The Cellardyke Echo – 3/8/2023 – Issue 400


Peterhead, Breaches of the harbour By Laws – At a JP Court, held yesterday in the Peterhead Sheriff Courthouse, Baillie Will and Dr Jamieson on the bench – Joseph Walker, fisherman from Cellardyke, and skipper of the boat Delight 634 KY, was charged with having on the 13th inst, contravened the harbour byelaws. It was asserted in the libel that when the accused was ordered by one of the berthing masters to haul his boat outside the entrance of the South Harbour in order to make a passage, he first obeyed the order, but immediately afterwards drew the boat right across the channel in such a way as to completely block up the fairway. He failed to appear, but evidence, from which it appeared that a great deal of confusion took place through the conduct of the accused, was led in absence, after hearing which the Justices found the charge proven. Baillie Will, in passing sentence, said as this was the first case of the kind this season, they would modify the penalty, but the full penalty would be imposed the next time that similar offences came before them. Accused would have to pay a fine of £1 15s, failing payment of which in eight days, fourteen days imprisonment.

THE TOP SHOT OF THE SEASON. THREE boats are returning home from Wick today, after having fished amongst them 1300 crans George Anderson, Cellardyke, whose success at Scrabster we have already mentioned, has fished for Mr John Simpson, at Scrabster and Wick, 470 crans. On Tuesday this week he had a shut of 102 crans—the highest recorded this season.

THE HERRING FISHERY-UNPRECEDENTED —The miraculous draught of the season as we heard it spoken of the other day at St Monance Kirk, has so overtasked the ways and means of the curing trade, that from almost every Scottish station, the telegrams are flying “not a barrel nor a pea of salt left in the store.” It is putting the water away from one’s own mill with a grist to grind—to sell stock at such a time, but with buyers clamorous at five to seven shillings a barrel, a brisk trade has been going on in the Cooperages of the East of Fife, and some two thousand “empties,” it is said, left Anstruther station in a single day this week for this or that merchant in the North. In short, though the herring season is scarcely half run, an average harvest has been all but drawn from the fruitful sea. On the Caithness Coast, for instance, there are those of our local crews who have fished from three hundred to four hundred and sixty crans, and having thus got their errand our townsman, Mr John Watson, and his Cellardyke friend, Mr George Anderson, have sailed for home with colours flying like whaler when full ship from the Polar Seas. Several East of Fife boats have been equally fortunate on the Buchan Coast, but, as a rule, the Fishermen have been much harassed in their long sea chase by light and baffling winds. Thus the youthful Cellardyke Skipper, John Brown, was so belated with a splendid haul of some ninety crans at Peterhead on Sabbath that his merchant refusing to take delivery, the herrings had to be scooped like so much waste into the sea; and the same cause has also largely interfered with the fishing all along the coast. At Fraserburgh the average now about a hundred and thirty cran, and the success is little less all the way to Arbroath; but it is well to remember that if some have put their hand into the harvest as they never did before, others in writing home have little to tell but disappointment and failure. In the Firth of Forth the luck is more than tenfold to that of last year, and about three hundred barrels have been landed on the Fife Coast by a date when old lucky Paton or William Laing would have been scouring from Crail to St Monance for a single fish to the “gudeamus ” of the famous fresh herring Presbytery which has met at Anstruther for nigh two years on the first Wednesday of August. The large delivery in the North is recoiling only too perceptibly on our local market; and dissatisfied with the price, several crews have again and again left the harbour in the hope of making a better sale in another part. An improved fishing is reported from the south, but the demand is so low that the herrings have been selling day after day for a mere trifle. That drawback, however, is likely to be obviated in the future, as increased facilities have been opened at Shields and also at Blyth, while an interesting project has just been inaugurated to develop the fishing at the old Roman village of Amble, on the river Cocquet. The steam trawlers still continue a source of great anxiety to the fishermen of the coast, and some old prophets go so far as to accuse them already of frightening away the herring from the Firth; but if we may trust the reports from sea, the appearances about the hauls are like the quality and condition of the shoals, improving every day.

ANSTRUTHER POTATO SALES. —As usual at this season, the crofters who farm the contiguous acres, are offering their potato crop lots for the domestic use the townsfolk. Contrary, however, to “use and wont,” as we may say there is little competition for the earlier sorts. For one thing, the good-humoured auctioneer has reason to exclaim, ” What has become of the white mutches.” that is, there has been marked absence of the spirited wives of Cellardyke, but independently this there would seem to be a general disposition to hold back owing the singular promise of the crop this autumn. Choice lots are scarcely realising a penny yard, but livelier demand is not to be anticipated as the public is being freely supplied through the retail market from eightpence to ninepence the Imperial stone.


Success of the Herring Fishing. —The herring fishing at Wick has been fairly successful during the past week. The John O’ Groats Journal Herring Circular reports that one boat discharged 109 crans on Thursday, and on Friday the Cellardyke boat. K.Y. 1527, James Smith, skipper, brought shore 103 ¾  crans. It is computed that the first-named boat would have on board upwards of 87,000 herrings, being fully £120 worth fish for the one night’s catch.


On Thursday a Cellardyke boat (No 1249) William Smith, skipper, fishing for Sharp & Murray, curers of that place, arrived with her sails split. The crew reported having experienced very heavy weather, and about one o’ clock on Wednesday afternoon, when they were about 4 miles off the Isle of May a sudden gust came down on the boat from the west and tore the foresail into shreds. A French fishing lugger belonging to Boulogne, also reached the harbour this foren0on having sustained a similar accident. She had been nine days at sea but caught nothing.


Boat Capsized in Aberdeen Bay.—On Saturday afternoon  James Gauld, plumber, had a very narrow escape from drowning in Aberdeen Bay. The man left the harbour in the course of the forenoon in a small boat for the purpose of fishing for mackerel. He had secured quantity of fish, and was returning to the harbour under sail. A stiff south-westerly breeze prevailed, and there was a heavy roll to the tea. When several hundred yards in a north-easterly direction from the point of the North Pier, the craft was caught in a sudden squall and capsized, its occupant being thrown into the water. Tits accident being observed from the pier, the alarm was immediately given, and No 1 pilot boat, along with the steam tug Britannia, which was in the channel at the time, at once proceeded to the scene. Before, however, the pilot boat and the tug arrived at the spot, the herring boat Globe, of Cellardyke, KY. 1578 (David Christie, master), which was returning from the fishing ground, and the crew of which had seen the occurrence, bore down on Gauld. who had seized hold of one of the oar belonging his own craft, with which he succeeded in preventing himself from sinking. He was taken on board the KY. boat, which landed him at Point Law. When rescued Gauld, who had been about half an hour in the water, was very much exhausted, but he soon recovered. The small boat sunk almost immediately after the accident.

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