12407: November Gale of 1881

Extract from The Scotsman, 29 November 1881

A Hundred Fishing Boats Destroyed in the Island of Lewis

Stornoway, Thursday night: – The weather still continues stormy here, with a good deal of lightening and heavy peals of thunder at night, and occasional squalls of hurricane force. This morning, between eight and nine o’ clock, a gale blew from the south-west, and a very heavy sea was raised in the harbour.

The vessels driven ashore during Tuesday’s gale have all been got off more or less damaged, except the schooner Burncoose, of Aberystwith, with oats, and the Telegram of Stornoway, both of which were driven very high upon the beach, and will be difficult to float. The Burncoose is being discharged. The German brig Anna Sophia, whose mainmast was cut away, was towed to the inner harbour, and will be discharged here in order to be repaired.

Reports from the country districts of Lewis and Harris state that the effects of the gale have been most disasterous to houses, stacked grain, and fishing boats. In Harris scarecely a fishing boat is left undamaged. In order to show the intensity of the gale there, it is reported that a large fishing boat was lifted by the force of the wind and carried across a loch half a mile broad, without touching the water.

Telegraphic communication is still interrupted with Harris and Uist. In Lewis the effects have been most serious for the fishermen prosecuting the cod and ling fishing, which is generally commenced about this time on the east coast of Lewis, and owing to the number of boats destroyed this important industry will be seriously crippled.

At Lochs scarecely a fishing village has escaped. At Crossbost, three large herring fishing boats were damaged by the wind and waves, one of them – a decked one – being smashed into pieces. Luirbost lost seven cod and ling fishing boats, one of them being carried out to sea.

At Marnish, five large herring fishing boats, which were lashed together, were carried for some distance into the sea, but happily a projecting piece of land kept them from being carried out to sea entirely. They were all damaged.

At Graver, twenty miles from here, one large decked herring-boat, named the Ann More, valued at 180, was carried off the beach out to sea, and was not seen again; and nine cod and ling fishing-boats were broken into pieces.

In the Stornoway district the havoc among boats have also been very great. At Knock, three boats were broken into pieces; at Sheshadir, two were blown away and smashed; At Aird Point, four boats were destroyed; and at Portnaguran, fourteen miles from here, three boats were smashed, whilst at Shadir one, and at Ganabost two boats were destroyed and broken into small pieces.

On the north side of Broad Bay, the effects of the storm were also very serious – three boats and Tongue, three boats at Vatsker, and six at Tolsta being more or less damaged.The majority of them were broken into pieces.

At Carloway, on the west side of Lewis, and twenty-four miles from here, three large boats were completely smashed. There are no accounts from Uig, but at Ness the boats all escaped.

In Lewis, close upon one hundred boats have been more or less damaged, and in the most of the cases completely destroyed. The Clydesdale steamer arrived tonight. Telegraphic communication is still partially interrupted between here and Inverness.

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