The Cellardyke Echo – 23/02/23 – Issue 377


A Busy Day with the Candidates. —On Saturday afternoon the fishermen of Cellardyke, electors in the coast burghs of the St Andrews Parliamentary district, were addressed by three of the Liberal candidates at present before the constituency soliciting their suffrages. Mr Stephen Williamson delivered an excellent address to a crowded meeting. He was most cordially received. Mr Douglas Ainslie, likewise, in the Town Hall, spoke to the electors, and received a vote of thanks for address. Mr Lindsay Bennet followed the other two candidates with a speech, in which he enunciated his opinions on political questions. The customary vote of thanks was accorded.

The demand for houses especially of the class described “a but and a ben” would seem to be more pressing than ever the Coast towns the district. So far, the demand is being met by chisel and mallet both at Cellardyke and St Monans. and we hear of anew block of fisher homes which Mr Tosh is to erect on the fine sites recently acquired him near Pittenweem harbour. The cherished idea, however, with our builders, would appear run the direction self-contained villas. “Boarded” doors, indeed, would suggest that the demand overtaken, but several others are being arranged for. In the meantime, the favourite design is on the twin principle, which, if nothing more, has economy to recommend it. Thus, the half of the handsome villa, just completed by Mr John Ritchie, fishcurer, in Ayles Crescent, was purchased the other day for Mr Mitchell, of the firm of Messrs Watson and Mitchell, merchants, Cellardyke, for the surprising figure—if we look at the nature and extent the accommodation—of some four hundred guineas.


BOAT FOR SALE THE FISHING BOAT ” MARGARET” of Cellardyke, as she ran the Herring Fishing last Season, with all her Materials in good condition, belonging to Robert Watson (Fowler), Cellardyke. Apply to John McLeod Fishcurer, Pittenweem.

HAIRBREADTH ESCAPE OF A CELLARDYKE FISHING BOAT.—On Wednesday morning a fog of unusual density settled on the Forth, by which fishing and other craft were exposed the utmost jeopardy. With one exception, however, no serious accident occurred; but in the case referred to the crew escaped if by a miracle. It was the Cellardyke boat ” Useful,” Thomas Boyter, master, which was riding by the nets with the regulation light burning, when the watch on deck observed a steamer darting through the mist upon the boat. His cry met with response, as if there had been no outlook, till almost at the moment of collision, when the course of the vessel was so far altered ; but the paddle-box struck the boat on the bow with such violence to send stem and timberwork into splinters. Her destruction was thought to be inevitable, and Robert Ritchie, followed by the skipper, leapt on the deck of the steamer so as to be ready to rescue their companions; but, the first alarm over, they returned and hauled the nets, when the boat was towed to Anstruther harbour by the steam-tug, which proved be the trawler, “Frederick James,” running home to market. The boat is seriously damaged that she is disabled for the week. Fortunately, it was calm at the time the collision, or the consequences of what is alleged to have been open and reckless disregard every rule of seamanship might have been in the last degree serious to life and property. Although the vessel, we have said, was not trawling, but steering to port, the collision has excited quite a storm of indignation on the coast, and a petition to Parliament against this system fishing in the estuary was signed by hundreds  – buyers, as well as fisherman, giving their signatures – at St Ayle’s Gate, in the course of Wednesday. It does not exonerate the steamer; the contrary, wariness and attention were doubly called for, but the fog was so close and bewildering that it was only by ringing the signal-bell that the boats were able to make the harbour.


A very melancholy occurrence happened here by which a young man. named Alexander Gardner, 26 years of age, son of the skipper of the Day Spring (Martin Gardner), lost his life. The fishing fleet left the harbour in the afternoon of Friday, the 17th. as usual, and proceeded to the fishing ground. The weather at the time was good, but after the nets were cast, it began to blow from the west. A good many took in their nets and made for the harbour. Among those was the Day Spring, but the water being out of the harbour at the time, they had to wait till the water made. They were in the act of putting the boat round for the harbour, when a sudden flap of the sail took the unfortunate young man overboard. His father was the first to see him, and was so close as to touch him, but all efforts were in vain, he sank to rise no more. The sad occurrence has cast a gloom over the place. He leaves a wife and one child to mourn their loss. The gale continued all Saturday, and many of the boats put into northern ports. There was a great deal of damage done to the nets but by Sunday all had succeeded in getting home.


A boy of 15, named John Hoggans, son of a fisherman in Cellardyke, was sentenced to six strokes with the tawse for stealing twopence from a girl on the road between Anstruther and St Andrews. The youthful highwayman had gone up to the girl and ordered her to stand and deliver on the money or your life principle. Having got all she possessed he coolly went and spent it.

THE HERRING BOAT COLLISION CASE. The action at the instance of James Ranken, fisherman Roanheads, against Peter Murray, Cellardyke, skipper of the boat KY. 1383 concluding for £300 damages through the loss of his boat caused by a collision with the defender’s boat off Peterhead last fishing season, also came up. Mr Robertson, agent for defender, said the appeal was founded upon an interlocutor of the Sheriff Substitute granting a commission to the Sheriff Substitute at Lochmaddy, to take the evidence of three witnesses resident in Barra. Mr Robertson objected to this and held that it would be as convenient that the witnesses should be examined at Peterhead during the next fishing season. Mr Gray, for pursuer, pointed out that it would take about six days for the witnesses to be brought specially from Barra to Peterhead and that would cost about £50. He thought the Sheriff Substitute’s interlocutor on the point should be sustained. This case had been too long hung up already, and was a pure illustration of the law’s delays. The Sheriff suggested that the lightkeeper at Barra, whom he knew had experience in taking evidence should be appointed the person. After further discussion, however, The Sheriff affirmed the interlocutor of his Substitute with expenses to the pursuer.


The Enterprise of our Fishermen – No more eloquent illustration can be adduced of the onward spirit of the fishers of Fife that the notable activity in the boatbuilding yards of the Coast. Our townsman Councillor Jarvis, has, in particular, just added another dashing sea clipper to the Cellardyke Fleet in the ‘Mayflower,’ built to the order of that worthy veteran and well known office bearer in the Parish Church, Mr Alexander Watson. Like her consorts of late she is fully fifty six feet in length; but we specially notice her fine well developed lines, bespeaking, as every old sailor knows, a safe and trusty sea craft in the rising gale. There is no better example, indeed, of what a first class fishing craft ought to be, in view of the ever recurring hazards of the stormy sea; but notably in those days, when, as in the case of the ‘Mayflower’ sail after sail will be hoisted for Kinsale, and a little later for the Shetland isles.

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