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TITLE
Bayfield at the end of Salmon Fishing Season
EXTERNAL ID
HCD_DAVIDBANKS_061
PLACENAME
Portree
DISTRICT
Skye
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Portree
PERIOD
1950s; 1960s
CREATOR
James/David Banks
SOURCE
Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre
ASSET ID
13116
KEYWORDS
coastguard
Life Boat
coble
steamer
rescue
engine
Loch Seaforth
Bayfield at the end of Salmon Fishing Season

This photograph shows two of the boats used during the sea salmon fishing season. They are hauled up onto the shore at Bayfield, Portree.

The larger boat is a coble. These boats were clinker-built with flat-bottoms and high-bows. 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.

In September 1960, a boat similar to the larger one pictured was caught in a gale and heavy swell on the way from Staffin to Portree. An hour after leaving Staffin the vessel developed engine trouble, leaving the crew at the mercy of the elements. They were spotted from the shore and the Stornoway Lifeboat was launched. Eventually, the coble was seen by the steamer 'Loch Seaforth'. Due to the heavy weather, the men couldn't get aboard the 'Loch Seaforth' but the larger ship sheltered them from the worst of the storm until they were rescued by a fishing vessel. Salmon lease owner, James Banks, described it as 'one of the worst afternoons of my life', and 'a great relief to know the men were safe'.



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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Bayfield at the end of Salmon Fishing Season

INVERNESS: Portree

1950s; 1960s

coastguard; Life Boat; coble; steamer; rescue; engine; Loch Seaforth

Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre

David Banks: West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co Ltd

This photograph shows two of the boats used during the sea salmon fishing season. They are hauled up onto the shore at Bayfield, Portree. <br /> <br /> The larger boat is a coble. These boats were clinker-built with flat-bottoms and high-bows. 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 /> In September 1960, a boat similar to the larger one pictured was caught in a gale and heavy swell on the way from Staffin to Portree. An hour after leaving Staffin the vessel developed engine trouble, leaving the crew at the mercy of the elements. They were spotted from the shore and the Stornoway Lifeboat was launched. Eventually, the coble was seen by the steamer 'Loch Seaforth'. Due to the heavy weather, the men couldn't get aboard the 'Loch Seaforth' but the larger ship sheltered them from the worst of the storm until they were rescued by a fishing vessel. Salmon lease owner, James Banks, described it as 'one of the worst afternoons of my life', and 'a great relief to know the men were safe'.<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 />