Dalmore Daytime

Dalmore Daytime
Sandy Beach

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Fishing at "Bandaberie",Dalmore.

I have written about the Gearraidh in previous posts,that beautiful, green and fertile part of Dalmore,a land of old corn mills, and at times home to the "iolaire",the majestic golden eagle. It is,however,a place in which one never feels at ease, and I'm not sure why! The Gearraidh pushes out into the Atlantic Ocean in a promontory at "Rudha an Trileachain"(headland of the oyster catchers ),and how well named it is. The rocks here are strewn with the shells of mussels and limpets,but gey few oysters. You see,the bulk of the island's shellfish leaves for France and Spain in giant refrigerated lorries. "Round the corner" from this point and flanking the wild beach of "Sheilagadh"is a sea rock called "Bandaberie",a favoured plinth for sea fishing with the "slat"(bamboo rod),yielding good catches,but it is an exceedingly treacherous place. Not for nothing was "Bandaberie" feared by the women of Dalmore.
To access the site,you had to climb down a near vertical rock face(about 20 feet down),and carrying the "slat",that could be difficult. However,there were enough finger and toe holds to ease your descent. Strong sea currents swirled around the rock from which we fished,and the top of the rock was only inches above the sea. You always had to be mindful of those freak waves that crashed over the rock,and be prepared to abandon your position. These bamboo rods were 20-25 feet long,and a strong twine,tied at the top,ran down the length of the rod(no reel needed here). Attached to the end of the line was a cast of 6 or 7 flies made from large hooks and white seagull feathers. Cold boiled potato left over from the "tatties and herring" lunch would be squashed in the hand and this ground bait tossed into the clear waters of the "geotha". Within a few minutes,the long bamboo("slat")would be arching over with the great strain on the line,and you could see perhaps 6 or 7 fish down in the waters below. While in the water,this heavy catch was buoyed by the upthrust(Archimedes'Principle,you recall),but when the fish were pulled from the water,you had a seething mass of disparate forces acting in every direction,including up. The only thing that might be considered art, was landing every last fish on the rocks behind you. You then had to "dehook" every fish,and stick them in the brown hessian bag, On Bandaberie, it was rare to catch any fish except the "cuidaig"(cuddy/small saithe)or the"saighean"(saithe/coal fish). The only thing which limited your catch(or enthusiasm) was the knowledge that you had to get a heavy bag of fish up that near vertical cliff,and then transport it nearly a mile over hill and dale. Then,of course,the fish had to be gutted and washed.
These fresh fish, fried in the morning's bacon fat,and served with Stag bread and butter and a mug of tea, was a meal to savour. I wonder if anyone still fishes at Bandaberie,or knows how to get down there. I doubt it.
Domhnull Lamont and my uncle Norman(Tormod Glass)fished on Bandaberie a great deal,and installed a rope/wire ladder there, which afforded easier access to the site.

P.S. Tamra (U.S.A.) Thanks for your comment. D.J.Maclennan.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Iain, you do know that John our fathers brother used to go there fishing, until a woman came to see him, and told him that in a dream, she had seen a fair haired man drown there, and at once came and told him of her dream. From that day, he never went back there to fish.