Districts, December 22 2017

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Harpoon hunters speared sharks

Fishermen in the mould of Jaws anti-hero Quint once earned mega bucks in Carradale.

Village character ‘Neenie’ MacDougall has spotted a photograph on the wall of the Ashbank hotel. It shows his father operating a harpoon gun on the stern of a boat with a shark’s fin in the background.

Mr MacDougall said that a shark processing factory, at Port Na Cuile, opened in the village in the 1940s to produce oil for Tilley lamps.

He added: ‘They put the sharks in a barrel and took them for processing by lorry. My father featured in a 1958 book by Anthony Watkins titled: ‘The Sea my Hunting Ground.’

Mr Watkins describes the building of the shark oil processing unit. He said that his budget was about £700 and in the first year the plant was reduced to bare essentials: an oil extraction plant with refinements such as a fish meal plant, slipway and jetty to be added later.

He describes ferreting around second-hand machinery merchants in Glasgow and buying everything needed at reasonable prices including a boiler eight feet tall and four feet diameter.

Mr Watkins wrote: ‘We arranged for a lorry to collect all the stuff and returned to Carradale.

‘After high tea Mr MacDougall came up to me and said: ‘If you haven’t engaged a crew yet, Bobbie Ritchie, a very experienced herring skipper, would like a job. Andy my youngest son, Alec is keen to join as an engineer. Will you see them?

‘I engaged them both Bob Ritchie at £3 a week and Alec at £2 10s. od., plus a bonus on the catch.’

Mr MacDougall operating the harpoon gun with a fin in the background. 25_c50shark03_neenie’s_dad


Tree elves at Gigha hotel

Hotel staff took advantage of last Saturday’s sun to deck the boughs of Gigha hotel’s Christmas tree.

In the Courier’s picture Alistair Brown is assisting Lithuanians Emilija Kovadlaide and Andzela Bajoruniene. Andzela moved three years ago, from Lithuania’s second city, Kaunas and says she loves Gigha. 25_c51gighahoteltree01


Festive fun at SWI’s Christmas bash

Festive games including Snowman ‘beetle’ and the hokey cokey evoked much fun and laughter from members at Southend SWI’s Christmas party.

The ladies played games after a ‘beautiful’ meal at Muneroy last Monday.

There was also a Christmas version of Mastermind by president Jean Ives and committee member Trish Jones.

After competitions were judged, Mrs Ives thanked Frances Hill and her staff for a ‘fabulous’ meal and wished all members a merry Christmas.

Competition results: Stocking: Alison Eynon gold, Moyra Jane Paterson gold, Christine Jardine red, Fiona Rowland red. Jam: Alison Eynon gold, Moyra Jane Paterson gold, Fiona Rowland red.

The speaker at the next meeting, on January 8 2018, will be a vet from Westwards Veterinary Practice.

All are welcome to attend the meeting, where the competitions will all have an animal theme: an animal, any craft; three animal biscuits, own choice; and art, animals, drawing and painting materials only.


Cake demonstration was ‘exceedingly good’

In a nod to Mr Kipling, Bellochantuy SWI ladies described a cake decoration demonstration as ‘exceedingly good’.

Vice president Lois Fell explained the uses of different types of icing and the convenience of different gadgets available now-a-days.

The result was a ‘beautifully decorated’ Christmas cake.

After the meeting, 15 members met at the Argyll Hotel for a Christmas meal.

Competition results: Baking: Lois Fell gold, Margaret McKinnon gold. Handicraft: Jeanette Brodie silver, Libby Kerr silver, Judith Macrae silver. Fun: Nettie Semple gold, Margaret McKinnon gold, Libby Kerr gold, Patricia Fair gold, Jeanette Brodie silver, Elaine Hemmings silver, Judith Macrae red, Jill Lines red.