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Whale hunt at Balallan

Whale hunt at Balallan

Unexpected catch in Loch Erisort

At Balallan in December there was an exciting whale hunt. A shoal of bottle-nose whales appeared at Habost and a crew of fishermen led by John Macrae of Habost pursued them as far as the rapids at Balallan. Here the whole township turned out. They young men in boats were armed with all kinds of weapons; others attacked the whales from the shore.

In a short time, the loch was a mass of boats almost forming a bridge across. Excitement was high. Nothing could be heard but the shouting of men and the swish of oars. The whales were driven into the shallow water at the end of the loch. In a few moments the fishermen were in the water among them and in a short while they succeeded in capturing the whole shoal numbering 54.

On the following day, the work of cutting them up began with everyone in the village getting an equal share. The blubber was melted into oil which was highly prized by the wool spinners of the district.

Extract from Eilean an Fhraoich Annual, 1961

Title: Whale hunt at Balallan
Record Type: Stories, Reports and Traditions
Type: Extract From Book
Date: 1911
Record Maintained By: CECL
Subject Id: 21672