In the 1960ís and 1970ís I
saw a handful of boats washed out of Portlethen shore, dashed against
the rocks or lying on the beach filled with water. These were boats that
hadnít been drawn high enough up the bank in winter to avoid a
combination of stormy weather and high tides. Generally speaking, these
were pleasure craft that were old, not looked after, or where the owners
had lost interest in them.
This would not have happened in the 19th century when every vessel kept
in a shore or harbour was a working boat where men were dependent on
them to make a living. Given the valuable commodity that boats were at
that time wreckages still occurred whilst boats were moored at harbour
or pulled up the beaches. This was down to the nature of the weather and
the heaviness of the boats rather than neglect and in the stormiest of
conditions the local fishers would have been constantly checking on the
condition of their craft.
In December of this year it was reported that two Findon boats were
carried out of the harbour at Portlethen and destroyed. We can only
surmise about the circumstances surrounding this example; perhaps the
boats had to make for Portlethen in a hurry and there was no safe
mooring because of the cramped conditions at the shore? Maybe the
weather was of an extremely violent nature which is likely because many
boats had to abandon fishing gear during this 1886 storm and a vessel from nearby Newtonhill
was also lost.
Even with all the precautions taken by local fishermen boats were still
lost from the shore and harbours quite regularly. Back in these days all
aspects of fishing was a precarious business, even when the fishermen
werenít at sea.