Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Better Days

We came across this old fishing boat near the shore of Loch Craignish. The flaking paint of her planking glowed in the twilight and brought colour to the waters of the loch that once supported her. She is alone now and her days at sea are past but she is decaying with a dignity that befits a craft that in turn supported a way of life.

Boats like this can be found in quiet corners all round the West coast of Scotland. They are a dying breed; built of wood by local craftsmen (this one perhaps in the boatyard at nearby Crinan) they sometimes served several generations of one fishing family. I wonder if the men who fished from her are still working or have long since retired. They too are a dying breed.

We left her in the gathering darkness of Craignish.



  1. This photo so reminds me of similar boats slowing ending their days in the small communities of Newfoundland. All at once, sad, beautiful and proud. Thanks for the post!

  2. Thank you Michael.

    I suspect that apart from the Gulf Stream, Scotland and the eastern seaboard of Canada share a great deal.

    This now lowly populated landscape in Scotland once supported tens of thousands of people who were cleared from the land in the 19th century and forced onto ships which carried them across the Atlantic.

  3. Many of those very people settled near me and their descendants provided children for me to teach! The children's grandparents still spoke Gaelic among themselves. I'm told the graveyards around have almost the same names as do yours...

  4. Michael, I am not too surprised. Even here Gaelic is in a very precarious position though it is being used in some schools again. My daughters' great great aunt who is over 90 and lives in Benbecula is the last member of our family whose first language was Gaelic.