Harvesting the Sea

“Although it is not a weight, the equivalent of a cran is 28 stone. A barrel of herring would need approximately four baskets of fish to fill it. (2 baskets for a half barrel if it was salted herring)

A full barrel of salted herring required 2 baskets plus an extra full basket and 1 firkin.

A basket of herring was 7 stones. Four baskets made a cran.

In the old days the fish were salted but not now. They work in tons now. There are 3 or 4 crans in a ton.

A scaffie would carry up to 40-odd crans. That is 160 baskets. A trawler would bring in 800 boxes or 200 crans.” (John Patience)

Landing the herring, circa 1900. The “shielikies” (little boys) watch as the men aboard are lifting the nets prior to landing the herring. Fisher children were always down at the harbour. It was a way of life for them. The floats to the right of the picture are the old canvas type used in those days. The boat in the foreground is most probably a Fifie and the boat with the INS markings could be an Avoch fishing boat.
The Heather Lee, INS 15
Avoch fishermen at Stornoway. Willie MacLeman watches as Heather Lee’s crew lift the surplus nets prior to landing the herring.
Left to right: Willie MacLeman, John MacLeman, Bobby Jack, A W MacLeman, George Reid, W Reid, and carrying the morning rolls in the background is James Brodie. Also standing watching is Jack Leitch, a relative of Jock Leitch.
Landing the herring and measuring them into a 1/4 cran basket.
Fisher boats at the jetty. This photograph shows the herring fleet in harbour but the place is unknown. The boats in the harbour are mainly steam drifters and sailing boats