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Talmine Pier and Shipping

Drawing of a sloop created in Paintshop Pro © Iain Morrison 2006

Clearances and fishing

The settlement of Melness grew significantly due to the clearance of small tenants from Strathmore on Lord Reay's Hope Estate as well as from around the head of the Kyle of Tongue. Lord Reay was having financial difficulties and so sheep replaced the tenants as this was much more profitable as well as permitting an increase on the rental. The result was the growth of existing settlements, causing overcrowding and an inability for the land to support so many extra people. Consequently new townships were created and by 1878, Midfield, East Strathan, Torrincudigan and Talmine are occupied, on the Roy Map only 9 buildings are shown, and by 1789 there are 21 tenants and by 1890 Skinnid has 31 crofts. Some commentators suggest that having a croft and combining it with fishing was more viable that having a small holding and trying to raise stock. See (Adam 1921). Click Here for full Reference.

Fishing Boats at Talmine Pier in 1900 Photo © M Mackay MelnessFrom 1890 until the 1930s it seems there were at least trading 13 smacks owned by villagers. According to Robert Simper in "Scottish Sail - a Forgotten Era. Page 51", "Most of these were converted Fifies apart from the Mary and the Harlequin". Other boats I know about are the Fram, Castle Varrish, Band of Hope and the Balone Castle and the Antagonist. There are another six unaccounted for so more research is required to find out the names and details of the others. It seems that Talmine bay was also a busy location for white fish and herring with fishing boats from the North coast, from Orkney and Shetland, the Moray Firth as well as significant numbers of foreign boats. You can see how busy the bay was in the photo above showing at least 11 boats moored there. Thanks to Maggie Mackay for the photo. The original photographer is unknown, if anyone can help with information on this photo please let me know.

There were also Orkney trading boats which visited spasmodically.

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Melness Pier Photo © Iain Morrison Welcome to the Melness Internet Site. This is a labour of love for me. It is a celebration of all that makes Melness a wonderful place. It holds so many fantastic memories for me, growing up there until going to School in Golspie. It is a celebration of the people, their culture, history, music, poetry and heritage. I hope you like the new design and find the site easy to use. There are lots of new pages and resources to enjoy and many more to come in the future. Enjoy, Iain