harris development ltd

Location: Harris
fishing, ships and boats, gaelic language and placenames, travel by sea

Lobster fishing on Scarp

Scarp is an uninhabited island in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, west of Hushinish on Harris. Having previously been home to around 200 residents in the 19th century, by the end of 1971, the last permanent inhabitants of Scarp had moved to Harris. However, a few houses on the island are still in occasional use as private holiday homes.

Coinneach Lachie who lived in Scarp until 1967 shares memories of fishing on the island -

"All the men who were old enough to earn were fishing for lobsters. I remember four boats being at the lobster fishing. The fishing was good but they only got 1/3d for a dozen lobsters. At first the lobsters were sent to market at Billingsgate – they were transported by bus from Hùisinis to Tarbert, then on the Lochmor to Kyle and hence by train to Billingsgate. Some of them died before they arrived there.

"Later on, Calum at Caolas na Sgeirean had two retaining ponds and he used to buy them. Aonghas Mor Iain a Songhais also had one on Stocanais Island, but they didn’t pay as much as you could get for them in Billingsgate. However, it was easier to sell them in Harris. They frequently couldn’t get out to sea because of heavy seas. Although the channel was narrow it could be pretty difficult with strong currents and rough seas in high winds."

Extract from the Isle of Harris website.

More information on visiting the area can be found here.