Tuesday, 17 March 2009


After fishing for small fry up at the Swanny Ponds in the 60's, we progressed to bigger catches down at the Docks in the 70's. This would be the 1970 to 1974 period in our young teenage years.
We would start off at the Grassy Beach first when the tide was out to dig our own bait. Horrible creatures we called "rigger" (rig worm), they looked like millipedes. When the tide came in we'd go back again with our fishing gear to Stannergate. I had what was called a "Tope rod", but I ended up calling it my "nope" rod because I never caught a thing with it! We often discovered going along to the Docks was more productive. We didn't even need to cast, just dangling the line over the edge was enough to hook pollack, gurnard and eels.
The Docks area was still pretty active back then. Names I can recall from that period are - Kestrel Marine - Briggs - Yorkshire Imperial - Robb Caledon and Esso, Shell & BP had depots there too.
This footage below was taken in 1974 and shows the launch of a floating crane bound for Poland. Not sure who built it but some of the guys are in shot.
Photo by the Scotsman.Tints by GG


  1. It's such a pity the real, living, working docks have gone.
    I remember when I was wee, my dad taking me down to see the big jute ships unload. It was great to see the big cranes swinging huge jute bales in cargo nets.
    There was also the dry dock which totally freaked me out....and still does when I see pictures of it!

  2. I remember the sheds were numberd from 1 to about 20.It may have been more. Where i lived overlooked the shipyard, and we used to watch the ships taking shape, and couldnt wait until launch day.When the workers came out ,you could hear the hooter from far away, and the workers would swarm out like ants.
    As for catching fish at grassy beach.All i remember is oily water full of dead jellyfish.

  3. used to catch mackerel and flukies from the docks with a length of line and a hook, some worms.

    Using a rod, only ever caught seaweed.

  4. Wildcat, JT Inglis...

  5. i worked at Bell and Sime Timber Merchants in the late 70's, early 80's - they were on Marine Parade, just down and opposite from the Unicorn. They were a major employer even when i was there - they had their own sawmills and timber yards. I also remember that the area was heaving back then - Kestrel, Robb Caledon etc. Bell and Sime also had a factory over the other side of the harbour. The whole factory was closed and is now flats although Bell and Sime do have premises up at Baluniefield.

    1. I was a woodworking machinist in the 70s at bell and sime

    2. I was managing in Bell & Sime 1970 to 1980 with Bill Armstrong