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Ruddons Point

Until not too many years ago, when Jems (Jimmy Linton) my bosom buddy from my boyhood days retired and gave up his salmon fishing concession, Earlsferry and Elie had quite a valuable salmon fishery.  Prior to Jems, who used a powered boat, the fishery concession was operated by men who went to sea in a heavy wooden salmon cobble.  The cobble was about eight feet wide and maybe fifteen feet long and required all the brawn of six men at the oars to propel it.  Salmon swim along the bays such as Largo Bay, Shell Bay, West Bay, Earlsferry and Elie Bay then around the headlands between these bays.  They swim just outside of the breaker line.  At the ends of the bays, where the bays meet the headlands, salmon nets are set.  Long net leaders are set to funnel the salmon into the entry way of the bag of the net. Once in the bag, the salmon are captive until the salmon fishermen come to unload the net.  Many times I got to go along in the cobble.  It was great fun.  In these days all of the salmon fishing nets and gear were stored for the winter in The Granary at the Elie Harbor.

There are other salmon fishers who never fail to reap their harvest.  These are the mighty seals that appear to hunt in organized packs.  If you watch closely you'll see them surface in an even spacing all along the shore line.  Once they've gorged themselves they come ashore on to places like the island (at high tide) that lies just off the tip of Ruddons Point where they sleep and rest.  Another place they lay up between hunting spells is on the Wester Voos just off the Sea Hole of the golf course.  Golfers playing on the tenth to the fourteenth fairways can hear them bellowing and roaring.  When you're in a small boat they'll allow you to come quite close.  My favourite place to observe them was from the tiny bit of land that becomes an island at high tide that lies just out from the tip of Ruddons Point.  There I maintained a blind that I made from piling up big rocks and boulders that I found nearby.  This was a perpetual job as the tide had other ideas as to me building on its territory.  There was one big old fellow that over the years I learned to readily recognize.  I named him Charlie.  By his battle scars he was quite distinctive.  I had a penny whistle that I played when I spotted him.  He was quite a curious creature and would come quite close to me.  I'm sure he recognized me.  He wasn't afraid of me and would bark when he saw me.  He'd allow me to approach very close to him.  I could walk over the rocks right up to him until I just got too close for his comfort.  My blind on the island was the place where I went to hear the once heard never to be forgotten lonesome, shrill call of a curlew and to watch the great variety of sea birds that stopped by including the swans, geese and ducks that flew down from Kinneuchar Loch. 

When the tide permitted me to do so, I'd walk out from Ruddons Point by way of the sandy gravel tombolo to the rocky place that lays off shore. As the tide starts its inflow this tiny bit of land very rapidly becomes completely surrounded by the sea and remains so for several hours.  In all the times that I let the sea surround me and cut me off from the mainland and I became as one with the wild creatures that lived there, never once did I ever see another soul.   

Beyond the shore this tiny island in the sea became my special place.


Sea pinks by the sea, my favorite wild flower, just off the tip of Ruddons Point.


My Special Place.