Wildness - Splitting and Gutting

Wednesday June 14th: wild day of flying here and there
Arriving early at Stenness there was yet more bell recording - thanks to Yvonne from Shetland Museum loaning us an old hand bell. It's remarkable how many different ways there are to ring a bell and how much the sound varies from different locations around the beach and the ways of recording. I've learnt that a sound recordist is never satisfied.

More kite flying... with some degree of success this time. The wind blew and the kite stayed up and images of the sea with a few glimpses of ruined lodges. More practice needed on getting the right angles - all depends on wind direction and speed of course.

 Then a phone call received and a dash into Lerwick to meet up with Andrew and collect two large Ling and a Cod (intact) and a tour around the Fish Auction house. Thank you to LHD Ltd, the skipper of the Guardian Angell, and to Andrew.

Speeding onwards to the west-side to meet up with Lynn Mccormack and her wonderful brother Steve and family and film the splitting and gutting of the Ling on the beach. Thank you to Steve for your enthusiasm and skills (sorry we made you kneel on the shingly beach - hope your knees recovered!).


There has been much discussion of the ways that Ling were split and each new description we read seems to differ from the last... This is one..
Other descriptions have the ling gutted as the men returned from the far haaf, so on board the boat. While others have the whole process taking place on the beach. It probably depended on circumstances and how many fish had been caught, the weather. Ling and Cod were all certainly cleaned and salted and stacked in barrels, and laid out on the stone beaches to dry, turned and then stacked by the beach boys and old men, who probably also had to keep the seabirds at bay.
Fish drying on the beach (image courtesy of Shetland Museum photographic collection)
Our working days seem to be getting longer and longer.. but then it still light at 11pm.. and we have much to pack in.


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