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TITLE
Braes Salmon Fishing, Isle of Skye
EXTERNAL ID
HCD_DAVIDBANKS_009
PLACENAME
Braes
DISTRICT
Skye
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Portree
PERIOD
1950s; 1960s
CREATOR
James/David Banks
SOURCE
Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre
ASSET ID
13066
KEYWORDS
Braes
sea salmon fishing
coble
ice house
boat registration
clinker
Braes Salmon Fishing, Isle of Skye

This photograph shows some of the salmon fishing crew in the bay at Balmeanach, Braes, south of Portree. In the early years of the salmon lease there were stations at Camustianavaig and Balmeanach. By 1956 these two stations were being operated by a single crew. They would usually look after six bag nets between the two areas. 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.

The coble pictured here is the 'Marie'. Built in Aberdeen in 1932, the 'Marie' had been working in Oban before being bought by the West Highland Salmon Fisheries Ltd, and registered BRD458. The registration was cancelled for fishing in March 1986.

The cobles were clinker-built, flat-bottomed and high-bowed boats. Their design made them perfect for the rough seas of the area but also easy to manoeuvre up onto the rocky shorelines. They were stable in the water when hauling nets and anchors and had plenty of space to keep the fish and equipment. The propeller was often recessed in the hull in such a way that the boat could slip over the nets and not snag them.



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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Braes Salmon Fishing, Isle of Skye

INVERNESS: Portree

1950s; 1960s

Braes; sea salmon fishing; coble; ice house; boat registration; clinker

Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre

David Banks: West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co Ltd

This photograph shows some of the salmon fishing crew in the bay at Balmeanach, Braes, south of Portree. In the early years of the salmon lease there were stations at Camustianavaig and Balmeanach. By 1956 these two stations were being operated by a single crew. They would usually look after six bag nets between the two areas. 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 /> The coble pictured here is the 'Marie'. Built in Aberdeen in 1932, the 'Marie' had been working in Oban before being bought by the West Highland Salmon Fisheries Ltd, and registered BRD458. The registration was cancelled for fishing in March 1986. <br /> <br /> The cobles were clinker-built, flat-bottomed and high-bowed boats. Their design made them perfect for the rough seas of the area but also easy to manoeuvre up onto the rocky shorelines. They were stable in the water when hauling nets and anchors and had plenty of space to keep the fish and equipment. The propeller was often recessed in the hull in such a way that the boat could slip over the nets and not snag them.<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 />