The word 'minister' brings bad luck on fishing trip; other S...

Date 1958
Track ID 33826
Part 1

Track Information

Original Track ID


Original Tape ID



The word 'minister' brings bad luck on fishing trip; other Shetland fishing superstitions.

Margaret Umphray and her pal went to the herring one night, and her friend mentioned the word 'minister' on board the boat. The crew's faces fell and when the boat came into the market in the morning, they had no herring at all.

Whistling raises the wind and is not to be done on board. If no fish are caught it is blamed on a witch. In the old days a stick would be wrapped in cloth, dipped in oil, set alight, and then carried around the decks to "clear the witch". Margaret's generation did not do that although they knew of it. If someone mentioned a taboo word like 'minister' the reply 'cauld iron' had to be said to counteract the bad luck.

Item Subject/Person

Umphray, Mrs Margaret

Recording Location

County - Shetland

Parish - Yell

Island - Yell

Village/Place - Bouster

Item Location

County - Shetland

Parish - Tingwall

Island - Shetland Mainland

Village/Place - Scalloway





Source Type

Reel to reel

Audio Quality