You are here
George (c1915-c1970) was a son of George Clark.
George was a director of the Clark Shoe Company of Kilmarnock. In addition to his manufacturing concerns, he was interested in seafaring; this led to him settling for several years, from 1949, in Great Bernera, lodging with the Morrison family of 4 Kirkibost. George first arrived in Great Bernera having delivered a boat, the Loch Roag, to Kirkibost. He became an influential figure in the development of lobster fishing, not just in Bernera and the United Kingdom, but internationally. His focus, however, was on the Bernera fishermen with whom he worked.
He commissioned a new purpose-built boat for lobster fishing, the Mairi Dhonn; her crew comprised Calum Ruairidh Morrison, Donald Macaulay, and, on occasion, Kenneth Macdonald and Murdo Maclennan. George subsequently adapted the Mairi Dhonn to better cope with lobster fishing.
In September 1952, the Mairi Dhonn became the first vessel to be chartered, with a crew of George, Donald Macaulay and Murdo Maclennan, to transport the gannet harvest back from the island of Sula Sgeir, as part of the annual guga (young gannet) hunt. George was instrumental in raising the alarm for the rescue of hunters stranded on the island in severe storm conditions.
In 1953 George commissioned a larger boat for fishing lobsters on the west coast of Lewis, from James N. Miller and Sons of St. Monans in Fife. His new boat was completed in May 1953 and was named Scotch Lass. The ownership of the Mairi Dhonn was transferred to crew member Donald Macaulay.
In August 1953 George and his Scotch Lass crew were chartered to again support the guga hunt on Sula Sgeir. Apart from an initial abortive trip when the shore party could not be landed due to heavy swell, and unlike the extreme drama of the previous year, the commission was completed successfully and safely.
George continued to fish for lobsters with the Scotch Lass from Bernera until 1954, when he moved the boat to Oban and fished for lobsters there. However, he maintained Hebridean links with crew from either Bernera or Harris. In 1956 George commissioned a larger boat, the Skadi, to replace the Scotch Lass, which he had sold in 1955.
In around 1958-1960 George married his wife, June; he retired from fishing and built a bungalow on the north shore of Loch Etive in Oban. George and June did not have any children, and George is not known to have had any surviving direct relatives.
George was a friend and colleague of the Bernera fisherman Kenneth Macdonald; Kenneth's nephew Dr John A Macrae wrote this account which provides further details of George's life and career.