The Start of the Day

There are only three people in these images: Rhoddy Macleod, proprietor and owner of Fascadale, Bobby Macleod, his wife and Paul Taylor, seasonal fisherman and then a student at Stirling University

© Don McAllester

Photo 200

Rhoddy Macleod and Paul Taylor dragging the boat down the beach

Most fishing days started by dragging one of the clinker-built dinghies down the “raised” stony beach into the sea so that the crew could row out to the salmon coble. The dinghy in the picture is the old “grey dinghy” slightly bigger than the old “blue dinghy”  How old these boats were and where they were built is a mystery though it was said that the blue boat, smaller and with slightly finer lines may have been a Loch Shiel boat.

The coble remained on a mooring in the bay throughout the fishing season. She was too big a boat to be brought ashore and relaunched every day.

There were a pair of “Seagull” outboards at Fascadale but these were seldom used and never for the short trip out to the coble. The Fascadale dinghies had two rowing positions, one on the midships thwart (cross bench) and one on the forward thwart. The forward position was always used: it made it easier to carry fish boxes and other gear in the space in the stern of the boat. If you look carefully at the photograph you can see the rowlocks in the forward position

The dinghies were dragged down to the sea manually but were towed back up by LandRover. At the end of the day, and when the dinghy was down the beach a long wire rope was pulled down and tied onto the boat. The other end of the wire rope went onto an old LandRover up on the hard ground .As the vehicle  reversed the boat was towed up the beach and above the high tide line. This treatment did the dinghies no good at all as can be seen in photo 242 “Carrying the Catch”

In the foreground of the photo is visible one of the two “swell lines” .  These lines consisted of a hefty anchor at the seaward end attached to a wire rope that led up the beach to a lighter line that was used to tension the swell line to a strong point outside the boat shed. These two swell lines ran in parallel, about three metres apart all the way down the beach to their anchors in deeper waters. The swell lines were laid at the start of the season and lifted at the end. Their purpose was to facilitate holding a boat in place, either afloat or grounded at any stage of the tide. You can see them in use in the photos No 222 “Loading the boat” , Photo 242 below . The swell lines’ anchors were buoyed to make them easier to lift.

At the top of the beach to the right you can also see a number of the Fascadale anchors. Most of these were used for net moorings, some for the occasional boat moorings. The larger of the anchors, the ones used for the more exposed nets were a “four man lift”. Heavy anchors

To the right of the photo is an upturned fibreglass dinghy that was never used. In Photo 100 there are five boats visible: there were another five boats on the site. It was a boaty Mecca.

In the background is the packing shed ( where the Salmon Coble now is), the engine shed, the ice house and above them is the house with the corrugated iron extension known as the laundry. See Photo 100 Fascadale  for more detail

The wooden post to the right of the photo, just above the anchors is very interesting. It was said to be part of a rope system used to unload ice from boats anchored in the bay.  Fascadale also sourced ice from hill lochs, carried down by the pony that was housed in the stable and from the ice pans just to the east of the bothy. These two sources may well have proved unreliable so perhaps ice was imported from places in the north.

© Don McAllester

Photo 201

The dinghy has been dragged down the beach and is now almost afloat. The tide is quite far up and the line of rocks that are revealed at the bottom of the tide (link photo 803 and ?) are now well covered

The boat is loaded with fish boxes to carry home the hoped for catch, a drum of fuel for the coble and the crews’ oilskins

The salmon coble is visible in the background on her mooring.

© Don McAllester

Photo 202

And so to sea

A cheerful looking Rhoddy Macleod sitting in the stern of the dinghy being rowed out to the coble.

The stable, the house, the packing shed, the workshop and the boat shed are visible in the background as is the LandRover used for towing boats up the beach

© Don McAllester

Photo 203

The crew, Paul Taylor, a seasonal worker

© Don McAllester

Photo 204

Tying the dinghy painter onto the coble mooring.

 The coble mooring was in three parts: two pennants with split splices at the boat end to go over the stem head and attached at the bottom end to a rope that ran across the bay to chains attached to “pins” in the rock. The third part of the mooring was an anchor set to the north west.

Putting in the boat mooring was one of the first jobs of the season, taking it out one of the last.

© Don McAllester

Photo 205

Starting the engine

The coble had a 10HP Norwegian Sabb, a single cylinder, hand cranked, air cooled diesel. Starting it required a little squirt of oil into the rocker cover, using the decompression lever and then a good few turns with the crank handle. When it was really cold there was a strange little method of putting a combustible substance into its air intake. This usually got the motor going. It was a slow running noisy little engine.

© Don McAllester

Photo 206

Getting the bilge pump going

Any rain water that had collected overnight was pumped out in the morning. The pump needed to be primed to get it started.