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TITLE
The phosphorescent qualities of sellags (fish)
EXTERNAL ID
QZP40_CAITHNESS_CROFTING_16
PLACENAME
Canisbay
DISTRICT
Northern Caithness
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
CAITHNESS: Canisbay
PERIOD
1980s
CREATOR
unknown
SOURCE
Highland Libraries
ASSET ID
2772
KEYWORDS
crofting
crofters
crofter
croft
crofts
fishing
cuddins
sellag
audio

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Caithness crofters with access to the sea made good use of its resources. Seaweed was used as fertiliser and fish provided a rich source of nutritious food. The most common inshore fish was the cuddin, a member of the cod family known by a great variety of local names. In Orkney they were called cuithes. The most common modern English name is coley. Cuddins were also known by different names according to their age. Small cuddins, a few inches long, were called sellags, and were abundant close inshore in the late summer and autumn. In this audio extract, a Canisbay crofter recalls the phosphorescent qualities of sellags.

'When at sellags, sellags were put on the wire, after so many - maybe they'd be hingin on is wire inside, in some ootbuildings, they'd be hingin there for maybe a week or two - if ye'd go in then, if it wis a dark night ye went in, the whole thing wis lighted up because they're - Some, when they got dry, there were what they call phosphorus or somethin, lighted them up. It wis great to see it because we thought is wis great to see is sellags, is fish all lighted up; it wis the only lighted up thing we did see because there's no electric light then. It wis a different thing, it wis more a blue light'

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The phosphorescent qualities of sellags (fish)

CAITHNESS: Canisbay

1980s

crofting; crofters; crofter; croft; crofts; fishing; cuddins; sellag; audio

Highland Libraries

Caithness Recordings: Fishing

Caithness crofters with access to the sea made good use of its resources. Seaweed was used as fertiliser and fish provided a rich source of nutritious food. The most common inshore fish was the cuddin, a member of the cod family known by a great variety of local names. In Orkney they were called cuithes. The most common modern English name is coley. Cuddins were also known by different names according to their age. Small cuddins, a few inches long, were called sellags, and were abundant close inshore in the late summer and autumn. In this audio extract, a Canisbay crofter recalls the phosphorescent qualities of sellags.<br /> <br /> 'When at sellags, sellags were put on the wire, after so many - maybe they'd be hingin on is wire inside, in some ootbuildings, they'd be hingin there for maybe a week or two - if ye'd go in then, if it wis a dark night ye went in, the whole thing wis lighted up because they're - Some, when they got dry, there were what they call phosphorus or somethin, lighted them up. It wis great to see it because we thought is wis great to see is sellags, is fish all lighted up; it wis the only lighted up thing we did see because there's no electric light then. It wis a different thing, it wis more a blue light'