The Cellardyke Echo – 4/4/24 – Issue 436


CELLARDYKE Crab Fishing.—Although the season for this fishing has arrived, the start, it is expected, will not be made for a fortnight yet, owing to the extreme coldness of the weather. The fishermen of Crail and Kingsbarns have commenced, but as yet have caught nothing. The engaged price this year is 1s 4d a dozen, 3d above last year’s rate. There are upwards of a dozen yawls fitted out for it here, and as many in Anstruther, all owned by old fishermen whose day has now gone by for long sea voyages, but whose failing strength and ripe experience is still utilized in the training of their youthful crews—the fishermen in embryo of a year or two hence.

Two Cellardyke boats which came into our harbour late on Saturday night, brought in two sharks which they had captured. The largest measured nearly 14 feet long and fully 3 yards girth. Some difficulty was experienced in capturing it, from its body having got entangled among the great lines attached to the boat. The fishermen, however, after a good deal of trouble, managed to hoist it into the boat alive, and it was landed here early on Monday morning. The animal was bought by Provost Todd for 35s, and the liver, which filled two barrels, having been taken out, the carcass was sold to a person who intends exhibiting it in some of the inland towns. The other shark was a small one, measuring only 3 feet.


Gale on the East Coast Aberdeen Vessel Ashore –  On Thursday morning the wind in the Firth of Forth again veered to the north-east, and increased to the force of a fresh gale. Early in the morning, a schooner was observed from the Fife shore to be aground on the Island of May. A Cellardyke boat went off for the purpose of rendering assistance, when it was found that the vessel was the Matagorda, of Aberdeen. It appears that the schooner was on her voyage from Burntisland to Danzig with cargo of coals, and while staying about nine o’clock on Wednesday night, had missed stays, and gone ashore on the northeast side of the island. The master and crew were saved; but the former had his arm injured by the falling of the wheel when the vessel struck. The schooner, which is 153 tons register, and belongs to Messrs George Milne & Co., Aberdeen, is likely to become a total wreck. The crew remained on the island on Thursday for the purpose of trying to save the stores, &c.


James Watson, the father of the curing trade in Anstruther and Cellardyke, so long ago as 1834, within some five or six years of the opening of the drift net fishing for winter herrings, has paid 40s and 50s a cran for fish, which were sent as bloaters by the Dundee and Leith steamers to London; but previous to the incoming of the English buyers, the bulk of the East of Fife herrings had been for years cured into ” reds,” which were often by no means popular in the market. Happily, however, a new day has risen on the Fife coast, and “fresh herrings from Anstruther” are now the ” people’s food” in every old minster city and bustling factory town in England.


The other day a crew of one of the Cellardyke fishing boats landed a shark, which they had caught while at the deep-sea fishing. The monster measured nearly fourteen feet in length. It sold to the local curers for 31s; but a Glasgow auctioneer afterward purchased it for exhibition in that city.

Remarkable Prices for Fish.—On Saturday last the Pittenweem deep sea going boat of Skipper Gordon Lindsay landed a take of halibut, ling, cod, &c, which realised the handsome sum of £63. Larger takes of fish have been landed by our own Cellardyke crews; but we understand that, in point of value, it is altogether unprecedented at Anstruther pier. Keen, however, as were the competitors on Saturday, it was entirely eclipsed by its unparalleled warmth on Monday morning, when the takes of two boats, which were billeted on Saturday night, were sold by auction, at which halibut sold at about 10s a stone, or nearly 9d a pound; ling at a crown, and cod at 3s each. These singular prices were paid in consequence of the rising storm and the anticipation of an interrupted fishing, at so critical a time as the last week of Lent, has proved only too well founded, as what, with the boisterous weather and the scarcity of herring bait, the whole fishery has for the time being ended entire failure so far as the East of Fife is concerned. The two boats referred to belonged to Cellardyke, and the skippers were the Brothers Watson; and the coincidence becomes all the more curious from the fact that the one take realised £35, and the other £39.

The Steamer “Forth”

No offers for this steamer, which was some time age for sale, have yet been received, and it is likely that a special meeting of the shareholders will be held soon to consider What is to be done. It was considered that if the Forth could have been sold, a handy screw steamer might have been got sufficient for the goods traffic, and thus the passage would have continued for the benefit of traders ; but some other suggestion will have to be made if an offer is not soon received for the Forth. Some repairs which were found necessary last week prevented the sailing of the steamer after Monday, and by the end of the week some of the provision merchants had run short of stock, so much so that it is said there was scarcely, a pound of butter to be obtained in Cellardyke on Saturday evening. The largest cargo of spirits for a considerable time was landed on Monday, so that the efforts of the Good Templers do not appear to have much effect on the consumption of the ‘barley bree.’

The large steam-boiler like float for the recovery of wreck, which was sent adrift from the Drum Sands by the storm of Saturday fortnight, was secured and towed into Anstruther harbour by one of the Leith tugs on Monday afternoon. The float had remained at anchor, so to speak, in the offing off Cellardyke, by its own ponderous mooring chain becoming entangled amongst the rocks, where it outbraved the tempest, which, day after day, drenched it with foam and spray during the whole of last week, but, when brought into harbour, it appeared to be nothing the worse all its stormy adventures.

 “The Wee Drapie.” —Three young fishermen- Alex Gray and Lockhart Horsburgh from Pittenweem and Alexander Robertson, Cellardyke, were charged before the Burgh Court of East Anstruther on Friday—the two bailies the bench—with being drunk and riotous at the Foreshore on the ult. The two first pleaded guilty, and were sentenced to a fine of 5s but the latter insisted that he had been insulted and ill-used by the others, and that, under the circumstances, the prosecution was cruel and unfounded. Evidence was then adduced, when David Pringle and David Brown, and the two first named panels, were examined in support of the charge, which the Magistrates declared established, and, notwithstanding his protestations of innocence, Robertson was sentenced to a fine of 10s, the penalty in his case being doubled.

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