The Herring Fishing in 1775
Below are some sketches of fishing and boats, contemporary with the building of Isle Martin fishing station. They come from John Home’s Survey of Assynt, dating to 1774
Above are depictions of what were probably small local boats, one with a crew of only two and the other with seven. Before the commercial development of fishing, these local crews had no means of preserving their catch, which would lie ungutted on the open floor until the boat got ashore.
These are depictions of larger boats with decks and storage below deck. Until the mid-18th century this type of fishing boat, called a buss, was used by the Dutch who fished the herring around Scotland to take back to the Netherlands. Eventually, such boats were built in the Clyde and could store large catches, salted, below deck. Their limitations were the time it took to reach the fishing grounds once the herring arrived, and the need to return to the Clyde with their holds full.
On the left is a view of Culag, Lochinver, the year before the fishing station was built. Once the herring could be gutted and cured on the spot, both large and small fishing boats would benefit as they could continue fishing until all the herring were caught or moved away. On the left is a painting of the brig ‘Caesar’, belonging to John Joseph Bacon who established the curing station at Culag. The brig is in the bay of Naples in 1788, presumably having exchanged its cargo of red herring for wine.
Isle Martin: The Crofters
‘The Street’ as it looks today. The last crofter left by the end of the 1920s and when the mill was rebuilt on the ruins of the curing station., it looks like some materials were robbed from the old croft houses
This group of photos all date to the period of the flour mill. Commander Clare Vyner bought the island in the 1930s and had the (mad?) idea of rebuilding the ruins of the curing station into a flour mill. The island had no grain, which was brought up by boat from Glasgow, no workforce, who were brought over by Vyner, no natural power supply so generators ran all the time. The flour was shipped back down to the central belt, but after the ship, the Penola, sank, it was sold via Vyner’s own chain of grocery stores, under the name Lochbroom Trading Co. Ltd. The mill closed down in 1948
Some photos of the island before the trees were planted and before the bracken took hold on the old in-bye.
Pictures from the Superwind350 Installation Day
June 25th 2017
Clean, green, renewable energy to power the Isle Martin Heritage Project’s micromuseum.
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