Fishing

John McGhie making a scullA whole variety of baskets were needed for the fishing industry. These ranged from highly adaptable and regionally variable sculls, murlins and rips to very precise and prescriptive herring quarter crans (used for carrying and measuring fish). There were also creels, which fish-wives used to carry on their backs when selling fish, often with rips balanced on top to display their wares. Creels too varied in form from north to south, and even more so from east to west. Arm creels were also used in some regions, such as Arbroath. And there were baskets for locally specific jobs associated with fishing, such as bait baskets and lobster creels, as well as regionally specific forms such as Orkney and Shetland kishies and budies made from dockens, rattan or straw.   A question which has provoked a great many assumptions and opinions is, ‘Who made these baskets?’ The temptation has been to assume that, with the exception of the quarter cran, which had to be made by trained basket-makers who had completed an apprenticeship, most fishermen made their own. From our research so far, this looks unlikely. It is, however, surprisingly difficult to find out any information about this now. If anyone browsing the site has information about this, please contact us.

Fishing-basket makers

John McGhie making a scull

A whole variety of baskets were needed for the fishing industry. These ranged from highly adaptable and regionally variable sculls, murlins and rips (using in setting lines, gutting and carrying fish) to very precise and prescriptive herring quarter crans (used …Continue reading “Fishing-basket makers”

Blind Benjie Finlayson plays fiddle, with all the materials for making a line basket to his left

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‘Blind Benjie’ Finlayson is playing fiddle, sitting with his father who baits lines, feeding them into a deep Cromarty-style line scull. A half-finished scull lies on the ground between them, while a bundle of the materials for making it, probably willows …Continue reading “Blind Benjie Finlayson plays fiddle, with all the materials for making a line basket to his left”

Arbroath rip

Arbroath rip from NMS collection. Liz Balfour's account

The Arbroath rip, Liz Balfour’s account The Arbroath rip was used by fisherwomen, carried on their backs for selling fish. It was never used at the harbour, but on women’s fish selling rounds or in the market. Rips are bigger …Continue reading “Arbroath rip”