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TITLE
Raasay Salmon Fishing Crew
EXTERNAL ID
HCD_DAVIDBANKS_067
PLACENAME
Raasay
DISTRICT
Skye
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Portree
PERIOD
1950s; 1960s
CREATOR
James/David Banks
SOURCE
Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre
ASSET ID
13122
KEYWORDS
fishing stations
sea salmon
storms
supplies
Raasay
Brochel
Maclean
Hallaig
lifeboat
coast guard
storms
gales
Raasay Salmon Fishing Crew

This photograph, probably taken in the 1950s, shows the sea salmon fishing crew who looked after the stations on the Island of Raasay. The stations were situated on the east side of the island, at Brochel, and further south at Hallaig. Each of the stations had basic huts for accommodation where the crews would sometimes stay during the week, checking the salmon nets several times during the day. The 'Nereid' would go to the salmon stations bringing supplies, nets and ice, and collect the fresh salmon to take back to Portree before transporting it off the island. In this photograph, the station boat is tied up alongside the 'Nereid'.

The crew are standing on a clinker-built coble. This design of boat featured high bows and flat bottoms. This made them solid and stable in the seas off the islands and they could be easily manoeuvred around the rocky shorelines of the coast. They were designed for rowing with two or four oars although they often had an engine. The propeller was housed in the hull to avoid snagging the nets.

In September 1960, the coble 'Billy' 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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Raasay Salmon Fishing Crew

INVERNESS: Portree

1950s; 1960s

fishing stations; sea salmon; storms; supplies; Raasay; Brochel; Maclean; Hallaig; lifeboat; coast guard; storms; gales

Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre

David Banks: West Highland Salmon Fisheries Co Ltd

This photograph, probably taken in the 1950s, shows the sea salmon fishing crew who looked after the stations on the Island of Raasay. The stations were situated on the east side of the island, at Brochel, and further south at Hallaig. Each of the stations had basic huts for accommodation where the crews would sometimes stay during the week, checking the salmon nets several times during the day. The 'Nereid' would go to the salmon stations bringing supplies, nets and ice, and collect the fresh salmon to take back to Portree before transporting it off the island. In this photograph, the station boat is tied up alongside the 'Nereid'.<br /> <br /> The crew are standing on a clinker-built coble. This design of boat featured high bows and flat bottoms. This made them solid and stable in the seas off the islands and they could be easily manoeuvred around the rocky shorelines of the coast. They were designed for rowing with two or four oars although they often had an engine. The propeller was housed in the hull to avoid snagging the nets.<br /> <br /> In September 1960, the coble 'Billy' 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 />