Tag Archives: lobsters and creels

2008.46.10

Black and white photograph of Lachie Dan MacCallum (1881-1967) with his grandson Ken MacCallum in the 1950s.

Lachie Dan MacCallum (1881-1967), the great-grandson of the first miller at Cornaig, with his grandson Ken MacCallum in Lachie`s lobster boat at Pictou, Nova Scotia around 1958.

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2005.138.1

Neil and Donald MacKinnon of Brock in their skiff, the ‘Tunnag’

Photograph of Neil and Donald MacKinnon of Brock in their skiff, the ‘Tunnag’, in the 1930s.

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Courtesy of Mr Alasdair Sinclair

Neil MacKinnon, holding aloft a lobster, and his brother Donald, both from Brock, are pictured in their skiff, the ‘Tunnag’, in the early 1930s. The old men were very fussy about placing the single-entrance creels precisely so that the entrance faced the rocks where the lobsters were hiding.

Their great-nephew Alasdair Sinclair remembers, as a ten year old boy, having the job of rowing the boat while Neil placed the creels. The ‘Tunnag’ was eight feet wide with long, narrow-bladed oars. While he was trying to manoeuvre the boat, the pernickety old man would be saying, ‘Chan eil sin ceart idir. Feuch a-rithist e!’ (That’s not right at all. Do it again!)

Lobsters often hide inshore at low tide in small crevices in the rocks called ‘faichean’. Knowledge of their whereabouts were kept secret and passed down through the family.

Black and white photograph of Neil and Donald MacKinnon of Brock in the early 1930s.

L-R: Neil MacKinnon of Brock, holding aloft a lobster, and his brother Donald, both from Brock, in the skiff `Tunnag` in the early 1930s. (Neil and Donald were brothers of Alasdair Sinclair`s grandmother.)

2005.138.2

Black and white photograph of William MacKinnon of Brock in the early 1930s.

William MacKinnon of Brock making a lobster creel in the late 1920s or early 1930s. William was the brother of Neil and Donald in photo G191. Taigh Uilleim in Brock is named after him.

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2000.191.5

Lobster boat and dinghy at Scarinish pier

Photograph of a lobster boat and dinghy at Scarinish pier in July 2000.

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Tiree may be known as Tìr an Eòrna, the land of barley, but the abundance of shellfish on its shores must have been one of the attractions that brought the first men to the island 7,000 years ago. In the 19th century, dried ling and cod were a major export from the island.

Today the lobster and crab fishery is Tiree’s second biggest earner with an estimated annual catch worth £750,000. By comparison, in 2004 crofting was estimated to be worth £730,000 to the island with a further £680,000 coming in subsidy.

Currently five boats fish out of Tiree for velvet crabs (deiseagan) and brown crabs (crùban or partan) which sell for 50-70 pence a kilo. ‘Deiseagan’ are particularly prized in Spain where they are cut in half and the body contents picked out whole with a spoon.

Colour photograph of Scarinish harbour in July 2000.

Lobster boat and dinghy at Scarinish pier in July 2000.

1997.161.8

Transporting lobster creels at Caoles in 1936

Photograph of Calum MacDonald and Alex MacIntosh transporting lobster creels at Caoles in 1936.

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Courtesy of Mrs Janet MacIntosh

Calum MacDonald and Alex MacIntosh are shown in this photograph of 1936 transporting lobster creels by horse and cart at Caoles. In the 1930s the men would go out lobster fishing every day rowing or sailing their skiffs around the island to their preferred fishing sites.

The creels were baited with salted fish. A line, around 9 fathoms long, was tied to the bottom frame of the creel and at the other end a number of small herring net corks attached every six feet to keep the rope on the surface at low tide. The top cork was marked to identify the owner.

The lobsters were packed with seaweed in wooden boxes and sent by ferry and rail to Billingsgate market in London. If they survived the journey, the fisherman would eventually receive a postal order, paying one shilling and sixpence per lobster.

Black and white photograph of Calum MacDonald and Alex MacIntosh in 1936.

Collecting creels by horse and cart at Caoles in August 1936. L-R: Calum MacDonald and Alex MacIntosh.

1997.164.1

Black and white postcard of Scarinish harbour in 1938.

Postcard of the `Mary Stewart` beached in Scarinish harbour in 1938 with lobster pots in the foreground, the Scarinish Hotel at the extreme left and communication masts in the background to the right. (Duplicate of A7)

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