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Grif Skerry and East Linga

The small islands east of Whalsay were used as fishing stations during the 1800s; Grif (or Grui) Skerry for accommodation and East Linga for processing fish.

Fishermen stayed in the 18 huts on Grif Skerry for convenience with work or when the weather was too bad to return home to Whalsay. The small huts were only 10 feet wide and 15 – 18 feet long. Up to 18 boats would land and stay on Grif Skerry at one time.  The boats would typically by away at sea for three days before landing their fish. One man was always left ashore on Grif Skerry to make a feed for the crews on their return.

East Linga was used for fish processing which consisted of weighing, drying and curing. The remains of the huts on East Linga can still be seen today.

The huts were last used in 1882 when decked boats largely replaced the open sixareens.

You can hear John Jamieson Irvine’s account at:

John, Jamieson Irvine, “Small isles east of Whalsay as fishing stations”, School of Scottish Studies, recorded by Elizabeth Sinclair, SA1961.027,, accessed 08 February 2014.

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