The Cellardyke Echo – 17/8/2023 – Issue 402


The Shale Mines. —We understand that the shale and iron ore mines at Pitcorthie, which have been stopped for several months past, will be vigorously resumed after harvest by the lessees, Messrs Rowatt’s and Yool of the Kilrenny Oil Works.

Several cases of a severe type of scarlet fever have been prevalent in this district for the last two months. Two of these have proved fatal, and a good many cases are still under treatment in Anstruther and Cellardyke. The district seems otherwise healthy at present.

At a Burgh Court held in Cellardyke Town Hall on Wednesday, John Macdonald, a boy about fifteen years of age, the son of Peter Macdonald, hatter and hawker of china was charged with the crime of breach of the peace, in so far as on the noon of Monday, the 15th inst, he cursed  and swore at the window of the baker’s shop near Cellardyke harbour, occupied by Mr David Black, and also entered said shop and threatened to ” knock down ” Christina Black, the girl in charge, and did thereafter pursue her to an upper room which he tried to force open, using as he did so exceedingly violent and abusive language, the young girl was very much agitated and alarmed. The officer of Court called the panel in due form, but, failing to appear, a warrant was granted for his apprehension.


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 boatmates, 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 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.

Pleasure Excursion.—On Saturday last, a stirring appearance was given to our streets by the arrival with the morning train of  the employees —to the number of about 100—in Mr Scott’s factory at Freuchie, who, with flute band in front, walked in procession through the town. The merry strains of the music readily drew our townsfolks to their doors, to look on and admire so many handsomely-attired young women, whose blooming cheeks and cheerful faces were so contrary to the ideas of many life within the brick walls of a factory, and with the “cold metallic motion” of the machinery ringing incessantly in the ear. The weather, fortunately, was fine, and though without the advantage of being conducted to any particular place of interest in the neighbourhood, the party seemed highly gratified with their visit to the East Neuk. The sea-shore—as never fails to be the case with inland visitors—was the grand attraction for all; but the “Admiral Fitzroy” lifeboat, the sailing of the steamer, and the herrings and herring boats were also the objects of lively interest. The whole company met by appointment in Cellardyke Town Hall, where dinner was partaken of in the shape of savoury pies from the Steam Bakery of Mr David Black, and which, we understand, like the whole expenses of the excursion, was provided their masters, who, by such a graceful act of liberality, cannot fail to excite those kindly feelings which form the true and only bond of union between employers and employed. The party left again for home with the evening train—their decorous and orderly conduct being in pleasing contrast with that of certain visitors lately to this locality.


Liberality of the Right Type.—We understand that an eminent colonial merchant, connected by birth with Cellardyke, has offered £10 in money or in books for the resuscitation of the Cellardyke Library, which is now being done by the Good Templar Lodge. Some people like to advertise their charities as others do their shop wares, but now and then it refreshing to fall in with the true gold—”not letting the right hand know what the left hand doeth.” An aged tradesman died in the neighbourhood short time ago with no other prospect of being carried to the grave than in a pauper’s coffin, when the much respected partner of a steam firm, famous over the world, who belongs to a certain Monk built town on the Fife coast, came forward and paid the funeral expenses, one of the many instances of the same true nobility of heart.


The herrings this week were all got in the vicinity of the Bell Bock and at the fishing ground known as the ‘First Reef.’ Two of the Cellardyke boats which were engaged to fish at the north have arrived here, having fished their complements. One of them, belonging to Skipper Peter Murray, has this week landed upwards of 300 crans. It is expected that the fleet will be increased next week by the arrival of other boats which have fished their complements, and should the herrings continue to remain where they are at present, we may reasonably hope for a considerable addition to the catch.


On Wednesday night and early on Thursday morning the Aberdeenshire coast was visited by a gale, which, for severity, ha-s not been equalled for a number of years. the weather was favourable on the preceding evening, nearly the whole fleet of herring boats put out to sea from Aberdeen. They had just reached the fishing ground and shot their nets, when a hurricane swept suddenly down on them from the north-west. The hurricane, which lasted from about eleven, p.m., on Wednesday, to about four, p.m , on Thursday, is described by experienced fishermen as being the most severe since 1848. ………… When a little to the seaward of the Bernie Rocks, two boats, the one belonging to Cellardyke, and the other to Portnockie, came into collision, the force of which threw overboard Arthur Slater, aged twenty, belonging to Portnockie, one of the crew of the west boat, who immediately sank, notwithstanding the efforts to save him of his father and two brothers, who were also in the boat.

WRECK OF A CELLARDYKE FISHING BOAT AT SANDHAVEN. —During the storm which prevailed on the north-east coast on Friday last, the Cellardyke fishing boat owned by Skipper Duncan McRuvie was wrecked while entering the harbour of Sandhaven, where the crew were engaged to land their fish by Messrs Sharp and Murray of Cellardyke. The fishermen speak of the gale as being unusually severe, with a very heavy sea running; and just before reaching the harbour Skipper McRuvie’s boat was struck by several heavy seas, which drove her on a ridge of rocks a little to the eastward of Sandhaven harbour. On the inner side of this ridge is a gully where there is a good depth of water, but after passing the first ridge the boat was fortunately driven on to an inner ridge. The crew, consisting of six men and a boy, hung on to the boat until she struck the inner ridge, from whence they succeeded in gaining the shore. A large hole was made in the bottom of the boat, which rendered it useless, but the crew were fortunate in saving all their gear and material. Skipper McRuvie and his crew arrived at Cellardyke on Saturday evening, and having procured another boat, he left again on Monday to resume the prosecution of the fishing. All the fishermen who were at Sandhaven at the time of the occurrence unite in stating that the crew made a very narrow escape from being drowned.

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