Gutters at work – the girls work at the “farlin” – a large trough in which the herring are placed. Maggie Jack is on the right of the picture
Rousing the herring – these girls are rousing the herring before packing them into barrels. Salt herring was no use unless it was well roused – which meant they had to be turned over and over in the salt tub. (This salt tub was probably an old “say” – the washing tub in which housewives used to do their weekly wash before the days of washing machines.) The girl on the right is Margaret (Greta) MacLeman the wife of John MacLeman skipper of the Heather Lee.
Mrs Reid, last fishwife

Mrs Reid had nine children: her husband was a fisherman who no doubt relied on her to sell the fish he caught. She would line her basket with fresh paper and set off to Fortrose early in the morning to sell her fish. In the old days there was a barter system in operation where fish would be exchanged for food etc, but in Mrs Reid’s day the fish would be sold for cash.

The children of the household would come home from school and rock the cradle while their mother worked in the home, a chore that did not go down too well it seems. “There would be a fight on some nights about whose turn it was to rock the cradle.” (Jean Skinner – Mrs Reid’s daughter)

The women’s life in Avoch was much harder than for their daughters and grand-daughters nowadays, who have the mod cons of washing machines and electricity. “No firewood was sold at the door, and the women would go to the woods for firewood, and take their water from the village pumps to do their washing.” Not an easy task in a wooden tub called a “say” especially when one’s husband was a fisherman! In the old days before lavatories, waste would be disposed into the sea, and later into the septic tanks at the bottom of the streets. These were provided by James Douglas Fletcher of Rosehaugh. The tanks were wooden boxes and many an unfortunate coming home late at night had accidents and fell into these tanks on their way home.