A view on Fishing,Community and Life on the NW coast of Scotland

A photo shared by The Applecross Heritage Centre jogged a few memories of me getting involved in some drift net fishing for herring on Loch Toscaig. We used to set the net from the eastern shore of the loch just off the pier  and have an anchor to the west, haul the net in the morning and take it into the old wooden piled part of the pier. then the laborious part began with the extracting of the fish from the nets. Helping on this day were Douchie from Toscaig and Alec Cameron from Ardhu. Donald Mackay from Raasay is also there. I remember him coming to all the FP communions in the area although that would have been in the summer. He did come to fill in at other times for Mr Murray so this must have been one of those occasions. My memory cannot pin it down better than probably the mid 80s, not too long after we arrived here. Bit of an age jolt to see all the men in the photo are no longer with us.

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Comments on: "Herring Drift Netting in Toscaig." (4)

  1. That reminds me of seine netting (not the same I know) as a Biology student in the 1980’s at Port Erin (IoM). Come to think of it I also remember being party to a spot of fishing like that in Kishorn though it wasn’t herring caught.

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Did a little of the other fishing in Toscaig as well. This was pre seals era. The older folk had a harder attitude to seals as they directly affected their food chain. Herring probably still there but I think you would have to drift rather than leave the net for the night.

  2. Ditto.Although in the fifties you didn’t need to leave the nets out all night. There would be 2 or 3 boats out setting nets between the pier and the family house. My father, Lila Murchison, (if that is how you pronounce his name.)Douchie and The Guinea would all be out and home by midnight with the boats full. My father had an old 1950’s Vauxhall Victor (built like a tank) and we would set off with the boot full and 4 to 6 boxes loaded on the roof rack selling them door to door. (Toscaig Herring were renown in those days.) They were 2 shillings a dozen (10 Pence.) We covered Applecross Kishorn Shieldaig (I don’t think there was a road to Torridon in those days.) Lochcarron North Strome and up the glen to Craig Achnashellach. Come August We didn’t get past Milton as they were wanted for salting. As for the other fishing there used to be a deep pool between the frank and the bridge. Well this day there was a big fish in it and most of Toscaig was after it with any implement they could lay their hands on. It avoided capture on several occasions although been landed twice by Willie Kennedy. As everyone gave up and headed home for tea it was caught by Bab’s I think that’s her name Colin Gordon’s wife with a pitchfork. Those were the days when every house in Toscaig was occupied and every blade of hay required. Changed days now.

    • applecrosslifeattheedge said:

      Good memories, a couple of times in the 80s douchie and your Dad headed of with boxes of herring that we had caught in the Loch. Have had the feeling for a while that I just caught the end of the small scale crofting/fishing community…so glad. Thanks for the memories.

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