14 shirts, 22 sandbags, 20 sheets, 3 doz. flannel bolts, 16 pillow-cases, 61 ½ dos. bandages from 3 to 10 yards in length, 2 bundles of charpie, pairs worsted and cotton socks, 27 towels, 12 bundles of rags, 3 cape, 25 Nightingale capes., 1 pair trousers, 2 pairs drawers, 6 blankets, and 2 cravats. At the conclusion of the work on Wednesday afternoon, Bailie Darsie and Mr Murray thanked the ladies for their attendance, and for the prompt manner in which they had come forward to give their services. The industry and diligence of the ladies in this matter are worthy of all praise, and is another proof of the statement made by Dr Cleghorn at the meeting on Friday last as to the valuable assistance which can be given by the fairer portion of the community; and the ladies in the East of Fife have shown that they are not a whit behind other districts in ministering to the comforts and sufferings of the sick and wounded soldiers. The number of ladies who gave their services in this work in Anstruther, Cellardyke, and Pittenweem was about fifty.

The fishermen who are going to the south are hard work making the necessary preparations, and the most if not all of them will be away by the beginning of next week. From twenty-five to thirty boats are going south from Anstruther and Cellardyke, and the same number from Pittenweem and St Monance. What with a bad Lammas drave and so many of our fishermen leaving for the south, the prospects of trade in the district during the next few months are very dull. A few of the boats have made a trials at the haddock fishing, and this morning two boats landed 13  and 13 ½  cwts. respectively, which sold at 10s. per cwt. These boats, which are not to be used till next Lammas fishing, are now all pulled np. The time now occupied in hauling up the boats is very limited compared to what it was some years ago, the engine of Messrs Gilchrists’ steam plough being employed instead of the old method. The system of keeping boats only for use at the summer herring fishing is not in general a profitable one, and this year we hear of several of the boats thus kept having to be sold in order to defray expenses. It is only when a good drave has been obtained that these boats can pay, and that is a condition which during the past five years has in the majority of cases been awanting.

The Power and Profit of Steam,

In the end of last week the traction engines connected with steam cultivation of Mr Gilchrist of Carvenom were employed in beaching the boats of Cellardyke, when in the course of two or three days, as many eighty-six were drawn from the harbour to the station ground in the east of the town. Previously, this was a work of the most trying kind for both for men and horses; but with the engines thee big boats were moved about as if they had been so many skiffs. While they thus eased the shoulders of our gallant fishermen, they also yielded a handsome return to their owner, as the rate was 11s a boat.

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