Fishing in the wild North Sea is one of Scotland’s most dangerous occupation and has for centuries been the work of trawler men however, not any longer, as three intrepid girls from Skye have taken up the challenge of signing on as deckhands on a North Sea trawler.
BBC ALBA’s new five part documentary series, ‘Caileagan an Iasgaich : Trawler Girls’, follows the girls over a four-week challenge as they begin training in sea survival, first aid and fire fighting and charts their progress to see if they have what it takes to carry out the arduous tasks of a trawler girl.
The three girls onboard include: - Mairi MacLeod (36), from Fernilea, near Carbost - Mairi now lives in Glasgow and is a primary teacher in Condorrat; Catherine Tinney (20), from Portree - presently studying history and Gaelic at Glasgow University and Caroline Ross (19), from Ellishader near Staffin - Caroline recently returned from New Zealand where she was travelling for seven months. The girls don oilskins, grab the gutting knife and take to the seas that will transform them from girly girls to able sea-women, spending ten days as part of a tough and experienced crew fishing for cod and haddock in the dangerous waters off Shetland.
In the series they face gale force winds, extreme sea sickness, and hours upon hours of hauling nets and gutting fish in wet and freezing conditions.
They each experience a long day on a Portree prawn trawler, before they team up for a three day voyage out of Oban.
Their toughest challenge culminates in the girls crewing the Banff based trawler The Audacious on a ten-day voyage from Fraserburgh to the wild North Seas off Shetland, which pushes them to their limits - the words ‘fish’ and ‘net’ will no longer mean a type of hosiery to our gutsy trawler girls.
Produced by Caledonia TV for BBC ALBA, ‘Caileagan an Iasgaich : Trawler Girls’ will start on Monday 19th March at 10pm and thereafter on each consecutive Monday.