Please Sign In | Register
Google pluspinterestShare on Stumble UponShare on RedditFacebookShare on Tumblr
TITLE
Fishing Methods used in Caithness (12)
EXTERNAL ID
QZP40_CAITHNESS_CROFTING_40
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
CAITHNESS
PERIOD
1980s
CREATOR
Alec Thomson
SOURCE
Highland Libraries
ASSET ID
41338
KEYWORDS
audios
fishing industry
fishing
fishing boats
fishing nets
fishermen
fish

Get Adobe Flash player

Alec Thomson was a Thurso fishermen. In this audio he talks in detail about herring fishing.

Interviewer: How much was a cran then?

A cran is four baskets. Ye get four baskets. An I forget how many herring's in each basket is. It's two hundred an some odd herring, Ah think. If Ah I mind right, be forty herring, like in a, in a, jist an average size, ye know? But of course, e herring differs in size, ye see. Wi beeg herring there'd be over two hundred herring [?] in a basket. An four baskets makes one cran. [A basket was considered to hold 250 herring, making a cran 1,000.] An then, Ah think, when they pit the herring, cure them in barrels, Ah think there's over three baskets in a barrel o herring, ye see? Salted doon.

Oh, by Goad, e weemen was good, boy. They did a lot o work at e herring fishing. How they gutted at herring an packed them in barrels. When they was at it, when they was at e work they was at it, Ah'm tellan ee, there was no time for spending [wasting]. Workan up ere til late at nicht gettan e herring all packed.

The herring gutters, eh? All at same thing we'll never see again. All o Wick harbour ere at e front was all big gutboxes, ye know, an all e weemen at came fae islands, fae the Western Isles, ye know? Oh, they come from as far as, they come up fae e Humberside ere, Northumberland, an Seahouses, an at places. A lot o them came up from there right for e herring at Wick, ye know? An boy, if there's two stations together, a Stornoway station, an a maybe some o at gutters fae e sooth ere, at Humber or Northumberland people, if they got herring, at was a, at was a race, a race til see who would be e first done. An by Goad, they'd put e herring a-going, Ah'm tellan ee. An wan was as good's e ither, ye know. There wasna much atween them. Oh they could all handle e iron [gutting knife]. Ye'd see two o them racing.

An Ah mind a cooper was sayan, his crowd an anither crowd was racing, it was a Stornoway crowd, I dinna mind e ither crowd. An they'd e same amount o herring an they started til gut at e same time, an they was goan at it, teeth an nail at it, an they discovered that at one crowd was one barrel aheid o e ithers, one barrel ahead o them. An a young yin, a lassie gutter, an she catched an empty barrel like at, turned it up like at, she put twa tier o herring right across e bottom o e barrel like at, an it made e twa o them equal. She was good. At's what he said, anyway. He said, an at made e two o em equal. [Laughter]

The herring formed shoals at night close to the surface of the sea, the time when the fishermen tried to catch them by shooting driftnets which hung like curtains in the water. When the herring were brought ashore, gangs of women worked in teams to gut them and pack them in brine, a process called curing. Thousands of barrels of salt herring used to be exported from the Moray Firth herring ports, all the way to Russia. Some herring were also smoked to become kippers. The herring fishery was seasonal, beginning in the summer in Shetland and ending in the late autumn off East Anglia. The fishing boats and shore teams of gutters followed the fish.

For guidance on the use of images and other content, please see the Terms and Conditions page.
High Life Highland is a company limited by guarantee registered in Scotland No. SC407011 and is a registered Scottish charity No. SC042593
Powered by Capture

Fishing Methods used in Caithness (12)

CAITHNESS

1980s

audios; fishing industry; fishing; fishing boats; fishing nets; fishermen; fish

Highland Libraries

Caithness Recordings: Fishing

Alec Thomson was a Thurso fishermen. In this audio he talks in detail about herring fishing.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: How much was a cran then?<br /> <br /> A cran is four baskets. Ye get four baskets. An I forget how many herring's in each basket is. It's two hundred an some odd herring, Ah think. If Ah I mind right, be forty herring, like in a, in a, jist an average size, ye know? But of course, e herring differs in size, ye see. Wi beeg herring there'd be over two hundred herring [?] in a basket. An four baskets makes one cran. [A basket was considered to hold 250 herring, making a cran 1,000.] An then, Ah think, when they pit the herring, cure them in barrels, Ah think there's over three baskets in a barrel o herring, ye see? Salted doon.<br /> <br /> Oh, by Goad, e weemen was good, boy. They did a lot o work at e herring fishing. How they gutted at herring an packed them in barrels. When they was at it, when they was at e work they was at it, Ah'm tellan ee, there was no time for spending [wasting]. Workan up ere til late at nicht gettan e herring all packed. <br /> <br /> The herring gutters, eh? All at same thing we'll never see again. All o Wick harbour ere at e front was all big gutboxes, ye know, an all e weemen at came fae islands, fae the Western Isles, ye know? Oh, they come from as far as, they come up fae e Humberside ere, Northumberland, an Seahouses, an at places. A lot o them came up from there right for e herring at Wick, ye know? An boy, if there's two stations together, a Stornoway station, an a maybe some o at gutters fae e sooth ere, at Humber or Northumberland people, if they got herring, at was a, at was a race, a race til see who would be e first done. An by Goad, they'd put e herring a-going, Ah'm tellan ee. An wan was as good's e ither, ye know. There wasna much atween them. Oh they could all handle e iron [gutting knife]. Ye'd see two o them racing. <br /> <br /> An Ah mind a cooper was sayan, his crowd an anither crowd was racing, it was a Stornoway crowd, I dinna mind e ither crowd. An they'd e same amount o herring an they started til gut at e same time, an they was goan at it, teeth an nail at it, an they discovered that at one crowd was one barrel aheid o e ithers, one barrel ahead o them. An a young yin, a lassie gutter, an she catched an empty barrel like at, turned it up like at, she put twa tier o herring right across e bottom o e barrel like at, an it made e twa o them equal. She was good. At's what he said, anyway. He said, an at made e two o em equal. [Laughter]<br /> <br /> The herring formed shoals at night close to the surface of the sea, the time when the fishermen tried to catch them by shooting driftnets which hung like curtains in the water. When the herring were brought ashore, gangs of women worked in teams to gut them and pack them in brine, a process called curing. Thousands of barrels of salt herring used to be exported from the Moray Firth herring ports, all the way to Russia. Some herring were also smoked to become kippers. The herring fishery was seasonal, beginning in the summer in Shetland and ending in the late autumn off East Anglia. The fishing boats and shore teams of gutters followed the fish.