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TITLE
Raasay Salmon Fishing Crew at Brochel Castle
EXTERNAL ID
HCD_DAVIDBANKS_003
PLACENAME
Raasay
DISTRICT
Skye
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Portree
PERIOD
1950s; 1960s
CREATOR
James/David Banks
SOURCE
Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre
ASSET ID
13062
KEYWORDS
Raasay
Brochel Castle
fishing
salmon
nets
coble
Hallaig
boats
MacLeod Chiefs
James Banks
West Highland Salmon Fishing Co
Raasay Salmon Fishing Crew at Brochel Castle

This photograph shows the salmon fishing station at Brochel Castle, on the north east coast of the Island of Raasay. From this station the four man crew would look after the bag nets near Brochel and Hallaig. Salmon swimming along the coastline would encounter the leader net, set at right angles to the shoreline, and swim along to the opening to the bag and be caught.

This shoreline would have provided a suitable launching and landing area for the flat-bottomed cobles which were widely used in the area. The traditional design incorporated a flat bottom and high bow which allowed them to sail safely in high seas and be launched off beaches where there is little shelter. On the water they are very stable when hauling or moving anchors, nets and other equipment.

The boat pictured is the Broadford registered BRD75, 'Dun Caan'. It was built in 1957 for the West Highland Salmon Fisheries, probably by local boat builder Robert Sutherland. The boat was sold along with the company in 1962. Its registration as a fishing boat ended in 1986.

On the beach is a collection of huts which were used for accommodation and storing nets and other equipment used during the summer fishing season. Next to the huts are a series of high poles which would be used to hang the salmon nets when they needed to be cleaned or repaired.

To the left of the salmon station are the ruins of Brochel Castle which blend in with the surrounding rock formations. The castle is said to have been built by Calum MacGilliechalum, the younger son of Calum MacLeod, 9th Chief of the MacLeods of Lewis.



West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co Ltd
In 1944 James Banks & Sons, Perth bought the sea salmon fishing lease for the Kilmuir Estates, Skye from A Powrie & Co, and formed the West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co Ltd to operate the lease. The company continued until 1962 when it was sold to Kenneth Matheson, Portree.

When Banks and Sons took over the lease there were fishing stations at Lealt, Rigg (Borreraig), Staffin, Portree, Camustianavaig, Balmeanach and Brochel Castle (on Raasay). In 1956, Balmeanach and Camustianavaig merged to become the Braes station, with three men employed, while the others usually had four-man crews. The company employed about 28 men each year with jobs being offered to the same men each season before new workers were hired.

The season began late April/early May and ran through to the end of August. Several men were also employed during the winter months to take ice down from the dam at Sluggans for storage at the ice house at Portree harbour. Each crew member would receive a contract with information on wages, proposed bonus scheme and work hours and were provided with oilskins and rubber boots.

The catch was divided into salmon, grilse and trout, with grilse numbers being the highest. The total annual catch was approximately 3000 fish in the late 1940s and early 1950s. A record high of nearly 10,000 fish were caught in 1957.


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Raasay Salmon Fishing Crew at Brochel Castle

INVERNESS: Portree

1950s; 1960s

Raasay; Brochel Castle; fishing; salmon; nets; coble; Hallaig; boats; MacLeod Chiefs; James Banks; West Highland Salmon Fishing Co

Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre

David Banks: West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co Ltd

This photograph shows the salmon fishing station at Brochel Castle, on the north east coast of the Island of Raasay. From this station the four man crew would look after the bag nets near Brochel and Hallaig. Salmon swimming along the coastline would encounter the leader net, set at right angles to the shoreline, and swim along to the opening to the bag and be caught.<br /> <br /> This shoreline would have provided a suitable launching and landing area for the flat-bottomed cobles which were widely used in the area. The traditional design incorporated a flat bottom and high bow which allowed them to sail safely in high seas and be launched off beaches where there is little shelter. On the water they are very stable when hauling or moving anchors, nets and other equipment.<br /> <br /> The boat pictured is the Broadford registered BRD75, 'Dun Caan'. It was built in 1957 for the West Highland Salmon Fisheries, probably by local boat builder Robert Sutherland. The boat was sold along with the company in 1962. Its registration as a fishing boat ended in 1986.<br /> <br /> On the beach is a collection of huts which were used for accommodation and storing nets and other equipment used during the summer fishing season. Next to the huts are a series of high poles which would be used to hang the salmon nets when they needed to be cleaned or repaired.<br /> <br /> To the left of the salmon station are the ruins of Brochel Castle which blend in with the surrounding rock formations. The castle is said to have been built by Calum MacGilliechalum, the younger son of Calum MacLeod, 9th Chief of the MacLeods of Lewis. <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <b>West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co Ltd</b><br /> In 1944 James Banks & Sons, Perth bought the sea salmon fishing lease for the Kilmuir Estates, Skye from A Powrie & Co, and formed the West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co Ltd to operate the lease. The company continued until 1962 when it was sold to Kenneth Matheson, Portree. <br /> <br /> When Banks and Sons took over the lease there were fishing stations at Lealt, Rigg (Borreraig), Staffin, Portree, Camustianavaig, Balmeanach and Brochel Castle (on Raasay). In 1956, Balmeanach and Camustianavaig merged to become the Braes station, with three men employed, while the others usually had four-man crews. The company employed about 28 men each year with jobs being offered to the same men each season before new workers were hired. <br /> <br /> The season began late April/early May and ran through to the end of August. Several men were also employed during the winter months to take ice down from the dam at Sluggans for storage at the ice house at Portree harbour. Each crew member would receive a contract with information on wages, proposed bonus scheme and work hours and were provided with oilskins and rubber boots. <br /> <br /> The catch was divided into salmon, grilse and trout, with grilse numbers being the highest. The total annual catch was approximately 3000 fish in the late 1940s and early 1950s. A record high of nearly 10,000 fish were caught in 1957. <br /> <br /> <br /> This image may be available to purchase.<br /> For further information about purchasing and prices please email<br /> <a href="mailto: skyeandlochalsh.archives@highlifehighland.com ">Skye and Lochalsh Archives</a><br />