Blog | Day in the life | 1959 | Kilkeel fishing boats in a storm

By Tom Griffiths | 28th September 2017

The ‘Remembering when” series

By Leslie Campbell

21st August 1959

Crews of five seine net fishing boats of the Kilkeel fleet were busy on Saturday and Monday last repairing their boats which were damaged during Friday morning’s storm. The boats which were fishing off Whitehaven left for home port at 4 a.m. and when in mid-channel ran into a storm. The skipper of the Harvest Morn, Mr. Harry Maginnis, said it was the worst he had experienced. The waves constantly broke over the vessel and she received a heavy pounding. A net rack was washed overboard. Mr. Samuel McKnight, skipper of Unity, said the ladder was smashed and several fish-room planks damaged.

The skippers of the other three boats; Messrs. David Wilson (Shemariah), Ernest McKee (Ambitious), and Howard Forsythe (Castle Dawn) had an unpleasant time also, but all felt they were lucky in getting off so lightly.

The crossing from Whitehaven to Kilkeel usually takes 8 hours but it took 14 hours on Friday. A sixth Kilkeel vessel, Coreopis, skippered by John Doyle, The Moor, left Whitehaven on Thursday evening at 9 o’clock and was nearing home port when the storm broke. For a few hours they had an anxious time.