The Cellardyke Echo – 14/04/2022 – Issue 335


WANTED guardian for female patient. Apply Inspector of Poor of Kilrenny, Cellardyke. Fife.


St Andrews

Golden Wedding. —Mr and Mrs George Corstorphine, 40 North Street, have been celebrating their golden wedding. They were married at Cellardyke on the 4th April 1873 by the late Rev. Christie of Kilrenny Parish Church. They have had nine children, three of whom are dead, and they have also 18 grandchildren to honour them in their old age. The old couple, who are still hale and hearty, have received gifts from their family and other friends and also many congratulations on the occasion of the happy event. Mr arid Mrs Corstorphine belonged Cellardyke, and when 18 years old Mr Corstorphine took to the fisherman’s life. He continued at the fishing at Cellardyke till 1890 when he came to St Andrews. He went, the fishing at St Andrews for six or seven veal’s, but with the decay of the fishing industry here he found carrying clubs at the Links provided better livelihood, especially for a man who was getting up in years. Mr Corstorphine is of opinion that the seine net has destroyed St Andrews Bay as a fishing ground, but the steam trawler is one of the chief causes of the decay of the fishing industry here. In his younger days Mr Corstorphine went to the distant herring fishing grounds and for some time was skipper of a boat Stonehaven. Altogether he was 35 years at the fishing, he is one of the best typos of caddies at the Links, and though he is now 74 years of age he can do his two rounds day quite comfortably.  He has been an elder of St Leonards Parish Church for 16 years, and he was church officer for ten years. The minister, elders, and number of members of the congregation of that church have given him a handsome present the occasion of his golden wedding. Mrs Corstorphine is 75 years of age, and does not enjoy quite so good health as her husband. It is the sincere wish of their friends that the interesting old couple may be spared for many years to come.

At the invitation of Lodge St Ayle (No. 1 95), Anstruther, over 200 Freemasons attended Divine service in Cellardyke Parish Church. The brethren assembled in the Masonic Temple, where they were welcomed by Brother D. Birrell, R.W.M. of the Lodge. Lodges represented included St Adrian (No. 185), Pittenweem ; St Andrews (No. 25), St Andrews ; Lindores (No. 106) ; Balcarres (No. 1240), Colinsburgh ; Leuchars (No. 1292) ; and St John (No. 26).

Headed by St Andrews City Silver Band, the brethren marched in processional order via Shore Street, Anstruther, and James Street, Cellardyke, to the church, where the centre pews were reserved for them. The Rev. J. R. Lee. B.D., Chaplain of Lodge St Ayle, officiated, and preached a very appropriate sermon from the text— ” The stone which the builders refused is become the headstone of the corner.” The praise was led the choir, with Miss Oliphant as organist. A special collection was taken on behalf of Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and the Sick Children’s Hospital, during which the choir rendered the anthem, Beloved, if God so loved us.”

Returning to the Lodge, congratulatory remarks were made the R.W.M., on the excellent manner in which the service been conducted by the Chaplain, who in reply thanked the brethren for  their attendance and close attention to his remarks, which he hoped would help them carry out the principles of their Order. The visiting brethren were thereafter entertained to tea in the Lower Town Hall.  Brother T. M. Anderson acted as Steward, and the wives and lady friends of the office bearers of Lodge St Ayle assisted at the tables.


Cellardyke Victim of Storm. During the stormy weather which raged in the North Sea on Saturday morning George Jack, fisherman, member of the crew of the steam drifter Breadwinner (KY 253), fell overboard and was lost.

The occurrence was reported by the skipper on the arrival of the vessel at Anstruther on Saturday. The Breadwinner left North Shields for home on Friday evening, and when approaching St Abbs Head, about 12.30 a.m., very stormy weather was encountered. A heavy sea caught the vessel, and Jack, who was on deck, clutched a lifebuoy to save himself. Unfortunately, the lifebuoy came away in his hand, and in the next plunge the drifter made Jack was thrown into the raging seas.

Endeavours the skipper to locate the man was impossible owing to the darkness, and after cruising about in vicinity for a time the vessel was headed for home, and arrived at Anstruther about 5 a.m.

Deceased, who was the eldest son of Mr and Mrs W. Jack (Doig), Burnside Place, Cellardyke, was 36 years age, and leaves a widow and three young children to mourn his loss.


Retiral on Account of Ill Health

Member of the Town Council for twenty five years and Provost of the burgh for twenty-two years is the unique record of Provost Black, Cellardyke, who, in a letter to Kilrenny Town Council, last night intimated his decision to retire from public service owing to ill-health.

Bailie Mitchell, who presided, said that they would miss Provost Black very much. He had been for twenty-five years member of the Town Council and for twenty two years he had served as its head. But it was not only in matters regarding the Town-Council that he had given his services; for fifteen years he was Chairman of Kilrenny School Board, and had also been a member of the Parochial Board. For thirty years he had been a member of Anstruther Harbour Commissioners. Truly, that was a remarkable record of public service.

He (the Chairman) trusted that Provost Black would have an early recovery from his illness, and that he would be able to go out and in amongst them for many a long day yet. He moved that they put record in the minutes the Council’s appreciation and thanks to Provost Black for the time, labour, and thought which he had given in the service of the community (Applause.) Bailie Bett, Councillors Munro, Carstairs, and Downey, and Mr D. Bruce (treasurer) each added quota of appreciation; and the Joint Town Clerk (Mr J. Gordon Dow) referred to the association between the Provost and the Town Clerks, Mr C.H. Maxwell and himself. He used no idle words when he said that the Joint Town Clerks received Provost Black’s resignation with great regret. The appointment a successor is to be considered next meeting.


Thomas Melville, jun., motor driver, 37 John Street, Cellardyke, was convicted of having, at Burnside Place. Cellardyke, driven a motor lorry recklessly and a speed dangerous to the lieges. A young lad, who was waiting on his change at the back of a butcher’s van when the lorry came round the corner, said would have been killed had he not jumped into his gate. A fine of 30s was imposed.

The large fishing boat, Useful ML 6, of Cellardyke, Fife, sprang a leak and foundered off the May Island on the Firth of Forth coast. The crew are safe.

The Cellardyke Echo – 7/04/2022 – Issue 334


There were no new applications before the Licensing Court on Tuesday. All the existing licenses were renewed, including 4 grocer’s licensee, and 2 public house certificates. The number of licensed homes is one less than last year.


The Late Mr Cormack.—The remains of Mr Cormack were interred last Friday in Kilrenny Churchyard amid many signs of public sorrow. The boats in Anstruther and Cellardyke had flags all hoisted half-mast high, while all the shops in Cellardyke were closed for two hours. There was a very large attendance of mourners, the funeral being one of the largest ever seen in Cellardyke. A short service was conducted in the house by the Rev. Mr Smith, and at the grave, Rev. Mr Ray read a few passages of Scripture and offered an appropriate prayer. The coffin was covered with wreaths, one being from the fishermen with the inscription printed on it: —`A token of respect from the fishermen of Cellardyke.’ Large numbers of people witnessed the funeral procession on the way from Cellardyke to Kilrenny. In several of the Churches on Sundry, allusions were made to the loss sustained by the district in Mr Cormack’s death.

At a Burgh Court on Saturday, before Provost Anderson and Bailie Darsie, William Wallace, labourer, was charged with having on the 21st March, assaulted Andrew Montador, Cellardyke, to the effusion of blood, and seizing hold of him and dipping him into the sea. Accused pled guilty under great provocation. Robert Montador, the father of the boy, said that when he came in from sea on the 21st, he found his boy in bed. Restoratives were being applied by hot water and by stimulants. The boy was very much exhausted when brought home. He learned that Wallace had dipped his boy over the head in the harbour at the west pier, and held him in the water for about two minutes. A fisherman said he saw Wallace take hold of the boy and dip him into the sea three of four times. He held the boy by the legs and put him in head first. The Fiscal craved a conviction. It was a very dangerous prank for any man to play, and accused must be taught that he must not take the law into his own hands. Accused said the boys had given him great annoyance, and had destroyed his boat. He warned them an hour before this happened. The Provost—irrespective of any provocation which you may have received, you must consider that you did a very rash, unwarrantable, and dangerous thing in acting towards that boy in the way you did. Nobody is entitled to take the law into their own hands, whatever the annoyance they receive For all that you knew, a boy of tender years like that might have been suffering from some disease whereby the shock might have caused death, and this would have been very serious indeed. We feel to put a sufficient fine on you as would mark the gravity of the offence, and therefore taking the circumstances into account we have made the fine as small as possible, not because of the trifling action oil your part but in consideration of your means. But we must show our disapproval of such conduct as this which might have resulted in very serious injuries indeed. At the same time, I would like to warn boys from annoying people, and hope this will be a lesson to take care and not go on board yawls and destroy things. The fine is 2s 6d or three days.

The School at Cellardyke was built in 1878, and at that time afforded along with an Infant School still in use sufficient accommodation for all the children in Cellardyke district. The price of the school still forms a burden on the rates, and will do so until 1918.

Lent week was a blank so far as the Cellardyke sailing boats were concerned, only one crew (Skipper James Moncrieff) being at sea by Monday, and getting the market, when £43 was grossed. The rest of the crews had dropped the nets, and were fitting out for the great-lines in earnest, their programme including the necessary outfit to tide over a spell at Scarborough or other English ports. 37 boats left with this intention on Monday, and as up to the present none have returned it is evident the skippers have not seen reason to alter their course. The fleet will distributed between Scarborough, Shields, Hartlepool, and Aberdeen.


SUDDEN DEATH KILRENNY. —Last Saturday morning, Mr Leslie took suddenly unwell while in bed. On medical assistance being called in, it was found that he had had a shook of paralysis. He lingered on in a comatose state until the evening, when he expired. Being an old and respected member of the St Ayles Masonic Lodge upwards of 20 members attended the funeral on Tuesday to Kilrenny Churchyard. The members met at their Hall in Shore Street, and marched to Kilrenny. Rev Mr Anderson conducted the masonic funeral service at the grave. Mr Leslie was a grocer in Cellardyke, and was well known throughout the district.

CELLARDYKE. Mr George Watson, second eon of Skipper George Watson, Cellardyke, has passed the Board of Trade examination at Dundee as master.

FISHERMEN’S INABILITY TO SWIM.—In holding inquiries in Dundee on Tuesday, under the Fatal Accident Inquiry Act, Sheriff Campbell Smith, in reference to the death by drowning of the skipper of a fishing boat, expressed regret that all fishermen did not learn to swim. It was a question whether fishing boats ought not to be compelled to carry preserver.

MALICIOUS AT THE BOOTERY. —More than a week ago a barrel containing 40 gallons of ink was lying in a backshed in the premises of the K.Y. Bootery in West Forth Street. The barrel was all right when the workmen left in the evening, but next morning Mr Mackintosh discovered on opening the works that the crane had been opened and the ink allowed to run away. The barrel was completely empty. The mischief is supposed to have been the work of a person who had entered the premises during the night. The police are making investigations into the affair, but as yet have no clue. The value of the ink was 60s.

DISAPPOINTED VOYAGERS. —Yesterday morning a large number of folks in Anstruther and Cellardyke were early astir with the object of accompanying the new liner, Kilrenny, on her trial trip. She had a goodly complement of passengers on hand, and the order was given to go ahead when the keel touched bottom in the cut. The firemen had not prepared for this contingency, and there was not sufficient steam generated to force her over the bar and in the rapidly ebbing tide the she was quickly grounded. The postponement of the trip was a source of great disappointment to the company, amongst whom the early rising had been one of the novelties of the day.


The reopening of this public school took place yesterday by Dr Dunn, Her Majesty’s Inspector. There was a large attendance. Bailie Thomson, the chairman, explained the circumstances which led the Board to enlarge the school to accommodate 600 scholars, and said the cost had amounted to £2500. Dr Dunn congratulated the School Board on its enterprise and public spirit in erecting such a handsome and commodious building, and strongly urged parents to keep their children as long at school as possible, and not to entertain the popular delusion that a child’s education was completed when he passed the Fifth Standard. There never was a greater mistake, and it was in the interests of the child’s future life that he should be kept longer than to pass Standard Five. Mr J. Ritchie Welch St Andrews; Mr Barbour, headmaster; Rev. Mr Murray, and others, delivered addresses. Dr Dunn was awarded a hearty vote of thanks, and congratulated on the recent academic honour bestowed on him by St Andrews University. Dr Dunn and others were entertained to lunch in the Town Hall, when a number of appropriate toasts were proposed. In the evening a successful concert took place in the Town Hall.


A BRAVE CELLARDYKE CAPTAIN IN AUSTRALIA. The “Geelong Advertiser” the other month had the following: —On Sunday morning, about eight o’clock, while the Earl of Hopetoun cutter, was moored under Swan Island, it blowing a strong gale of wind and rough sea, the master of the cutter observed a vessel apparently aground and the Pile lighthouse lying signals for help. Captain Alex Cunningham late of Cellardyke, at once slipped his moorings, and under three-reefed mainsail and reefed staysail, set out to the ship. After a good scud, he found the barque, Elizabeth Graham, was hard and fast on the north-east end of the West Channel. The cutter dropped anchor to windward of her port quarter and sent her boat down alongside the vessel with a line, and as no one was sick or hurt and the cutter was in great danger. Captain Cunningham slipped his anchor and cleared his sails, getting the worst of it. This is about the 36th time that Captain Cunningham has rescued life and property at sea in rescue work. This case has cost the owner of the cutter six hours work, besides having to go back and pick up the cutter’s anchor and moorings, and repair sails, etc.


ADDITIONAL TRAWLER. —We understand that Mr Stephen Williamson has just purchased the Grimsby trawler, Monarch; and that Mr Michael Doig, late of Cellardyke, is to skipper the same. He is succeeded in the office of skipper the Faith by his brother James, who has been along with him the Faith for some time.

For Sale – A QUANTITY of FISHING GEAR, belonging to Michael Doig  junior., consisting of Nets, Bows, Messenger Rope, Great Lines, &c., will be Sold by Public Roup on Saturday, 8th April, at 38 West Forth Street, Cellardyke.

Mr W. Baird Laing, the engineer, read a long report on the drainage of Cellardyke, and submitted accompanying plane. On account of the level nature of James, John, George, and Shore Streets, it was found impassable to arrange the drainage system so as to have one outlet only, the average level of the streets being only about 16 feet above high water mark. In addition to this the amount of cutting it would have involved would have been large, and as very hard rock is found at a depth of even 18 inches in some places below the surface, the cost would have been considerable. This has necessitated the adoption of a system of sewers as close to the surface as possible so as to dispense with rock cutting, and in cases of this sort the pipes, in order to prevent breakage by heavy traffic, will have to be bedded in concrete. All the sewers throughout the burgh are to run in straight lines both in direction and level from manhole to manhole. No manholes are to be at a greater distance apart, with two exceptions, than 100 yards, so as to allow of cleaning at any time when there is obstruction. The gradients are all of a very satisfactory character, the flattest for 9-inch pipes being in West George Street where the gradient is 1 in 109, while 1 in 98 is the minimum, but as there is a good fall from Dove Street this will be quite sufficient to flush this section of the sewer. The flat gradient is caused through the rock being so near the surface, and through having the sewer trench as shallow as possible. In West Forth Street, the present 10- inch pipe will have to be removed from Ellice Street westwards for a distance of 59 yards so as to give a better run, as at present it is constantly being obstructed. The report then dealt with the construction of the sewers, pipes, manholes, and outlets, which were to be of iron pipes, sunk as much as possible into the rock so as to prevent the force of the sea breaking them, and at the outmost end they would he fitted with flap valves. The drainage he proposed to divide into four sections with different outlets. The first includes the west end, the second John Street to the Urquhart Wynd, and a portion of George Street, the third Dove Street, Shore Wynd, a small portion of Shore Street, and the eastern section of George Street, and the fourth the area from which the surface water from Shore Street alone has to be drawn off with the addition of the sewage from the houses. The cost of the construction of the scheme was estimated at £1073, but engineers fees, and inspector’s wages, &c., would bring up the total cost to £1300. After the report had been read and explained, the Council met in private to discuss it.

The Cellardyke Echo – 31/03/2022 – Issue 333


FOR SALE, Two BOATS, “Mary Anderson,” 57 feet long “May Queen,” 50 feet long Apply Robert Monatdore, Cellardyke.

Four Cellardyke lads were fined yesterday for stealing money from the house of an old woman in Kilrenny last week.

The hundred thirty deep sea boats of the East of Fife are being equipped for the long race east of the May to net the early shoal for bait, and then to ply the long line, so as to be back to the pier, say, by Thursday or Friday, with their hauls of cod, ling, &c. Herrings are still being netted in the Forth, but the supply is now precarious. In the meantime, in view of the large outlay for tackle, the fishing reached a crisis without parallel during the last ninety years. It is calculated that over 150 men have laid aside net and line between St Monans and Cellardyke.


On Thursday forenoon, while Mrs John Wilson, residing in James Street, was emptying a bucket of ashes over the garden wall on to the beech the gate suddenly gave way, and she fell on to the rocks below. On being picked up it was found that her shoulder blade had been dislocated, and her face cut and smashed.

The heritors of Kilrenny have unanimously agreed to retain the services of James Aitchison as grave-digger. The kirk session of Kilrenny wished him removed, but two petitions, largely signed, from Cellardyke and Kilrenny, were presented in his favour, and asking that his services should be retained The heritors have agreed to insert in their minutes an expression of regret that the kirk session should have presented a petition so unwarranted to them, and that had they complied with the request they would have been acting in an oppressive and unjust manner.


On Sunday afternoon the First Cellardyke Company of the Boys Brigade attended divine worship In the Chalmers Memorial Free Church. Fully 100 turned out under Captain Black. The Rev. Mr Macalpine officiated. The collection was the largest the Institution have as yet obtained.


 Mr Martin White and Professor Meiklejohn, who had been addressing meetings at Cellardyke and Pittenweem left Anstruther about ten o’clock on Saturday night in a carriage and pair for St Andrews. The snow was drifting heavily. When they were between three and four miles from Anstruther the carriage entered a snowdrift at the side of the road. It was ultimately found that it would be necessary to send to Anstruther for another machine. This was done, and the two gentlemen returned to the town, where they remained all night.

On Saturday evening a successful musical entertainment interspersed with readings, was given by the members of the Free Church choir and others in the Forth Street Hall, Cellardyke.

This week the yawls in Cellardyke have made a commencement to the crab fishing. Very few as yet have been obtained, but there is the prospect of a good season.


Collison off Cellardyke

At Cupar Sheriff Court yesterday —before Sheriff Henderson—Alexander Elder, fisherman, Pittenweem, master the fishing boat Euphemias, KY 321, and Andrew Innes, St Monans, master of the fishing boat Socrates, KY 2062, were charged with being without coloured lights in the Firth of Forth on 23d January last, about one mile distant from Cellardyke, in consequence of which their boats came into collision, whereby the Socrates was sunk and James fisherman, got one of his legs broken. James Ritchie Welch, who appeared for the accused, stated that the one was going to and the other was returning from the fishing. The boat belonging Innes was sunk with all the nets and fishing gear, with the result that it possibly meant his ruin. The insurance company had given Innes £100, which he did not think would meet the loss he had sustained. Mr Welch further observed that great laxity existed among the fishermen in not attending to the provisions of the Board of Trade in the matter of lights, and technically speaking both these men were guilty of the offence charged. He (Mr Welch) was satisfied that the publicity that would now be given to the unfortunate events would be sufficient to prevent a recurrence of such accidents. He trusted his Lordship would in the circumstances be of opinion that the ends of justice would be sufficiently met by imposing a small fine. Both men had suffered seriously through loss of time. The Fiscal (Mr Renton) said the prosecution was to direct the attention of fishermen to the fact that the Board of Trade regulations regarding the showing of lights in fishing boats would be strictly enforced. Sheriff Henderson, in giving judgment, said that, it was the first case of the kind that had occurred in the county, he was quite prepared to adopt the suggestion made, and he hoped that it would a warning to all fishermen, and he fined the accused each £1, or seven days’ imprisonment.

Mr Robert Williamson, Cellardyke, has secured the contract for the concrete stones to be placed in Dreel Burn in lieu of the present stones. The work is to be proceeded with as soon as possible, and when finished will prove very convenient for those wishing to use this “short cut” to West Anstruther, and vice versa.


A Kindly Act at Sea.—Mr W. Mair, the fishery officer Anstruther, has, on behalf the master (James Watson) and crew of the Cellardyke fishing boat, “Star of Bethlehem,” K.Y. 111, conveyed their sincere thanks to the captain of H.M.S. Galatea for kindly stopping his vessel in the North Sea on Friday last in answer to signal for assistance, and supplying them with provisions to bring them ashore. Fishing boats at this season of the year make short voyages, and are provisioned accordingly. The above crew started for the fishing on Monday, and were unexpectedly becalmed. Their provisions were quite exhausted when the Galatea hove in sight and relieved their necessities.

The Australian papers of February 9th, which have arrived this week, contain notices of the death of Mr A. Watson, jun., son of Mr A. Watson, late of Cellardyke, at the early age of 28 years. He acted as house steward and dispenser at the Maryborough hospital.

A meeting of fishermen was held in the Town Hall on Saturday to form a branch of the Fishermen’s Protection Society. Mr Martin Gardner presided over a small audience. Explanations were given of the aims and rules of the Society which was recently formed in Edinburgh, and it was resolved to form a branch in Cellardyke. A Committee was appointed to try and get many more fishermen to join.

ACCIDENT TO A YOUNG BOY. —Last Thursday night, while a young boy three year’s of age, named Alexander Davidson, was playing at Cellardyke harbour, he fell over the pier. Nobody observed the accident, but his cries attracted the attention of a neighbour, who had him conveyed home. On medical assistance being procured it was found that his collar bone had been dislocated. The tide was out at the time the accident occurred, or else the young fellow might have been drowned.

CONCERT. —Another very enjoyable Concert was given by the choir of Cellardyke Parish Church Bible Class in the Town Hall on Wednesday evening. There was a crowded house, the Rev. James Ray occupying the chair. The programme consisted of part songs, duets, solos violin solos, recitations, dialogues, all of which were rendered in most admirable style. The different performers were Misses Keay, Clark, McRuvie, Wood, and Messrs Fraser, Smith, Dick, and Taylor—Mr Taylor leading the choir in a most efficient manner. The large attendance should prove an incentive to the choir to continue their efforts, and afford the public the opportunity of spending a few more such evenings at such a moderate coat. The usual votes of thanks closed the proceedings.

Football – The Waid Park is to be the scene of what is certain to be an interesting match on Saturday when two sets of fishermen, the Cellardyke Bluejackets and the St Monans Swifts meet for the first time.

Boys Brigade Cellardyke Vs Anstruther. Although Saturday was a blank in junior circles. The juveniles were well to front; teams selected from the Cellardyke Boys’ Brigade representing Cellardyke and Anstruther meeting on the Waid Park, kindly lent for the day by the Rangers. The Cellardyke lads won the toss, and set Anstruther to kick off against the wind up the field. In spite of this disadvantage the latter held their own for a time, and many clever things were done in midfield by both sides. The Cellardyke left, however, got away, and, but for the excitement of the forwards would have scored The Anster lads cleared and had a share in attacking. The odds were too great against them, and a large share of the work fell on the defenders who made a brave show. Neither side scored had by half-time.  A considerable portion of the next stage was fought in mid field, but the plucky attacks by Anstruther at length secured the coveted point The young Dykers were not daunted and by some clever kicking had their revenge and the match ended in a draw of one goal each.

The Cellardyke Echo – 24/03/2022 – Issue 332


FISHERMAN DROWNED. – On the return of the fishing boat Victoria Cross from the fishing ground on Wednesday morning, Skipper John Doeg reported the loss of one of his crew, named David Doeg (Wood.) It appears that they were on their way home with a fresh breeze but calm sea, and when between the Isle of May and Anstruther, a blinding snow shower came on, followed almost immediately by a heavy sea, which swept over the boat and carried Doeg away, the skipper himself only saving himself by seizing hold of the side of the boat. As soon as possible, the boat was put round and steered back to the spot, but by this time no trace of the unfortunate man could be seen. Doeg, who was a quiet, steady, and inoffensive man, was about 50 years of age, and leaves a widow and one grown-up daughter.

Boat Insurance Club. —The recent disasters at sea and consequent serious losses of fishing property have led to the establishment “The East of Fife Boat Club,” the object of which is insure owners of boats against loss or damage by the perils the sea. Upwards of eighty skippers have already joined the club, and at the meeting held in Anstruther Saturday evening, directors were appointed, six being landsmen and six fishermen, chosen from Cellardyke, Pittenweem, and St Monance. The rules adopted provide for premium of 40s per cent., and the directors have power to charge for extra risks, boat is to be insured for more than three fourths her value, fixed by a surveyor. In order to guard against any shortcoming, it was agreed that, in the event boat being lost, only two-thirds of the amount insured should paid at the time, and should the funds permit, the remainder the close of the financial year. (from another article – There are, however, 156 fishing boats belonging to Cellardyke alone, while before the summer herring fishing that number will be increase to 164; and Pittenweem and St Monance furnish another 156, giving a total of 320 for these three parts. – The meeting then proceeded to appoint directors, six of whom by the rules require to be landsmen, and the other six to be fishermen chosen equally from Cellardyke, Pittenweem, and St Monance. Provost Anderson, Provost Martin, Bailie Watson, Messrs Cook, Oliphant, and David Murray were elected as the landsmen directors, and the following fishermen were also appointed :—Skippers Martin Gardner and Thomas Birrell, Cellardyke; William Wood and Robert Watt, Pittenweem; and Robert Boyter and William Meldrum.St Monance.)


A young man named Alexander Keith, carter, residing in Cellardyke, pled guilty to having, on the public road between Anstruther and St Andrews on the 10th inst., assaulted a labourer named Thomas Jack, and was fined 30s, or twenty-one days’ imprisonment.

JOHN BUTTERS, MERCHANT, Cellardyke, has much pleasure in intimating that he has been appointed by D. Mitchell  & Sons, of Aberdeen, SOLE AGENT in this District for the Sale of DAVIES’ WINCH for HAULING HERRING NETS, awl that the Price has been Reduced to £5, exclusive of carriage. Testimonials can be had application.


Fears are being entertained in Peterhead for the safety of the Progress, belonging that port. It is now over three weeks since she left Cellardyke for the Baltic, and several vessels leaving after her have since arrived at their destination.

CELLARDYKE BURGH POLICE COURT. —A diet of this Court was held on Friday last—Provost Watson and Bailie Sharp presiding. Malicious Mischief: Christopher Moir, James Moir, two apprentices, and George Moir, sons of Agnes Lindsay or Moir, a widow, were charged with a contravention of the 251st  section of the General Police Act, in so far as, on Sabbath, the 10th  instant, between five and seven o’clock evening, at or near the public school now being erected near West Forth Street, one or more of them did wilfully and maliciously break two fire-clay cans and one fire-clay sewer pipe, the property of Mr Alex. Wallace, builder. The two former only appeared and denied the charge, but after bearing the evidence of Police-constable Forsyth and Mr Wallace, the Magistrates found them guilty, and inflicted the modified penalty of 5s each.

On Saturday last, there was launched from the building yard of Mr Fulton a splendid carvel-built boat for Skipper David Watson, Cellardyke. The boat is nicely modelled and highly finished in every particular. This is now the second boat in succession which has been launched from this yard for Cellardyke owners, and we understand a third one will shortly be laid on also for Cellardyke. Mr Fulton has now commenced to one to be owned by one of our own townsmen.

At the Anstruther Burgh Police Court on Saturday —before Bailies Darsie and White—Thomas Bett and Robert Boyter, fishermen, Cellardyke, were charged with having fought with each other and created a great disturbance near the shop in Shore Street occupied by Mr William Graham, grocer, between nine and eleven o’clock on the night of the 9th inst. They pleaded not guilty, but after hearing the evidence the Magistrates held the charge proved, and sentenced the panels to pay a fine of 10s 6d each.


At Cellardyke, on the 10th instant, JOHN, son of the late David Moncrieff, aged 26 years.

At Cellardyke, on the 20th inst JOHANNA TAYLOR, wife of John Brown, fisherman, in the 39th year of her age.

At the Hospital, Calcutta, on the 20th ult., of cholera, ANDREW THOMSON, of Cellardyke, steward of the ship ‘John o Gaunt,’ a native of Dunbar.

EGGS of Prize Poultry—Duff Cochins, Dark Brahmas, and Spanish Houdans, at 4s 6d. Dyeing Golden and Silver polish, at 2 East Forth Street, Cellardyke.


Just PublishedDemy 8vo, Cloth Gilt, Price 3s 6d

Fisher Life, or the Memorials of Cellardyke and the Fife Coast

By George Gourlay, Anstruther – To be had from the Author


The Scotsman says:- “Mr G. Gourlay, of Anstruther, has brought together, evidently at the expense of considerable labour and research, in these Memorials of Cellardyke, a record of the growth, the calamities, and the successes, of the fisheries on the Fife coast. He tells his story with great simplicity, but with both point and pathos, and his book deserves to have more than local interest, as it certainly has more than local value.”

The Dundee Courier and Argus devotes a column to an appreciative review of the work, in the course of which it says:- ” Mr Gourlay’s daily avocation of newspaper correspondent and bookseller brings him into close contact with the people about whom he writes, and through these acquaintances and friendships he has obtained numerous personal narratives of deeply affecting incidents and stirring events connected with life, which he has here presented clothed in language of fervid and impassioned eloquence. Nothing could excel in intensity of interest and thrilling excitement his descriptions of the many sad tragedies which occur on these shores. . There are racy stories also of another kind, abounding in hairbreadth escapes and thrilling incidents. . To many an earnest worker whose body is buried in the bosom of the ocean this volume is a most appropriate and lasting monument, and the people of the Fife coast owe Mr Gourley a deep debt of gratitude for preserving to them in this substantial and elegant form these interesting memorials, which are sure to be highly prized by them and all those interested in seafaring life, not more for the matter than the skilful and graphic manner in which the work has been done.”

The two Cellardyke pioneers have begun the Shetland venture under the best auspices. Both boats arrived at Lerwick on Saturday, and are now ready to proceed to the haaf, where recent trials, it is said, have been as hopeful as the oldest Scandinavian can remember.


In the grey daybreak of Tuesday a castaway vessel was seen beating about in the storm by some sailors on Crail shore. It was a melancholy sight as the black hull—masts and sails gone —rose every now and then through the foaming water; but the wildest excitement and alarm filled every breast, when one or more of the crew were seen clinging to the wreck. Had the proposed lifeboat been available at the noble harbour of Home, the message of mercy could have been run on the instant, but as it was, Mr Alexander Watson, boatman to the Northern lights, left not a moment in driving to Anstruther, in order that the lifeboat “Admiral Fitzroy” might be sent to the rescue. The signal was only needed when a volunteer crew, with Skipper John Watson, as coxswain, launched away on the gallant service, and though pulling in the teeth of the storm were in little more than an hour alongside the luckless vessel on which a solitary survivor had been seen watching their progress, as one standing on the brink of the grave. He was seemingly overcome with the horrors and misery of the situation, but the strong hand of the intrepid boatman dragged him from his fatal perch into the lifeboat, which was then steered back under sail to the harbour. In the meantime it is impossible to describe the fever of interest and anxiety which filled the shore, and which sent the inhabitants of Anstruther and Cellardyke by one wild impulse to the piers. The popular emotion, however, appeared to have the most painful effect on the forlorn sailor, who at the sight of the crowd believed himself marked out for vengeance, but kind hands were ready to lead him to a place of succour and rest. His appearance was indeed heartrending. Drenched with wet and shivering with cold, his hands and legs bleeding with the chafe of the sea or perhaps by falling upon the torn wreck, he was so exhausted and confused as to be unable to answer or understand the interrogatories which were put to him, but the office of charity continued as unremitting as ever under the care of Dr Macarthur in the house of the harbour pilot, where he at last sank into a refreshing slumber. But while information was still closed from this source, a clue to the wreck was obtained by a scroll book which, with three chests and a quantity of driftwood, was washed ashore near Caiplie, and in this way came into the hands of Mr Flynn of the Coastguard. Startling as it may appear, the vessel was identified as the Norwegian brig ” Dimantin,” of Arendel, bound with battens to Leith, which has been so much before the public in connection with the extraordinary conduct of the captain in the offing of Montrose on Sabbath last. Under the pretext that he had lost his reckoning, he attempted to land with a man and a boy in a skiff, but was only saved from perishing in the surf by the approach of the lifeboat “Mincing Lane.” Subsequently the steam tug ” Bob Chalmers” went out to the assistance of the brig, but the mate, who was left on board with two men, so far repeated the story of the captain, and refused to leave the vessel, which was then tacking to the northward about eight miles from the shore. It had been proposed to put the captain on board of his brig, but night coming on this was not attempted till the following day, when, though a search was made by the steam tug, she could not be seen, in consequence of which the captain and his two men landed and took the train to Leith, in the belief that the ” Dimantin” had proceeded to her destination in the Forth. Such in reality had been the course resolved upon by the mate, but about two hours before midnight the brig struck with a tremendous wave, which threw her on her beam ends, and reduced her to the dismal wreck we have already described. The crash of falling spars and rigging had drowned the death-cry of his two companions, but the mate had been preserved through the terrors of the night by clinging to the surf-beaten wreck, though his sufferings were so great that be almost envied the grave which was rolling in surge and darkness around him. In the course of the afternoon he had so far wakened up as to be able to communicate these particulars to his countryman, Captain Rylestad, of the schooner “Rapp,” which was cast ashore last week near Randerston Castle. The brig “Dimantin” is an old craft of about 100 tons register. The escape of the “steersman,” as the mate is called in these vessels, was truly providential, for while the lifeboat was still on the voyage between the wreck and the pier the brig fairly heeled bottom up, when, if not before, the anchor slipped, and thus by an accident, so to speak, she was saved from being dashed against the rocks. She still held fast about mile from Caiplie caves as night settled on the sea, but the beach was strewn with the timber which composed her cargo. In consequence of the telegram sent to Leith, Skipper Hoyer, who is also the owner of the ship, and Mr Hutchieson, the Norwegian Consul, arrived at Anstruther by the evening train. The unfortunate vessel broke from her moorings in the course of Tuesday evening, and next morning ship and cargo lay as so much driftwood amongst the rocks. Sea and wind had risen more violently than before, and the rotten old craft, which had gone ashore keel up, had rapidly gone to pieces on the rugged strand before Caiplie Caves. The following are the names of the crew :—Johan Hoyer, master; Olaf Rode, mate ; Andreus Rode, cook and steward ; Niels Rode, ordinary seaman; Throe Bodin, ditto; and Niels Neilson, carpenter. The last two have been drowned. The poor survivor gives some affecting particulars of their last moments. Darkness had closed upon the unhappy mariners, when seeing the red lantern of Crail like a beacon of danger to the NE., they slipped both anchors in six fathoms of water. It was about nine o’clock; cold and weary they huddled together in the forecastle till a long lurch sect the mate on deck, when he saw that the waterlogged brig was fast settling on her beam ends. The old carpenter and young Bodin sprang to his call, and the three had just secured themselves on the weather gunwale when the crash came. The frost wind blew fierce and keen, and the sea ever and anon rolled over the miserable craft, so that it was only with the grasp of despair they were able to hold on to the iron stays. Who can wonder, then, that flesh and spirit began to fail ; but after a while the old carpenter seemed to rise in a kind of sacred rapture, and telling him companions that he had made his peace with God by laying hold on Jesus, his hand relaxed and his last secret lay buried in the billows. It was midnight, and the two still clung to the chains, but the young sailor was already all but overcome by the stupor of death. The steersman forgot his own misery in his efforts to save him, but it was all In vain, and also he was washed away by the pitiless surge. Life in such an hour is little to be envied, but the eyes of the poor castaway were soon cheered by the bleated morning light, and hoping against hope, perchance he clung to the stanchions till deliverance came on the very brink of eternity, seeing that the lifeboat had scarcely turned from the wreck when she was rolling keel up in the raging storm—in fact, an escape, so hairbreadth and providential as that of Olaf Rode is scarcely recorded in the annals of the sea.

The Cellardyke Echo – 17/03/2022 – Issue 331


FIFE TEACHERS TO PESTER M.P. Campaign Against Economy- Circular.

The colossal building programme with which they are faced is being submitted by the Fife Education Authority to the Scottish Education Department at the latter’s own request. It understood that the figure in connection with the building scheme is somewhere in the region of £500 00o embraces the erection of eight new schools and substantial additions to about twelve others.

The decision of the Educational Institute of Scotland to organise a campaign against the economy circular of the Education Department was intimated at a meeting of Fifeshire branch of the Institute in Cupar on Saturday, when Mr J. Calder, Kelty, presided.

Mr R. Munro, Cellardyke, the Treasurer of the branch, reported on a special meeting of Edinburgh, Leith, Lothians and Fifeshire officials held in Edinburgh the previous evening, and stated that the campaign against the circular would last four or five weeks They were to arrange a system of pestering the local M.P., whereby 100 postcards should reach him every week for the next five weeks. (Laughter.)

The whole question won raised by the General Committee, whose report stated that they could not get a move on the salary question until they cleared the air with their demonstrations. That propaganda was promoted in aid of the salaries campaign.

Mr J. Robb, Kirkcaldy, dial not think teachers were acting wisely in pushing such propaganda at present. It would lead to large dilution of their ranks.

Mr Munro stated they had no choice, as it was the work of the headquarters.

Asked how many teachers had left Fife, Mr Munro said the number was considerable but not greater than they expected. All the teachers that were coming to Fife were coming from Orkney and Shetland.

 The meeting refused to love anything to do with the E.I.S. Promotion.. Committee’s minute condemning it as a waste of paper.



The following candidates from Cellardyke Navigation Classes were awarded certificates at the Board of Trade examination held at Anstruther Skippers—William Muir, 28 James Street; David Parker. 19 West Forth Street: John Tarvit, 22 Fowler Street: David Tawse. 63 George Street: Alex. Thomson. 24 George Street: and James Watson. 9 Burnside Terrace, Cellardyke; Fergus Hughes, 9 Abbey Park, and James Anderson, 21 Mid Shore, Pittenweem. Second Hands—James Barclay. 8 Fowler Street; David Gourlay, 9 Dove Street; John Stewart, 16 James Street; David Christie, 26 Rodger Street: Thomas Corstorphine, 41 John Street: Alex. Doig. 12 West Forth Street: Alex. Gardner, 20 James Street; David Henderson. 51 James Street; Alex. McRuvie 20 James Street.


HERRING FISHING. ANSTRUTHER. Thursday. – Lighter returns, only about 150 crans being landed. Highest shot. 30 cran- from Cellardyke steam drifter Cromorna Demand poor. Prices from 9s to 15s per cran! Three drifters returned from West Coast fishing.

 A few days later

HERRING FISHING HARVEST IN THE EAST NEUK. Last year the herring fishing season in the East of Fife continued until April 26, and there is every likelihood that, this season it will also be extended well into next month. Compared with the present season, prices last year were much higher. Up to yesterday the crans landed at Anstruther, Pittenweem, St Monans, and Crail totalled 8280, representing value of £9634, while for the same period last year 9500 crans were discharged and fetched a sum of £14,300. Yesterday’s fishing was fair, over 200 crans being delivered. The Cellardyke steam drifter Cromorna had the highest shot (35 crans). Prices were from 18s 24 6d per cran.


In the absence of their husbands at the fishing, Cellardyke women, accompanied in most cases by younger members of the family, paid tribute by their presence yesterday at the funeral to the late Rev. G. S. Anderson, minister of the parish of Kilrenny for the past 47 years.

The remains were interred in Kilrenny Churchyard with full Masonic honours. About 30 brethren and companions of Lodge St Ayle (No. 95), Anstruther, of which deceased was Past Master, and Dreel Castle Royal Arch Chapter preceded the coffin, which was conveyed by hearse from the manse to the churchyard gates. Members of the Kirk Session, the Presbytery of St Andrews, and the general public followed. The service in the house was conducted by Bro. Rev. J. R. Lee, Chaplain of Lodge St Ayle. Six brethren and companions representing the Lodge and Chapter carried the coffin to the graveside, where the Masonic service was performed Bro. C. H. Maxwell, R.W.M., assisted by Companion R. Sime, M.E.Z., and Bro. Lee. The depositing of sprig of heather by the brethren and companions completed a most impressive service.


HERRING FISHING. ANSTRUTHER, Wednesday.-The largest herring for the season was landed Anstruther by the Cellardyke steam drifter Abdiel (skipper Lock Horsburgh), which put out total 85 crans approximately 92,000 herrings. The bulk of the catch realised 20s per cran, the remainder realising 19s per cran. The fleet was well fished, about 400 in all being discharged. Other shots note were from the steam drifters Venus (22 crans). Scot (16) Daisy (16). Cromorna (12): Pittenweem motor boats Margaret (15) and Courageous (12): and BK. motor boat Tweedale (10) Prices ranged from 12s – 22s per cran.



Mr J. Duncan Millar, K.C., prospective Liberal candidate for East Fife, spoke in the Town Hall, Cellardyke, on Saturday. Provost J. Mitchell occupied the chair, but, contrary to expectation. Sir Robert Hamilton, M.P. for Orkney and Shetland, was not present. Mr Millar said that until business relations were again opened with Russia the fishermen on the Fife coast could not expect a speedy return to pre-war conditions. Instead of attempting to open up trade with Russia the present Government were closing all doors. The Government were spending millions on the mud flats at Singapore while they could be doing a great deal towards the alleviation of unemployment at home if they would take in hand home harbours. Cellardyke possessed a fine harbour, which could be made a prosperous centre if the Government would give up their policy of false economy. The fishermen had not received fair treatment at the hands of the Government.

When the country was faced with a crisis the Liberals were generally called upon to take over the reins and hoped that East Fife would soon return to its old position as Liberal constituency.


Man Missing.-John Bett, a Cellardyke fisherman, has been missing since last Tuesday evening. Bett was last seen the 13th inst. between nine and ten in the evening, as if on his road home. His description is:—Height, 5 feet or 4 inches, fresh complexion, and fair hair turning grey. When last seen he was wearing a brown suit, blue jersey, and light cap. His initials, J. B., are tattooed on his left arm.


CELLARDYKE LANTERN LECTURE. Rev. J. R. Lee presided over a gathering of the congregation of Cellardyke Parish Church, when Mr W. Cecil Collinson gave a lantern lecture on Mission Work in Algeria.” Mr Collinson is honorary secretary of the Algerian Mission.

The Cellardyke Echo – 10/03/2022 – Issue 330


A grand concert under the auspices of the Guiding Star Lodge, was given in Cellardyke Town Hall on Saturday. Rev. Mr Ray presided over a fair attendance. The programme was an excellent one, and where each of the artistes did well individual criticism is unnecessary, but mention might be made of the delightful entertainment given by Mr Lawson, whose step dancing was a feature of the evening and well merited the encores which were called for. The solos, duets, quartets and recitations were well rendered by the Misses Clark, Jack, and Fraser and Messrs Wood, Hepburn, and Williamson, and not the least pleasing items were the selections by an orchestra under the leadership of Mr Watson. A most enjoyable programme, which deserved a much larger audience, was brought to a close with a special vote of thanks to Miss Mitchell, Pittenweem. who performed her arduous duties as accompanist very satisfactorily.

Property sales.—On Wednesday afternoon, there was exposed for sale in the Town Hall, the Butts Park, situated at the west of Rodger Street, for which Mr Williamson, plasterer, offered the sum of £195. The reserve, however, being £200, left it open to the sellers to refuse or accept within a certain period. A dwelling house and garden in John Street, was also exposed, and Mr R. Melville, fishcurer, offered £50, but the reserve was £70. and it was also continued. A byre and stable in John Street was bought by Mr Andrew Clark, mason, for £50.

A serious accident occurred in West Anstruther on Monday night, when George Ferguson, butcher. Cellardyke, sustained severe bruises. He had been at the goods station removing a cattle beast in a float to Cellardyke, and in attempting to jump to the vehicle missed his hold, and slipped between the horse’s heels and the float. The axle of the float crushed him when he fell to the ground, but fortunately the horse was stopped in time. Before Ferguson could be extricated the horse had to be unyoked. He was carried into Mr Lindsay’s house, and attended by Dr Ferguson, who found that although no bones had been broken, he had been severely bruised. He was laid on a stretcher, and conveyed to his home in West Forth Street, Cellardyke, where he is progressing favourably.


FIFE FATALITIES. LIVES LOST ON LAND AND SEA. Heavy Inquiry List Cupar. Sheriff Armour and a jury at Cupar to-day heard evidence under the Fatal Accidents Inquiry Act, 1895, relative to six recent fatalities the county of Fife. …… THE PERILS OF THE DEEP. .Two of the inquiries had reference to accidents to fishermen. Both were returning home from the fishing ground at the May Island, and were engaged tacking the sails, when a heavy sea caused their boats to lurch, and plunged the unfortunate fishermen into the sea. The names of the deceased were Peter Boyter, Cellardyke, who was on board the Elizabeth Keay, and Alexander Gowans Cellardyke, who was aboard the Balmoral.


The fourth steam drifter built by Mr Miller since September was launched at Anstruther on Monday afternoon, to the order of Messrs R. Melville & Sons, fishcurers, Cellardyke. The vessel was named the Primrose, and is considered to be one of the beet models and strongest of boats sent out of the Anstruther building yard.

HERRING NETS PICKED UP.—On arrival at Granton of the trawler Challenger on Saturday, the master, Edward Forbes, reported having picked up about 50 herring nets, with 13 floats attached, on Friday afternoon about four or five miles east of the North Carr lightship. From the marks on the floats it is supposed that they belong to Cellardyke fishermen, and were abandoned during the gale which prevailed last week. The nets were heavily laden with herrings. The letters C. D, are common to all.


Among the recent deaths in Cellardyke was that of Mr James Smith (Robertson), who was a prominent figure in the town, and one of the old type of sturdy Scotch characters fast dying out. He was an elder first in Kilrenny Church, and latterly in Cellardyke Church for the long period of 4 years. In Cellardyke Church on the 1st inst., Rev. Mr Ray preached an eloquent sermon on his and other deaths in the community.


In the House of Commons last Thursday, Major Anstruther Gray (St Andrews Burghs) asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether, in view of the numbers of fishing boats plying their trade at the herring fishing in the Firth of Forth, particularly in the vicinity of the May Island and four miles to the westward thereof, he will arrange that his Majesty’s Fleet would pass through these waters so far as possible by daylight to prevent loss of life and nets amongst the herring fleet at this season of the year. The First Lord of the Admiralty (Mr McKenna)—it is not practicable to restrict the use of His Majesty’s ships of regular fairways of traffic, such as the Firth of Forth, in the manner suggested by hon. member. Such a restriction in any case would be incomplete; the bulk of the traffic in this locality was composed of merchant vessels. Charts are being prepared for the information of His Majesty ships, showing the most probable positions of the fishing fleet at different periods of the year, and it is hoped that the fishing boats will co-operate with all efforts to avoid risk of damage by showing proper lights. Replying to a further question. The First Lord of the Admiralty said he could not name a date for the issue of charts. Major Anstruther Gray asked if a special warning could be issued in view of the great danger to the fishermen round May Island, but no answer was given.

Major Anstruther-Gray, M. P. has given notice that in the House of Commons to-day he will ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he has received any claim” from David Parker , of Cellardyke , skipper of the fishing boat John and Agnes , ML ; 95 , who has lost the whole of his nets to the value of £25. having been cut away by the ships of His Majesty’s Fleet between 3 A.M. and 4 A.M. on the 3rd instant; whether he will favourably consider this claim, and will further compensate him for the loss of his time while deprived of his means of livelihood, and whether he can now see his way to taking any steps towards safeguarding the lives and property of the fishermen in the Firth of Forth.

SCOTTISH FISHERMEN’S GALLANTRY At its monthly meeting London yesterday, the Royal Humane Society made the following,’ amongst other, awards in Scottish cases:— medal to William Wilson, fisherman, Cellardyke, Fife, for his heroic action February 11, whereby four lives were saved. Shortly after midnight the fishing boat Triumph, in attempting to enter Anstruther Harbour, was driven on the rocks by the heavy sea running. The only hope of rescue was for someone to swim ashore with a line, and this Wilson volunteered try and do. ‘ Clad in thick clothing, and wearing heavy sea boots, took a line, and, plunging into the boiling surf, succeeded after hard struggle in reaching land, his four comrades being then got shore safety.

The Cellardyke Echo – 04/03/2022 – Issue 329


Methil – COAST MISSIONARY WORK —As there is a large fleet of fishing boats at Anstruther just now, Mr M. M. Boyd, the seaman’s missionary, went along and conducted a service in the Town Hall, Cellardyke, last Sabbath evening. About 270 were present, fully 100 being fishermen from the boats in the harbour. Mr Boyd addressed the Gospel Temperance meeting on the Saturday night when there were 150 present. We understand that a request has been made to the Mission to allow Mr Boyd to go to Anstruther and work amongst the fishermen for the month of March. He will come up to Methil two days every week, but as there are fully 1000 fishermen from other places fishing off Anstruther, there is evidently a full month’s earnest work before him. His many friends in the district will heartily wish him God-speed in this special mission East-by. The services in the iron church will be discontinued meanwhile.

Disaster To Fishing Fleet.—Terrible devastation has been wrought among the North Sea fishing fleet by the gales of the 15th and 19th ult. To the homes of the steam liner crews at Aberdeen, Shields, and Cellardyke the losses come with a heavy hand. Five Aberdeen crews are missing, and now also all hope has been abandoned of the Shields liner Bernicia and her crew of ten, the eight fishermen belonging to Cellardyke. This is the heaviest blow that has fallen on the East Coast for at least twenty years. Cellardyke has known nothing to equal it since the disaster to the Yarmouth fleet. In the losses of the Garland, ten years ago, and the Lady of the Lake five years ago, seven men each were concerned. The eight fishermen who manned the Bernicia have left six wives and 24 children, while the engineer was also married and leaves a family of three in Shields. At the request of the Fishery Officer. Mr Rosie, the cruiser Jackal left on Wednesday to search the coast for the missing liners. The Aberdeen authorities also joined in this request. On Monday afternoon a telegram was received from the Fishery Board by Mr Rosie, intimating that the cruiser Jackal, which had been sent out on an errand of search through the North Sea, had reached Invergordon, from whence the Captain wired he had found no trace whatever of the liner or any of the crew’s belongings. In several of the East of Fife churches on Sunday affecting references were made to the (inmates. The names of the crew of the Bernicia were:—Thomas Watson, skipper, married and three of a family ; Daniel Henderson, married and grown-up family ; Alexander Boyter, married and six of a family ; Alexander Gardiner, married and five of a family ; Thomas Gardiner, married, but no family ; Alexander Murray, married and eight of a family ; James Stevenson (20), unmarried; Thomas Ritchie (18), unmarried, all of Cellardyke. Fred Lloyd, engineer, a native of Shields, married and three of a family. Fireman’s name unknown.


PERFORMANCE OF KINDERSPIEL AT CELLARDYKE. Last Friday night a number of children drawn from the Baptist Sunday School gave a performance, of the Kinderspiel ‘The day of rest and gladness’, in the Town Hall, Cellardyke, in aid of the cleaning fund of the Church.


There was launched from the boatbuilding yard of Mr Millar, on Monday, a first class fishing boat built to the order of Messrs David and Leslie Brown, Cellardyke. As she left the weighs she was named “Otway,” the christening ceremony being performed by Miss Chrissy Birrell, Anstruther. The boat is one of the large size, and her dimensions are 68ft over stems, 21ft beam and 9ft depth. Mr Millar is to proceed immediately to lay down keel for a similar craft, to the order of a Shetland fisherman.

Coast Mission

Mr Boyd gave an address last Sunday morning to the Boys Brigade in Cellardyke Town Hall, basing his remarks on the words of the Saviour “Show me a penny,” Luke 20 and 24. We understand that he intends putting book bags with periodicals, etc., on board these boats intending to go to the Shetland fishing, and any friends interested who may have any periodicals, sacred or secular, that they might wish to give for this purpose, might kindly send them to Mr T. Cunningham, Harbour Head, who has kindly consented to undertake their collection.



On Monday night, a public meeting of fishermen and others was held in the Town Hall, Cellardyke, to consider the advisability of taking steps to procure a new lifeboat for the district. There was a very large attendance, the Hall being filled, and the stranger fishermen from the different parts of the coast were well represented. Provost Black presided, and he was accompanied to the platform by Rev. Mr Ray, Mess’s Watson, Dr Wilson, W. Keir, Anstruther ; James Pratt, James Jack, Martin Gardiner, James Meldrum, Peter Muir, and John Carstairs, Cellardyke.

The Provost said he was sorry they had been deprived of the presence of Provost Morton, Anstruther, at their meeting. He was Chairman of the Lifeboat Committee, and while on his way to the meeting he sprained his ankle and had to go home. This meeting had been called for the special purpose of considering the position and the condition of the lifeboat at Anstruther, after the occurrence of last Friday. He was not in a position to say anything about the lifeboat, but he understood there were some fishermen from the north coast present who had had experience of lifeboats, and he hoped that they would be induced to express their opinions. (Applause). He asked that they should have a fair and frank expression of opinion as regards the lifeboat, so that they might not be the slightest doubt as to their attitude, and they might come to a conclusion as to what was to be done. (Applause).

Mr Martin Gardiner said the lifeboat was in the water before he got along on Friday morning, and he could not say very much about her behaviour. The disabled boat was in a very bad position, and while everybody was anxious to render the crew every assistance they had not a proper lifeboat to do so. He had been connected with the lifeboat ever since there was one in the place. He was coxswain of the first lifeboat. She was a very fine boat, and he never lost faith in her. He had not had so much experience of the present lifeboat, but he must say he never liked her at all. He had thought that they should have a service boat at Anstruther as they had in other places, and perhaps some of the Ferryden men present would say whether such a boat was needed for Anstruther. He was told that the service boat at Montrose was as handy as the lifeboat. The present lifeboat was not suited for Anstruther. She was too heavy and clumsy, and so far as his experience in her went he could never do anything with her under oars in heavy weather. It was for the crews that were in the lifeboat on Friday morning to give their views, but if the lifeboat was not serviceable they should not keep her any longer. (Applause.) If the men had lost faith in her they could not keep her. The fishermen of Cellardyke were as brave and daring as any men on the coast of Scotland—(applause) —and as willing and ready to render assistance to save the lives of their fellow men as any. He never saw a man hang back yet. (Applause.)

Skipper James Pratt, the coxswain, said they were not there so much to make speeches as to speak their minds freely. For some years back there had been a drawback in forming crews for the lifeboat. Some time ago it was proposed to have the present lifeboat thoroughly tested on a rough night, but that had never been done, as they had never had the opportunity. He had had some experience of the lifeboat, and his candid opinion was that she was not suited for this coast. The way she behaved on Friday reminded him of a blown-up present lifeboat was of no use whatever to their coast. (Applause.) If a boat cannot be used he did not see how it could be of any use to them. (Applause.)

Mr Martin Gardiner said they would never get men to risk their lives in that lifeboat, and they desired a boat that would do her work in all kinds of weather. (Applause)

Coxswain John Sheriff explained the circumstances as they occurred on Friday morning. There were 12 of a crew, and only three be-longed to this district. He shouted for a volunteer, but no one came, the reason being that the Cellardyke men had lost confidence in the lifeboat and would not go out in her. There were plenty of men standing about the piers, but they had no sooner got the lifeboat away from the piers than she blew about like a bow into the inner harbour. After they got the lifeboat to the east side to the harbour mouth she was blown into the inner harbour again, and neither with the sails nor the oars could they get her out. The boat was not suited to them, and they must have another or none at all.

Skipper Robert Meldrum said he had been connected with the lifeboat from the first. The first boat was a good one, but the present boat was not. He had tried her in all kinds of weather. The last time was with the Inspector but; they could not get her to go the way he wanted. If they had lighter boat with a centre board they could manage her capitally. The present boat was far too heavy.

A Buckhaven fisherman said a boat with a centre board would not do for Anstruther as there was not enough water sometimes. The present lifeboat was right enough, but not suited or Anstruther. In fact it was useless here. Applause).

Rev. Mr Ray said he did not suppose it was unknown what was said about them. It was no secret that it was said that the Cellardyke fishermen were too cowardly to go out in bad weather when there watt a boat in danger. He was glad of that meeting, and to hear what had been said, because it would help to dispel that false opinion about the fishermen of Cellardyke. What affected them affected him. Their good name was his good name, and he was glad that it had been made clear that the reason why the fishermen of Cellardyke did not go out in the lifeboat was not because of any unwillingness to face danger, but solely on account of the unsuitableness of the lifeboat. (Applause.) It was high time not merely that the people of the place should know that, but that the members of the Institution should know it. He heard it stated the other day by a well-known man in Anstruther, an intelligent and well-to-do man in every respect, that the reason why he had refused to give a contribution to the lifeboat in Anstruther was, not on account of any fault he had with the fishermen, but because of his belief that the lifeboat was utterly useless for this coast. (Applause.) He had no doubt if they had a new lifeboat there in which they had confidence, the men of Cellardyke would be as ready to face danger as they had ever proved themselves in the past. (Applause.) If they had a new lifeboat they soon have the local funds largely increased. The fact that the coxswains had lost faith in the boat must induce them to go to the parent institution without any shilly-shallying, but to tell them straight that this lifeboat could not be used by them, and that they must have another and one they could work. (Applauae.)

Mr Henry Watson, solicitor, Anstruther, said while he was glad to be present, he must frankly tell them that the expressions of opinion on the lifeboat had come upon him quite as a surprise. He had been associated with the lifeboat cause for many years, and attended nearly all the Committee meetings for many years, and he must candidly say that this was the first expression of opinion he had heard that the boat was unsuitable. The members of the Committee would bear him out in that. It might have been that last Friday was the only opportunity of testing the boat in face of danger, but they required a boat that would be of service in extremely bad weather. It had been very clearly brought out that the lifeboat was unsuitable both in sailing and under oars on their coast. It had been frequently discussed with the Inspector on his visits as to whether it was worthwhile to have a lifeboat here. This boat had never saved a life, but whether that was because she had not got the chance or was unable to do so he did not know. The very watchword of the Lifeboat Institution was efficiency, and unless the lifeboat was efficient in every respect there was no use having her. He would like the meeting to decide whether they wanted another lifeboat here. If they had only turned out in such large numbers at the annual meetings, and had made similar remarks as had been made to-night they would have had an up-to-date boat long ago. He was certain the parent institution would favourably consider any application from them, as they were anxious to have everything up to date, and to have efficient lifeboats. As to the site of the house it had been brought under the notice of the directors in London, and was still before them. Dr Wilson said he agreed with Mr Ray’s remarks in regard to the slights put on the Cellardyke fishermen. He had heard these over and over again. He had disputed with people and had maintained that there was on the east coast of Scotland no men to compare with the fishermen of Cellardyke. (Applause,) As regards the lifeboat it had seemed to him that the feeling for years had got very lukewarm. Every time the lifeboat has been needed she had been utterly unable to get out of Anstruther harbour. The reason of the lukewarmness of the fishermen towards the lifeboat was, not that they were unwilling to face danger, but because they knew it was an utter impossibility to get her out or the harbour in any gale. A lifeboat was needed there that could go out of the harbour in a south easterly gale. (Applause)

Mr Drysdale, coastguard, concurred in the necessity of getting a new lifeboat. Last September when the boat %muted to go to the rescue of the wrecked steamer Tinto they could not get her out of the harbour. The required a boat that would go out in all gales to save life. He did not think they would get a lifesaving rocket apparatus in Anstruther, as there were one in Crail and Elie on either side of them. He reminded the meeting that he and the other coastguards were to make a house to houses visit for subscriptions for the lifeboat from Elie on to Cellardyke, and he hoped everyone would liberally subscribe.

A show of hands was taken as to whether a new lifeboat was required for Anstruther, and the Chairman declared the vote unanimous. He then asked that a Committee of seven should be appointed to draw up a memorandum to be submitted to the local Lifeboat Committee for transmission to London. Mr William Smith, caretaker of the lifeboat, said he would like to know if they had new lifeboat if the fishermen would come forward and go in her. He had had considerable trouble to get crews over and over again both for exercise and when the boat was needed. The Provost—l have every confidence in our Cellardyke men that if a new lifeboat was got they would come forward when necessary. The following were appointed the Committee: —Rev. Mr Ray, Messrs John Sheriff, James Jack, James Pratt, Wm. Sutherland, Alexander Ritchie, and Martin Gardiner, junr. A vote of thanks to the Provost terminated the proceedings. The Committee afterwards met, and agreed to meet on Saturday night to draw up a memorandum to the local lifeboat Committee for a new boat.


The three towns East and West Anstruther, and Kilrenny, or Cellardyke, form practically one community, but are distinct Royal burghs, with Royal charters. The wonder has often been expressed that they should have continued so long as three distinct municipalities, with separate Town Councils, and the various offices connected with municipal Corporations. At last the question amalgamating the burghs has been brought up, for at a meeting of West Anstruther Town Council last night. Provost Penney said he had been approached by a number ratepayers, and urged to take some steps to have the matter discussed. His suggestion was that a Committee should appointed to meet Committees from East Anstruther and Kilrenny, in order to consider the matter, and see if a basis or understanding could not arrived at, on which to unite the burghs in one. Amalgamation would a great benefit all concerned from a financial and economical point view. The conference would only be preliminary to begin with. One or two members expressed themselves against the proposal on the ground that the taxation was lower in West Anstruther than the other two burghs, and did not see that their burgh would be benefited. Ultimately the Provost’s suggestion was agreed to, and the Provost Magistrates, and Councillor Dickson were appointed the Committee arrange a conference with the other burghs.

The Cellardyke Echo – 24/02/2022 Issue 328


A number of the crews intended to have gone to sea early on Monday morning, the tide then being suitable, but they were prevented by a strong gale of wind, which continued with almost unabated force the whole day, and only the large boats belonging to Cellardyke left the harbour in the afternoon. These were as a rule poorly fished on Tuesday morning, but the same afternoon the whole fleet proceeded to sea, and on Wednesday the fishing was the best that has yet been experienced this season. Although very general, a large number of the crews had only small quantities, but takes of from 20 up to 49 crans were not uncommon, and over the fleet there was the excellent average of six crans……. As the fishermen report that they have seldom if ever seen the herrings so closely packed together, this trifling shortcoming may be made up in a single day. . Chiefly in consequence of the strong tides this week, a good many of the fishermen on Wednesday night suffered considerable loss by the destruction of their nets. In one case, (that of Skipper Martin Gardner, who landed the highest take yesterday), the nets were so torn and destroyed that it will probably be a day or two before he can proceed to sea, while Skipper Thomas Birrell was heard to declare, that he would rather not have seen the 40 crans which made up his cargo……….. The most of the Cellardyke crews, however, ventured out. In the course of Wednesday and yesterday, no less than 200 waggons loaded entirely with fish were despatched from the railway station here. Each waggon holds from 35 to 40 barrels, so that the consignments were upwards of 7000 barrels of herrings and big fish. Of this immense quantity, about 150 waggons were sent to English towns, the remainder going to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Kirkcaldy, Dunfermline, Perth, Dundee, Forfar, Aberdeen, &c.

A letter was read front Miss Mary Ann Forrester, intimating that on account of ill health she was compelled to resign her situation as pupil teacher in the Infant School, Cellardyke. The resignation was accepted, and Miss Lawrie authorised to prepare a candidate for presentation at the next examination of pupil teachers.


Breach of Certificate. –  Another case breach of grocers’ certificate came before the magistrates Kilrenny on Thursday—Provost Watson and Bailie Brown the bench. The panel, this instance, was Isabella Smith, the widow of the late Thomas Anderson, John Street, Cellardyke, who is charged with supplying drink to be consumed on the premises to Donald Morrison, flesher, Crail, and Angus Mackay, fisherman, Cellardyke, Saturday, the 1st of February, in contravention of her certificate a grocer. The detection had been made by the constables on the beat; but Mrs Anderson pleaded guilty, and being the first offence, she was fined in the mitigated of 23s, with 5s 6d of expenses, which was paid in Court.

Sale or Fish Curing Premises. — We understand that the well-known fish-curing premises on the skirts of Cellardyke, occupied by Mr James Watson, have just been purchased by him for the sum of £500. These premises, like so many others, were erected in the golden days of the Fifeshire curing trade some five-and-twenty year- ago, when the old gardens, however sunny and picturesque, were brushed away to make room for kiln and cooperage. But fortune like the tide is not always in one direction as appears from the price now paid for the property, which in situation as in repair, is one of the most eligible on the coast. The property has been for many years in the hands of Mr Robert Cormack Coldingham shore. Mr Watson, the new proprietor, has long been the father of the Anstruther trade, and his many friends, we are sure, will now cordially unite their good wishes over the interesting transaction.

Herring Engagements on the Fife Coast.— With notably few exceptions the three hundred and twenty boats or so, belonging to the East of Fife, are now under missive for the ensuing Lammas fishery. The fleet will be distributed from Stonehaven to Wick, but the Fraserburgh district will gather about one half of the whole, and the reason lies at the finger point, seeing the more seaward the search is the more possible or probable if look to experience, are the chances of the season. The conditions, rule, are 22s in full or 21s a cran, with £10 of bounty for the usual compliment of 200 crans. With regard to late herrings, that is when the fish are landed the day after capture or when the expedient has been resorted to of preserving them in salt is now so frequently dune with light haul, the price will range from 12s to 15s a cran. It is a hopeful sign that the terms are not receding; on the contrary, we hear of several Cellardyke skippers closing with local firm at 22s barrel.

The Magistrates of Pittenweem held a Burgh Court on Tuesday, when a young Cellardyke carter, Walter Myles, was placed at the bar under the following circumstances:—It appears that on the previous day Myles and a cronie had been drinking in ” Willie Heugh’s public,” when, instead of calling in the other gill, he had gone to the spirit cellar and run off a bottle with which to continue the spree. The trick was complete, but at the moment, and when the coast was all but cleared, the landlord himself stood like a barricade in the doorway, from which the poor carter only emerged in the custody of the constable. On being asked to plead to the indictment, “I was sae drunk,” said he, “that I ken naething about it.” Eventually, however, he admitted the charge of theft, when, after the Bench consulted together, Provost Henderson said that it was the recognised rule to punish theft with imprisonment, but the Magistrates had been induced to make an exception in the present case for the sake of the culprit’s father, to whom he made a feeling allusion, which was evidently not lost on the better part of the unhappy panel, who was then sentenced to pay a fine of 15s, or twenty days in jail, His friend and brother whip from Anstruther, David Parker, was next at the bar charged with a breach of the peace by cursing and swearing and causing a tumult at the lock-up door, which, however, had been summarily ended by the constable thrusting him into a vacant cell as soon as he had disposed of the other culprit. Parker also pleaded guilty, and after a pointed reprimand was fined in the sum of 7s 6d, with the alternative of eight days in jail. The fines were paid.

We understand that Mr John Ritchie, Fishcurer, Cellardyke, has secured the site at St Ayles Crescent adjoining the Baptist Manse, and intends proceeding as soon as possible with the erection of a twin villa. Only two sites of the Trades Box Society’s ground at St Ayles now remain to be taken up.

Our Households.—Notwithstanding one of the most severe and frost-bound winters on record, the health of the district has been exceptionally well maintained, and more than one hoary sexton has remarked to that he has seldom seen the rust on the church-yard spade so little disturbed as during the quarter now registered with the past. Of late, however, and almost from the day ushering in the change of weather, affections of the throat and distress of a more or less febrile type has been prevalent amongst the little ones, but as a rule the attacks have not been severe, though in more than one case we regret to observe the change has been of a fatal character. Amongst these is a sweet child of six summers- smitten like the opening blossom by the cruel frost wind—of the household of Mr Robert Davidson, of Cellardyke, whose claim on the sympathy of friends and neighbours may be inferred from the fact that this is the fourth time the grim destroyer has robbed him of the lambs of his flock. Much regret has also been expressed in seafaring circles for the death of a young English mother, who left the shores of Yarmouth to settle with her husband in Cellardyke, though, as the sad event which took place on Saturday, has proved, only to find a grave where the brook sings to the sunshine in the ancient burial-yard of Kilrenny, at the premature age of 24.

The Cellardyke Echo – 17/02/2022 – ISSUE 327


On Monday 14th February the family of David Tod announced his passing peacefully in St Andrews Hospital.

Davie never hit the headlines as one of the high profile, high grossing whitefish skippers of the 70’s and 80’s, but through his work he significantly changed the fishing industry.

Davie was born and brought up in Pittenweem. When he left school he decided not go into his family bakery but spent a year at the prawns out of Pittenweem aboard the Ocean Queen. From there he took up an apprenticeship at Smith Brothers Engineering Co. of Anstruther.

He found himself in a very forward, practical thinking company. Smith Bros had developed a potato harvester in the 50’s that is still the basis of modern harvesting machines,  and for the fishing industry, they specialised in the  “down drive” gearing mechanism that connected winches and coilers to the engine. Smith’s also built winches and wheelhouses for James N Millers of St Monans and other yards. Working out the best way of doing things and using technology to make it easier was the perfect environment for Davies practical mind.

When his time was served Davie decided to go back to the fishing, and whilst on holiday in Essex he came across a small transom sterned vessel in a creek that was up for sale. Having located the owner he was ferried out to the boat across the mud on the owner’s back! The deal was done and David purchased the Your Lynn and brought it back to Pittenweem (navigating part of the way with a road map!). The boat was different from the traditional East Neuk fishing boat of the time and had been somewhat neglected. Some of the old worthies believed that nothing would be made of it. Davie set about completely re-rigging it, changing the layout to make it into an efficient stern trawler and very soon proved the naesayers wrong and this smart blue and white boat became the first of several remarkable vessels in the “Toddy” fleet.

When he came to replace the Your Lynn grant aid was available from the White Fish Authority and as an ambitious young skipper he decided to take a risk on a new build. Due to his engineering background there was no question, this boat had to be made of steel. There were several yards that could have built the boat he wanted. Davie eventually placed the very first order with the new Campbeltown shipyard, for a 49ft vessel. The design was Campbeltown’s but there were many heated arguments and discussions about the significant changes to the standard design Davie insisted on to get the boat he wanted. 

The St Adrian was launched in May 1970, christened by Margaret Tod, Davie’s wife. It was the second vessel launched by the shipyard, David always insisted his should have been the first but the Crimson Arrow which had been launched a few weeks before was part funded by the Highlands and Islands Development Board.  It was a political decision to focus on the investment in the rural areas of Scotland by the HIDB.

David had designed the St Adrian so that it could be worked single handed (although he never did). His innovations included the wires being brought overhead from the winch leading back to the gantry of which the aft gallows were a part. He was also the first to use hydraulic guiding on gear with an early hydraulic winch. These innovations were developed in conjunction with Dr. Norman Kerr of the Sea Fish Authority. However the most significant piece of equipment introduced on this boat would revolutionise fishing practice in the UK.

David initially thought of having two winches, the second one to bring the sweeps in, but then with more consideration he realised by adding in bigger flanges that would enable him to bring the net in as well.  He commisioned Smith Bros to build the altered winch to his plans. The St Adrian was the first UK vessel to have a net drum. Now every modern trawler and seiner in the UK carries a net drum, this saved labour and created more deck space.  Innovations like this and the overhead wires no doubt have saved many lives and prevented some horrible accidents that happened all too frequently in the UK’s most dangerous Industry.

The St Adrian was very successful vessel fishing prawns mainly on the East coast, and over the next few years Davie also invested in other vessels and skippers, often boats that were seen ahead of their time, sometimes these partnerships worked out, other times they didn’t.

When he came to build another new vessel he comissioned GL Watson to develop his design. He enquired with Campbeltown and other shipyards about building it for him, but as it was a one off and these yards were now focussing on the classic 80 and 90 footer standard designs he found no takers. He eventually came across a small yard in Old Kilpatrick on the Clyde and construction began. Things he learned and adapted from the first St Adrian were built into the second vessel of that name. The wheelhouse was positioned in the middle of the boat but offset. With two net drums he pioneered the twin rig, working with the Sea Fish Authority at their tanks in Hull, and then some trials in the Firth of Forth.

This vessel was a small ¾ shelterdecked vessel totally unique in design and could not be described as traditionally a good looking vessel. However as a working boat it was rigged up as the perfect tool and a good sea boat.  After trials with the Sea Fish were over Davie lost a net on a wreck and gave up twin rigging, as it was “impossible to afford to keep pioneering new ideas and make a living” however there were lots of other small ideas he developed to make working life safer or easier.

With this vessel he was well known at the prawns on the East and West Coast of Scotland.

David decided to come ashore when Millars of Crail, the Marine engineering and fabrication company came up for sale and he sold the St Adrian 11.  He successfully converted and improved many fishing vessels, adding in shelterdecks, new layouts and even desigining and building a small steel transom stern conversion for the wooden Forth Ranger. This facility also helped him maintain and improve his own fleet and enabled the classic Tod thought behind the fit out of a ferro concrete yacht hull he had purchased from the middle of a field in England.

When David’s eldest son, Andrew,  a joiner, wanted to go full time fishing not just at the creels in the summer it coincided with St Adrian II  appearing back on the market, and they brought the boat back to Pittenweem. His younger son David was an engineer and when he wished to go to the fishing, they purchased a steel hull, towed it to Anstruther, and lifted her out, Davie then set about reducing its length and created another superbly efficient small trawler, the Crusader.

The second St Adrian was sold on when Andrew decided to build his first fast creel boat the Genesis.

The last of Davie’s fleet to be named St Adrian had been a Fleetwood registered steel trawler called the Lady Mabs, it had gone ashore in thick fog at St Monans right at the time he purchased Millers of Crail. Davie acquired the wreck and went about his usual upgrades and conversion. For many years this vessel fished out of Pittenweem until the Geordie and Henry decided to retire. It was sold on to Fraserburgh renamed the Alta and has just recently been cut up in Macduff.  The first St Adrian is currently called the Radiant Star, FR Reg and is nowundergoing refit in St Monans, and the St Adrian II still works on the west coast.

Andrew continues to work a fast creel boat, the Genises and David Jnr still Skippers the Crusader fishing for prawns from Pittenweem,  both vessels well maintained as David Snr had done before them and still recognisable in the smart Tod Blue and white colours.

Davie’s influence and work has spread much wider that the working fleet.

Billy Hughes BEM retired manager of the FMA Pittenweem, said that when David was President of the organisation “ They had a very close working relationship, they each would have ideas and strong opinions but it was rare that they would disagree, they would talk though things and what resulted was always for the benefit of the fishing industry and the East Neuk of Fife.” 

Members of the local Community Council have also paid tribute to his chairmanship and stewardship of that organisation. He chaired many other groups including the Fife Harbours committee.

He has been involved with the Scottish Fisheries Musuem since it opened in 1969. As volunteer, Trustee, Chairman and Vice President. He has driven forward expansion and development, solved multiple practical issues in the rambling complex of old buildings. He has overseen all the technical challenges round restoring and sailing the Reaper, the musuem’s 1903 flagship sailing lugger and other boats in the fleet, ensuring that that small independant musuem has a collection of national significance. One of the most remakable feats was installing the 78ft zulu Research LK 62 into a museum gallery. He had rescued the hull from being destroyed after a storm,  protected it by building a steel frame round it and almost single handedly manouevering it across the main road and into the musuem.

Always thinking about how the museum could thrive and survive Davie knew that the community had to be rooted in all aspects of the Museum. The formation of specialist interest clubs affiliated to the museum was another of his plans and a way to achieve this.

In 1985 the Reaper had just completed it’s first phase of restoration and sails had been designed and delivered, but there was no crew. His newly formed SFM Boats Club started a programme of outreach that has seen the boat visit venues from Portsmouth to Lerwick, encouraging many volunteer crew on adventures,  Davie frequently skippered the vessel when not working at sea while retired fishermen skippered the vessel on the longer trips. This club has introduced Scottish fishing heritage to over 180 000 visitors from 120 countries including many organised school parties.

Another passion was model boat building, he was a very skilled modeler both from scratch and working with cast hulls. The second club he formed was the SFM Model Boats Club in 2008 and as chair of that it became a thriving group. Many of the models were remote control and they sailed them at various venues. When Davie became ill in the last couple of years unable to go long distances with his models, a few of the club (under his supervision) built a large pond in his back yard and they met on Sunday mornings to sail their boats. This happened each week until the time he went into hospital towards the end of 2021.

He built a wide range of models, one each of his own and son’s fishing boats and his yacht, steam drifter and modern fishing vessels. One of the last models he completed was a planked scale model of the 1937 Manx Beauty, a local restoration project that he was technical advisor to. He donated it to be used for talks and school visits to show the ambition and end product of the project.

Undeniably one of his visions and achievements that has had the greatest impact was his project developed through the Scottish Fisheries Museum to re-establish small scale boat building in towns and villages round the coast. His plan was to create a wooden vessel in kit form that could be constructed by communities and help re introduce them to the skills and put them back in contact with the sea.

The idea was developed with the Museum and Alec Jordan (Jordan Boats) who had the CNC equipment to be able to do this. The first prototype was a small vessel that they saw did not meet the requirements or be aspirational enough to inspire communities to take part.

Alec Jordan also had a vision for community racing of vessels, his business was based in East Wemyss where miners of Fife used to run very popular regattas. With rowing enthusiast Robbie Wightman of North Berwick the idea of a vessel suitable for competitive coastal rowing was developed. A grant from Museums and Galleries Scotland was secured and the Museum commissioned Ian Oughtred to design a rowing skiff based on the Fair Isle yoal of Shetland, a 22ft open boat with excellent sea going capabilities.

The design was christened the St Ayles Skiff named after the area the Museum buildings are housed in. Clubs were formed in Anstruther, North Berwick and Port Seton  and the first regatta was held at Anstruther in 2010, The Scottish Coastal rowing movement was born. Driven at the start by David, Robbie and Alec the passion and efforts of many individuals, communities and clubs has made this sport grow at an incredible rate. At that first regatta a national committee was formed to oversee the sport, Scottish Coastal Rowing Association. David served on this, and in his usual way supported the whole movement as well as local clubs on all levels, from practical help and advice.

There are currently 213 vessels registered in UK, 21 in the USA/Canada, 18 in Australia/ New Zealand, and many others in the UK and Europe currently under construction. Some being built as a part of school courses and others by regenerative groups as well as town enthusiasts.

Covid put a halt to the regular regattas, however rowing to pre covid levels is returning, when, weather permitting, hundreds if not thousands of people are now involved rowing Skiffs for pleasure and competitively.

This year the fourth World Championships, Skiffieworlds 2022 will be held in Holland. The first was in Ullapool, the second in Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland. The third was in Stranraer in 2019 and attended by more than 30,000 spectators.  Featuring over 1500 rowers, the economic impact on the area of the event has been independently assessed at over £3.5million. Davie was particularly proud of the Anstruther womens teams, but also showed his support for the whole sport by making a three week trip, sailing his yacht Braveheart to Strangford Lough for the 2016 Skiffieworlds.

The UK is an island nation, the number of people working on the seas has plumeted, maritime skills, traditions and seafaring skills are disappearing. The impact of the coastal rowing movement is remarkable and cannot be overstated. Alongside from the obvious health and community bonding benefits, this movement has put people back in touch with the seas, learing about tides, wind over water, swell and the skills to safely cox and row an open boat in all kinds of weather.

There is now an International committee to take the movement into it’s next phase.  This phenomena  continues to grow and thrive. Davie was very proud of what communities have achieved from the seed he planted and help steer.

For the past 40 years David Tod lived in Cellardyke, with a panoramic view of the Firth of Forth, some of his model boats are proudly displayed in the windows. Margaret and Davie were a solid devoted couple, not only did she keep the books for all the boats, but she kept Davie in tow from going over the top with some of his more off the wall ideas. They had a good group of friends who they met regularly with especially in retirement.  Davie and Isa Smith,  Jim and Sheena Tarvit and the Tods would meet at the chippy each Thursday evening, and then Davie and Margaret would head up to Peter and Ruth Murrays to round off the evening.

They both loved the view from Pickford Cresc but for Margaret it was a huge part of her life, she would anxiously look out for the boats coming  home. When the boys were young, after seeing the St Adrian pass the window she would pile the boys into the car and take them to sit and watch the boat come in the harbour mouth in Pittenweem. Not waiting for Davie to land the catch or red up, she would head home knowing her man was safe. When the boys got their own boats, she’d watch out for them too. They were a very close couple and her loss just over three years ago had a huge impact on Davie. He had been diagnosed with kidney failure prior to that and has been on dialysis three times a week since then. He was admitted to hospital on 22nd Dec and passed away on Monday 14th February.

Davie was a practical thinker, a solver of problems. If you met him face to face, he was blunt, he knew how he wanted things to be done and you needed to stand up to him, but if you had a sensible point he would listen.

On the face of it most people would not describe David Tod as a passionate man, but in his actions he had a deep down passion for Scottish Fishing industry and it’s heritage and encouraging individuals, groups and communities to achieve the best they could. He was not just a man of vision this was backed up by a practical side and unlike many who just come up with ideas he had the tools to achieve his goals. Davie has created an impressive legacy in almost everything he touched.

He was at ease in any company, a straighforward straight talking fisherman when he needed to be, and a fun cheeky guy when dealing with overwhelmingly female committee of the Anster rowing club.

As a friend, technical advisor, and the man who supported and mentored me as  a 19 year old Curator of the Scottish Fisheries Muesum in the 1980s Davie will be sorely missed.

David was awared the British Empire Medal in June 2017 for services to Preserving the Heritage of the Scottish Fishing Industry.

He is survived by two sons, Andrew and David their wives, Lorainne and Janice and four grandchildren.

The Cellardyke Echo – 10/02/2022 – Issue 326


WINTER HERRING FISHING. We are sorry to note the continued unsuccess of the fishing up to this date. The extreme stormy weather which has prevailed since Saturday up till yesterday has prevented all fishing operations, and the only additions we have to make this week are the takes of Friday and Saturday last, which amount to 340 crans. This only brings the season’s catch up to 693 crans, which is a serious falling off as compared with former years, there being at this time last year about 5000 crans. The weather having cleared up on Wednesday, the fishermen again prepared to go to sea, but none of the boats went out until Thursday morning. This continued dullness in the trade is much to be regretted, as there are a great number of buyers on the ground, and the prices are good.

The two boats which came in yesterday morning with about seven crans each, sold their fish at the extraordinary high price of 60s. per cran – a figure scarcely ever realised before, even in a winter herring fishing.

The undernoted a statement of the catch at Anstruther and Cellardyke for the week ending yesterday (Thursday) :

Boats out.          Highest.              Total crans         Prices.

Friday,                 90                         10                          180                        46s. to 52s.

Saturday,            65                         10                          160                        52s. to 55s.

Tuesday,             Stormy. No boats out.

Wednesday,       Stormy. No boats out.

Thursday,.          2                            7                            13                          60s. to —?s.

Total for the week           353

Previous Week,                  340

Total for the season,      693

At same date last year   5535

Do. year 1868.                  2330

Do. year 1867,                  1655

D0. year 1866,                  1410


Man Drowned at Sea.

A dark gloom was thrown over this neighbourhood on Wednesday forenoon by the distressing rumour that Robert Drummond, one of the crew of the herring boat Elizabeth of Cellardyke (skipper Alex. Tarvit), had been drowned at sea. It appears that the boat was tacking towards the shore, when, as she was lying nearly becalmed after one of those passing gusts peculiar to light westerly winds, a flap of the sail had knocked the unfortunate man overboard. Instant efforts were made by Skipper Tarvit and the rest of the crew to save him ; but though the poor sufferer was so near the boat that the former touched him three times with his hand, and though three other boats were within hail of the fatal spot, yet notwithstanding all that could be done the luckless man sank into watery grave. Drummond, who was about forty years age, was a particularly strong and robust man, and, with the exception of the herring fishery, was usually employed a field labourer. He leaves a widow and seven young children helpless and unprovided for, and altogether seldom has there been as claimant an appeal to public sympathy and benevolence as in the present case. The calm weather had kept the boats long at sea, and the poor widow and her family were wearying, though by no means in alarm, for the well-known footstep, when the Rev. Cameron, the minister the parish, called to break the melancholy intelligence.


A Saturday Night Spree.”—At Burgh Court held here on Saturday—Provost Todd and Bailie Bonthrone on the bench—Robert Anderson and David Wood, two young fishermen residing in Cellardyke, pleaded guilty to having committed breach of the peace by being drunk and disorderly opposite to the Salutation Inn towards midnight on Saturday week. It appears that the former panel had been taken into custody by the policeman and lodged in the lock up, but the circumstances of the case were of such a mitigated nature as to induce the Magistrates to impose the nominal penalty of fine of 5s.

Encouragement to Sabbath School Teachers. —On Thursday last, the Australian mail was the medium of bringing a most interesting and valuable gift to three well-known and much respected Sabbath School teachers in Cellardyke—namely, the venerable postmaster, Mr Thomas Brown, and his old associates in the same sacred task, Mr Thomas Cunningham and Mr William Watson, who each received a letter with a cheque for £10, as a token grateful remembrance and affectionate esteem for their labours in the Sabbath School which he attended in the years of his ” boyhood”, from Mr Alex. Watson, native of Cellardyke, and sometime ironmonger in Anstruther, but who emigrated about twenty years ago to Australia, where he has latterly been very successful at the gold mines.


Brotherhood of the Sea.—One dark and stormy night some weeks ago, the boat of skipper Charles Carstairs of Cellardyke, was at the drift fishing, large sea going steamer ran foul of the gear and the rope, parting some eight or nine of the nets, which were carried away by the current and could not be found. This was a heavy loss, but such the everyday experience of the hardy fisher, though fortunately, in this case, the nets came the way of honest neighbours. These were the crew of the Cockenzie boat owned by Messrs Thomas Donaldson and Robert Johnstone, who took the nets on shore, and spread them as carefully the green as if they had been their own; but what is still more to their praise, they declined to take fee or reward for their trouble, on the missing gear being claimed the Cellardyke owners. A case like this may well lead to the reflection of how much ill-will and mischief at sea would be avoided, if sea-faring men would everywhere do, as in this instance, as they would like to be done by.