Dalmore Daytime

Dalmore Daytime
Sandy Beach

Saturday, 9 August 2008

" Glass". Crofter,Weaver and Fisherman.

Glass,my grandfather,was an industrious man,who never let the grass grow under his feet. He was a great provider for his family,and in that regard,he was willing to turn his hand to many different jobs. In the first place he was a crofter on the five acres at 5 Dalmore, and happy he must have been to rent this croft here in the "Dailean",which recently had been Padruig Sinclair's sheep farm. He was also a weaver,weaving tweed on a wooden hand loom,which I can remember was stored in the "sobhal" (barn) at No.5, possibly hoping to be ressurected, if that new fankled iron loom proved a failure. Alas,alas old friend! These tweeds were made into blankets by his wife Mary,who was in business(in a small way) with a friend, Catherine Macleod,when they were still in Garenin.From time to time,Glass wove tweeds for the mills in Stornoway. He was reckoned to be a fine weaver in these days.
Glass was also a fisherman on one of the local sailing boats of the "Carloway Fleet",based at the Dunan. He was a crew member of the 21 ton "Press Home",owned by his cousin "Gherry" (Duncan Macleod). This was in the years 1880-1890,when there were 26 boats fishing all year round, out of Loch Carloway. Later,Glass would own his own boat,"The Plover" (SY 571),around 1890. At other times,he followed the fishing season over on the east coast of Scotland with Shoudie's brother, " Domhnull Drobhair" (Donald Maclennan,9 Garenin). These two men were lifelong friends. These sail boats operated 3 miles out to sea, and used the large line,each line bearing 1,000 hooks,baited with eel(sometimes halibut!).They were after ling which was a highly prized fish back in these days. A common daily return for these boats might be 500/600 ling and they were sold for 7 or 8 pence(old money)each. The ling had to measure 2 and a half feet,"eye to tail" or failing that, 2 ling for one.
I was told the following story about Glass,"eithear Gherry" and a colossal catch of ling,which occurred in the distant past. It seems that Glass ,with a crew of 5 or 6 in "eithear Gherry"(Gherry's boat)went out very early one morning to fish for ling using the large lines,and according to the storyteller,they struck gold almost immediately. The boat was up to the gunwales(or is it rowlocks)in an abundance of ling. They got their catch to the market just as it opened,and their catch commanded a record price for those times. Glass suggested that if they all put their shares of the money together,they would be in a position to buy the boat from the owner,Gherry,if he was in agreement. He was,and the ownership transferred to "Glass & Co". Well that's the story,and maybe that's how the "Press Home" became "The Plover" - maybe!

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