Travelling from Craignure to Tobermory on Mull you cannot pass by these iconic fishing boats lying derelict and neglected since the mid 1970’s, just of the A848 in Salen Bay. Built in the 1950’s they are not old by modern standards, but no doubt have been the victims of progressive EU fishing policies.
As a frequent visitor to the island, like thousands of others, I have been photographing and watching their deterioration as time and weather take their toll. The first images are from my visit in 2009. Wheelhouse, masts are clearly visible, although even then the decay is fairly obvious.
Salen Fishing Boats 2009
As the years pass by the decay continues and the next to go is the mast and wheelhouses. A visit in 2016 and all but one had gone, destroyed by wind rain and inclement weather, no doubt assisted by the hand of man. Some of the decking is now also showing signs of rotting.
Salen Fishing Boats 2016
I prefer to visit Mull in the winter months and leave the summer to the hoards. The peace and quiet of the island is delightful with the locals a more relaxed. Summer must be quite an an intense period as they rely heavily on tourism for an income.
Some say they have become a hazard and should be removed. Visitors crawling over the structures seem oblivious to the danger they pose. In the meantime I shall continue to record their decay. I only wish I had planned doing this at my first visit. Hindsight is wonderful. Before leaving I often sit and think about those men who worked the boats, the perils they faced at sea to bring food to our tables. It is not a romantic view I have but a deep sense of their history and final abandonment.
Salen Fishing Boats 2020
The wildlife, which Mull is well known for is in abundance along the shores and inlets and over the moors. Time and solitude quiet to just sit, watch and enjoy nature at its best.
The lock down has given me time to browse my picture library. Like many I have a vast collection taken over the years but few have been edited and even less printed.