It was lovely to be part of the Tarbert Traditional Boat Festival again this year, we met many interesting people and despite the odd rain shower welcomed upwards of eighty people onto Shemaron during the weekend. The atmosphere inside The Loch Fyne Gallery who were hosting our book signing event was bright, lively and full of chatter. I was a little surprised when sitting with pen poised a mobile phone was enthusiastically thrust into my hand, a number had been dialed and the phone was already ringing out. I felt somewhat ill at ease with the unexpected change of direction from signing books to calling a stranger on someone else’s mobile phone! However, when the recipient answered the call and I explained who I was, I was rewarded with such an enthusiastic response that I felt immediately at ease with the conversation. The person at the other end was a man named Lindsay Walker – cousin to the Sloan family who originally owned Wistaria/Shemaron. Lindsay crewed on Wistaria for the Sloan brothers and possessed a fountain of knowledge from that time.
I was reminded of one of the reasons why I wrote Shemaron: A Beautiful Endeavour, which was to try and portray the strong feelings people have for ring net fishing.
“They recall with ease the names and circumstance of various boats, like they are members of an extended family. Looking back sixty-odd years and remembering a first car just isn’t the same; nostalgia is there to a degree with a car, but I think something runs much deeper with these men…”
I have never heard anyone talk of a thing with such passion as I have heard people talk of the ring net fishing and the boats that were used. It had surfaced once again – the incredibly resistant nostalgic thread that connects Shemaron so strongly with her fishing days. Shemaron oozes nostalgia, she has found a particular following with holidaymakers who stayed in the Scottish fishing village of Carradale during the 1960/70s. As children, many of these holidaymakers went out with the fishermen for a night at the herring.
We brought the weekend to a close by taking Shemaron alongside the ex ring net boat Jasper in a re-enactment of her ringing days with skipper Sandy Galbraith at the wheel; also out on the Loch was the ex ring net boat Ocean Gem.
Onboard Shemaron with us were John McNaughtan (a Carradale holidaymaker who spent nights with the fishermen on Shemaron) and Lindsay Walker. (Who had come over from Strachur posthaste after our telephone conversation)! It was just a quick turn around the loch but lots of fun, then back for a cup of tea in the fo’c’sle with our guests.