Friday 3 April 2015

Egg-streme Egg Collecting!

We were looking for some Eastery photos for the weekend but the photographic archive was not playing ball.

We did, however, find these fabulous egg-themed images of sea-bird egg collections which were carried out on the islands of Rousay and Copinsay.

Bird cliffs on Copinsay, 1932 - Tom Kent Collection

Men who 'ran the lee' on Copinsay for eggs.

Egg collecting, Rousay.

Egg hunting in the Orkney Islands

Copinsay - Tom Kent Collection
A letter containing an explanation of how dangerous the practise was (as if we couldn't guess from the terrifying photos) can be found in the Halcro-Johnson Collection:

'In Orkney we call each other boys until we become old men.

 Once in Orkney, two old men went to the cliffs at the sea shore to collect sea birds' eggs. One of them remained at the top of the cliff and held a rope attached to a basket, while the other man climbed along the ledges on the cliff and put the eggs into the basket.

When the latter came to a corner of the cliff, he found that he could not proceed farther, as he had the wrong foot foremost and he had not sufficient room to change the position of his foot. He made several attempts but failed. He then stopped, took out his snuff-box and took a big pinch of snuff, after which he gave a jump in the air changing his feet at the same time, and by this means he got round the corner and reached the top of the cliff in safety.

His companion who had been watching him all the time and who had observed the great danger he was in of falling over the edge into the sea when changing his feet, said to him,

"Boy, why did thee tak a snuff before changing thee feet?"

To which the other replied,

"Boy, I thought I was needin' it" '

Images from the Orkney Photographic Archive
Letter: Orkney Archive reference D15/25/8/6

1 comment:

  1. OO! Gives me the shivers just looking at the photos.



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