Cromarty Archive

Salmon Fishers - c1975

Salmon Fishers - c1975

Date Added: 01 January 2003 Contributor: Unknown Year: 1975 Picture No: 284

Gerry Smith, Willie Hogg and some students out tending salmon nets. Gerry has a shotgun to shoot seals with - in those days it was acceptable, as the seals tore large holes in the bag nets and would kill all the fish without eating them.

Most of this type of salmon fishing around the Scottish coast has stopped now.

Albums: People, The Sea

Groups: Salmon Fishing


I remember Gerry telling me that they actually got a bounty of about �5 or �10 on seals tails when they shot them. Gerry had a great story about when he was out in the coble (salmon fishing boat) and they caught a seal and the boss was delighted at the prospect of getting the bounty, but after they unloaded, the boss came looking for the seal tail and couldn't find it. He wasn't a bit pleased, but Gerry's dog Hasso was sitting very contentedly, licking his chops!! Comment left on 15 April 2003 by Jan Scott-Lodge
Seeing the picture of Gerry and his boat reminds me of the story of the engine. My Father, Peter Bird, sent Gerry a lorry engine and gearbox. Gerry rigged this up in the boat, totally un-marinised. The boat roared across the Firth, very well by all accounts until one day the engine siezed up and that was that. I don't know whether he ever changed gear - not something you would normally expect to do in a boat! Comment left on 09 May 2003 by Arthur Bird
Robert Hendry has his back to the camera. Comment left on 13 August 2003 by Kenny MacFarlane
Yes Arthur -- I remember the boat well --I can't remember the actual name but we nicknamed it the 'Torrey Canyon'. I do remember one occasion when Gerry wanted to go to sea but his battery was dead and he persuaded my Father to lend him the battery from his car to 'jump start' his engine. --Needless to say the battery was returned stone dead!! -- Also, Gerry wouldn't allow anyone to swear in the wheelhouse as it had been constructed from stolen timbers from the Old Gaelic Chapel!! Comment left on 16 August 2003 by Jan Scott-Lodge
Was that not the boat named the Jerimaya, the one that sank in the v at the harbour, or was that another one? Comment left on 17 August 2003 by Sue Florence
George MacLeman (Toy)
possibly Brian Morrison
Comment left on 23 September 2003 by W Fraser
Gerry Smith died on 5th January 2004 at 1.p.m. in the Ste. Roc Hospital, Nice, France, where he had been admitted suffering from pneumonia. He died very peacefully with his friends, Franco Reghi and Mary & Bill Barneveldt at hand. The hospital staff said he was 'Tres tranquille' - which must have been the only time in his life that Gerry could have been described as that!

Gerry lived his own life, the way he wanted to live it, and he lived it to the full. He told me that he didn't want anyone to mourn - rather to celebrate. He asked me to pour a bottle of whisky over his grave and play a special song, which I most certainly shall do.

He always remembered Cromarty fondly and was always keen to hear how everyone was doing.

We will all miss Gerry. But I know that for years to come, the town will be enlivened by the tales of Gerry's escapades, and I know that is exactly how Gerry would like to be remembered.
Comment left on 06 January 2004 by Janice Scott-Lodge
Jan - pour a drop of that whiskey on his grave for me, his many escapades with my Father will live on in the family, the tale of the engine appears above, but there are many more too numerous to mention here. To those who knew him Gerry has a place in Cromarty folklore! Comment left on 06 January 2004 by Arthur Bird
Other pics of Gerry can be found by using the search box at the top of the page or clicking here. Comment left on 06 January 2004 by Garve Scott-Lodge
Deepest sympathy to Ena Young his sister who lives in Cromarty on the loss of her younger brother, he will also be sadly missed by the rest of the family. Comment left on 06 January 2004 by Flora Thomson
At Gerry's request I have received a parcel of his personal papers (which are being passed to his family) but thru these I have managed to contact many of his friends all over the world to let them know of his death. But I have been unable to locate Roy Clarke, formerly of George Street, Cromarty. If anyone has a contact number, I would be obliged as Roy kept in touch with Gerry for quite a while and I would like to let him know about Gerry. Meantime, I would really appreciate any tales about Gerry that anyone cares to tell --a character like Gerry shouldn't be forgotten and I would really like to compile a 'memoire' to him, as a friend. All contributions of memories will be gratefully and sympathetically received. (And remain anonymous if so desired!) Comment left on 07 March 2004 by Jan Scott-Lodge
Did Gerry once have a flower shop in Cromarty?
Comment left on 08 March 2004 by Margaret Tong (nee Cowie)
Yes, Gerry had a greengrocer's shop on the High Street. --I think it was near the hardware shop which was on the corner of High Street and Church Street. I'm not sure exactly when but it was certainly before 1960. Comment left on 15 March 2004 by Jan Scott-Lodge
Susan -- I've since heard that the boat we called the 'Torrey Canyon' was the 'Walrus'. This was the boat with the un-marinised lorry engine. The boat Gerry had afterwards was the old 'Batterack'. --He didn't like that name and asked me to find him another name. --"Something Gaelic sounding" he said. I thought about it and told him I had found the perfect name -- the 'Geus'. Gerry liked the sound of this and asked what it meant. I told him it just suited him --"Geus a loan of your battery" ---"Geus a couple of gallons of deisel" !!! He laughed himself silly, and the boat was known as the 'Geus' till the day it was sunk in a storm at it's moorings in the harbour. That was the last boat Gerry owned, I believe. Comment left on 14 June 2004 at 22:43 by Jan Scott-Lodge
This is so beautiful picture that shows the hardworking of the persons. So good pic.
Comment left on 15 June 2004 at 11:01 by Rozeena
Yes, Rozeena -- the men DO work hard. I remember once being privileged to go out on the 'coble', which was the open boat that tended the huge bag nets for catching salmon. The work that the men did was very hard and physical, and I also remember being astonished when one of the fishermen (Alastair MacLean) kitted out in heavy oilskins and huge waders, suddenly jumped over the side of the boat and 'walked on the water'! --He was treading one of the retaining ropes of the bag net underneath the coble. --If he had slipped, he would have gone immediately to the bottom of the sea. Being a fisherman is a hard and dangerous life. Comment left on 15 June 2004 at 19:02 by Jan Scott-Lodge
Thanks for the info Janice, the boat in its time must have had hundreds of hooks from lines that were caught on it from on pier fishing. Comment left on 15 June 2004 at 20:46 by Sue Florence
On 7th May 2004 my brother Tom McGookin and I met up with Gerry's good friends, Mary Barneveldt and Bill O'Regan in Nice, France and made the pilgrimage to Gerry's grave. It's situated in the Cimitiere D'Este in Nice, and for those of you who might wish to visit, his grave is located at Carriere 15, plot no: 4519. Cimitiere D'Este is absolutely lovely, huge, and incredibly beautifully maintained, on a hillside overlooking the Bay of Nice. At the moment, Gerry's grave is rather raw, but when we arrived, we tidied it a bit and Tom and Bill set some local stones around the edge. I had brought some flowers and I also sprinkled some wild flower seeds at the request of Rosie and Rachael --friends of Gerry's who couldn't manage to be there. Then we played the music --'Fire and Rain', 'Forever Autumn', and, at Gerry's specific request 'Seasons in the Sun'. and then, yes, I poured a whole bottle of 'Old Inverness' whisky over his grave (And, yes, Arthur, I poured a dram for you.) Just a little further up the hill from Gerry's resting place is a small children's playground. Behind his grave is a wood. He is overlooked by the famous Nice observatory and just beneath is the glorious Bay of Nice. It's peaceful, sunny and tranquil. He'd love it. The sun shone, the birds sang, and I kept my promise. Comment left on 16 June 2004 at 22:54 by Jan Scott-Lodge
Jan, thank you for pouring the Dram for me. I showed my Mother, Jessie, your photograph at Gerry's grave. Like so many of us she always had a soft spot for Gerry and his antics, he was always welcome at No.7 Braehead. Comment left on 05 August 2004 at 16:03 by Arthur Bird
I have very fond memories of Gerry from the salmon fishing days. I wrote to gerry a couple of times he was always keen to get the "CRACK" from Cromarty and he always replied. I actually got sent some photos from him - I must look them out. I remember when he fell out with Hamish stuart over some monies owed Gerry theatened to "SHOOT HIM". Hamish was always paranoid about working in front of Gerrys house as he knew Gerry was a good shot as he used to shoot the seals around the bag nets. Gerry used to laugh as he didnt really intend to do it but it got the wind up Hamish like he wanted. At worst he was a Loveable rogue ! Comment left on 25 September 2004 at 01:20 by Paul Shepherd
I remember when he he lived next door to JBD Comment left on 11 November 2005 at 22:31 by COLIN
Today would have been Gerry's birthday and I have been thinking about him all day. Do please send me your memories and stories about Gerry. I still want to compile a book about his escapades and altho I have collected a few, I know there are lots more. Comment left on 13 November 2005 at 20:16 by Jan Scott-lodge
I fished a year on the cobles as a student. Andrew Tarrel was head of the crew and Robert Hendry was there too. The fellow to the left of Gerry in the picture is my student friend, Duncan Craig. We shared the bothy at the waterfront in Cromarty that year. Gerry was fishing Eathie station singlehanded, but he, Duncan, and I became firm friends and remained so for years afterwards. We had many "escapades" with Gerry. Comment left on 16 March 2007 at 09:22 by John Beaton
I can confirm that the picture was taken in the summer of 1973. I worked on the boat that year that's to the suggestion by Duncan who had fished the previous year. The young man (with the red hair) guesting on the boat that morning was my pal Roy Loughran. I'll post my memories of Gerry after I've had a drink or two!! Comment left on 14 July 2013 at 12:23 by Hugh (Mr Suncrush) Cooper (the Glasgow Student)
I remember both Gerry and Willie Hogg. I recall when either one of them shot at what they thought was a seal, but that turned out to be the local farmer that used to swim the channel regularly. His black swim cap looked very much like a seals head.... Comment left on 20 October 2020 by (William) Douglas Bain
My late father was Gerry's elder brother Charlie, they were not in contact after an incident in the mid 1950s. A story I heard from Thelma their Sister was Gerry saved two children from drowning in Loch Ness? I recall a newspaper article about it. I never met Gerry and missed him by 15 minutes when arranging flowers for Jeanette's funeral. I'm now living in Evanton having moved home to Scotland this year. Comment left on 25 August 2022 by David V Smith
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