Books to be read

“The Leaper” by Michael Barrett  

This  is  subtitled “Adventures in a Commercial Salmon Fishing Boat”.  Michael worked at Fascadale for  three seasons in the 1970s and early 1980’s . It is an often amusing account of his experiences as a fisherman, as a member of a crew and as a southerner on the West Coast. It gives a  very good description of the often heavy work involved in the fishing, and the joys and sorrows of salmon netting. Michael also provides much information about the extraordinary life cycle of the salmon. This is a great first hand account of salmon netting in Ardnamurchan.

“The Salmon Fishers” by Iain Robertson

This is subtitled  “A History of the Scottish Coastal Fisheries”  is an excellent account of the development and decline of salmon netting in Scotland.  Iain is a retired academic, who in his student days worked as a salmon fisherman. His book is a scholarly history of the industry and does much to describe the pressures faced and the factors that led to its eventual decline. A very good read, and essential for anyone interested in this wonderful part of our history

“Voices from the Shoreline” by Mike Smylie  

Subtitled “The Ancient and Ingenious Traditions of Coastal Fishing.” This is a wonderful and wide ranging exploration and description of what is fast becoming our history. There is a very good chapter about Fascadale. Other chapters look at salmon fishing in other parts of the West Coast of Scotland which taken together illustrate a feeling for the people and the work. The author also catches the sadness of the ending and loss of these traditional commercial fishings and questions some of the arguments and assertions that have led to this.

Boatlines: Scottish Craft of Sea, Coast and Canal by Ian Stephen

This is a lovely book, rich in detail, rich in stories and legend. Ian attaches the many different vessels to purpose, place and people creating a context for all the many waterborne activities around  Scotland. Ian’s book also includes a chapter about salmon cobles.

“Skerrymor Bay” by Francis Essex  1984  ISBN 0-450-05671-6″

This has an acknowledgement to Roddy Macleod for crash course in salmon netting

This book, possibly written for a teenage market, gives a few good descriptions of “the fishings” and has some  echoes of life at Fascadale. A somewhat idealised picture of Highland life with some larger than life characters. It has an interesting discussion about the introduction of fish farming, then in its infancy. The Macleods were very staunch in their opposition to salmon farming

“Master of Morgana”  by Allan Campbell McLean

More teenage fiction. An adventure story set on Skye and based around salmon netting. Quite atmospheric and giving an impression of life in a crofting community in what might be the 1940s or1950s.