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The Final Trawl

[Archie Fisher]

Archie Fisher wrote The Final Trawl “inspired by a pair of rusting decommissioned trawlers off Scrabster Harbour” and recorded it in the 1970s for an album on Tommy Makem and Lian Clancy's Blackbird label that was never released. Several decades later the recording masters were rediscovered, and he included this and some other songs as bonus tracks of his 2008 album Windward Away. He also sang it in 1988 on his album with Garnet Rogers, Off the Map where he noted:

The death of a boat is the first casualty in the decline of a fishing community. This song is dedicated to all of the hardy fisherfolk at sea and ashore.

This video shows him at the Institute of Musical Traditions, Rockville, Maryland, on 6 February 2012:

Archie's sister Cilla Fisher sang The Final Trawl on her and Artie Trezise's 1979 album For Foul Day and Fair and on her 1983 album Songs of the Fishing.

Gibb Todd sang The Final Trawl on his 1999 album Connected.

Back of the Moon sang The Final Trawl on their 2005 album Luminosity. They explained:

The last voyage of a Scottish trawler.

Emily Smith sang The Final Trawl in 2014 on her CD Echoes.

Ella Munro sang lead on The Final Trawl on the TMSA Young Trad Tour 2017 CD.


Archie Fisher sings The Final Trawl

Now it's three long years since we made her pay
    Sing “Haul away”, my laddie O
And the owners say that she'd had her day
    And sing “Haul away”, my laddie O

So heave away for the final trawl
It's an easy pull, for the catch is small

Then's stow your gear, lads, and batten down
And I'll take the wheel, lads, and I'll turn her 'round

And we'll join the Venture and the Morning Star
Riding high and empty towards the bar

For I'd rather beach her on the Skerry Rock
Than to see her torched in the breaker's dock

And when I die you can stow me down
In her rusty hold, where the breakers pound

Then I'd make the haven of Fiddlers Green
Where the grub is good and the bunks are clean

For I've fished a lifetime, boy and man
And the final trawl scarcely makes a cran