Transcription of an extract from ‘Tirey’ in ‘The Rev. Dr. John Walker’s Report on the Hebrides of 1764 and 1771’ edited by Margaret M. MacKay.
Courtesy of John Donald Publishers
The Rev Dr John Walker, minister of Moffat and a pioneer of scientific botany and geology, was sent to the Hebrides in 1764 and 1771 by the Commission for Annexed Estates to report on the social conditions, population and the state of manufacture, agriculture and fisheries.
He found the waters round Tiree teeming with fish but no fishing equipment on the island. In 1792, Rev Archibald McColl lamented that the local fishermen seemed unable to compete with those from other islands or the east coast who were taking full advantage of the nearby fishing banks.
The reasons for this he attributed to the daily involvement of crofters with their land and animals and to their poverty which disinclined them to risk what little savings they had purchasing equipment easily lost in bad weather.