with Torquil MacRae
When I was older we would go fishing for haddock with the little boat. My uncle had a big boat, with four oars in her, and we would go out with four at the oars and another steering. I was so young then – only about fourteen.
There was an old man behind me and he taught me to row. I had too – he would say – “throw the oar!” – and if my throw was not long enough, I got the end of the oar in the small of my back! That is how I learned to row.
We used to go fishing for herring then. I made a little song at the time of the war about these times as I remembered them. It was in the middle of the village, down past the meeting-house, that we had the music for dancing. When it was still we listened for the music from Ranish, across the loch.
The herring came into the loch at the Glen and everyone wanted to be there. The people from the first croft were casting the nets and the old men came out from Ranish. The people from the bottom end of the township thought that they were coming too close to them. The Grimshader folk created a bit of a row, and an old man from Ranish said, “You remember that this green place is not divided the way the Bun Chasgro crofts are divided! There were a lot of houses in Bun Chasgro.
We had a cuddy-net with a wooden shaft. The cuddies were coming in in the evenings. Someone would be on the look-out, and he would shout, “Here’s one coming”. They would come in their hundreds then. It depended on the strength of the wind whether they were deep or shallow in the water. When it was wild, they stayed down deep. If there was a moon they practically broke the surface of the water. We would be sitting there and there was an old man in my grandfather’s house, and he would be down helping to look after the cuddy-net. Oh, he was crabbit! If a big fish came into the net, we would make a jump for it, and this made him angry!