1858 Balemartine fishing tragedy
Transcription of the witness statements for the inquest into the loss of four Tiree fishermen in April 1858.
Courtesy of Argyll & Bute Archives
On 30th April 1858 four fishermen, Donald MacLean and Alexander MacFarlane from Heylipol and John MacLean and Archibald MacArthur from Balinoe, were drowned in a great gale. They had left the port at Balemartine early that morning in calm, clear weather and headed for the fishing banks between Hynish and Skerryvore.
The wind began to blow in the afternoon. Other fishermen in the area saw them lifting their lines and reported that they were the last to leave the fishing grounds and head for home. The wind and tide were against them and they failed to reach the shore. Their boat was only 14 feet in length.
Charles Campbell, another Balemartine fisherman, set out a few days later when the storm had abated to search for the bodies. He found no trace of the boat or her crew in Colonsay, Islay or Iona.