Small isles east of Whalsay as fishing stations; Grui Skerry...
Date May 1961
Track ID 59889
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Track Information

Original Track ID

SA1961.27

Original Tape ID

SA1961.027

Summary

Small isles east of Whalsay as fishing stations; Grui Skerry for accommodation and East Linga for processing fish.

Fishermen stayed in small huts 10 feet wide and 15 to 18 feet long on the outer isles [of Whalsay]. The huts were used overnight or in bad weather and were quite a bit closer to the fishing grounds than the fishermen's houses. They always pulled their boats up, and on the largest island there were eighteen boats and eighteen huts. Another island was used for curing the fish. The boats might be three days at sea before landing their fish. One man was left ashore to make a feed for the crew, who otherwise just had meals made in a kettle [i.e. pot] fired by peats. The entire week's provisions and water kegs had to be taken to sea and to the islands on Monday. There was always plenty of fish on the menu!

The main isle used by the fishermen was Grui Skerry, whose name was gradually changed to Grif Skerry. The fish was weighed, dried and cured on East Linga where the remains of the huts can still be seen. The last year the huts were used was around 1882, when John Irvine was born. Decked boats started replacing the open sixareens in the 1880s. When John was at the herring [in later years], the nets were shot at night and hauled in the morning.

Recording Location

County - Shetland

Parish - Nesting

Island - Whalsay

Item Location

County - Shetland

Parish - Nesting

Island - Whalsay

Village - Grif Skerry

Language

English

Genre

Information

Collection

SoSS