Diary of a Cornish Fisherman: Newquay, 1962-1967
A new memoir recalls life in a Cornish Fishing Village in the 1960's

Back in the early 1960s, Trevor Simpson realised his dream, when he got himself aboard as a crewman on a small lobster boat, working out of the Cornish town of Newquay. For Trevor, the sea was always in his blood, having spent nine years in the Royal Navy, which he joined at the age of 16. He had already sailed many high seas and visited distant shores before his demobilisation in 1956.
Diary of a Cornish Fisherman: Newquay, 1962-1967 by Trevor Simpson. Published by The Manuscript Publisher, 2014

As he set about in earnest to learn to craft of sea-fishing - making pots, mending nets, rising early and working late - he also began keeping a diary:

"... to record the weather and the numbers of crawfish and lobsters we caught. Basically that, together with the areas we fished, was supposed to be all of it. It just kind of grew then so that before very long, I was adding scraps of information about what was happening to other fishermen besides us. As the year advanced, more and more details were added. Snatches of conversations were included and sometimes stories recounted to us by other people, were faithfully written up."

The diary records his impressions of life in a small fishing community, adventures on sea and on land, battling with hostile elements, both natural and man-made. It also charts his own progression, from crewman to skipper of his own boat, the growing challenges of raising a young family and his decision to move to Ireland.

Overfishing, the result of diving for shellfish, pollution caused by oil spillages, an unsympathetic officialdom all combined to make life difficult for people who depended on the sea for their livelihood. A meeting in Dublin with representatives of Bord Iascaigh Mhara (the Irish Sea Fisheries Board), resulted in an invitation to move operations to the south coast of Ireland.

The final chapter records the voyage of the Reaper, a 34" 6' St. Ives gig, on a nerve-tingling journey across the Irish Sea. The two-man crew eventually made landfall at 7pm on 22 August 1967, arriving at Dunmore East harbour. The diary ends there but the reader is left with the feeling that the story does not. There is an air of intrigue as to what might have followed and the author himself has hinted at the possibility of a sequel.

The diary itself lay in an attic for about 40 years, before it was dusted off, edited and now presented to the reading public.

"Just reading through it has triggered so many memories. Suddenly, I am 'down harbour' again and standing on the yellow sand. The sun is baking the seaweed on the harbour wall and it smells good. The boats are all made of wood and smartly painted. As the tide floods into the harbour, the boats come afloat. The crews slip their moorings and the boats head out to sea, their mizzen sails are barked canvas, red-brown in colour. Ropes are made of manila or sisal. The skippers and the crewmen are young and strong. The diary shines a light on those times and on our working lives."

Generously illustrated with photographs, drawings and diagrams, complete with a glossary of nautical and fishing terms, it doesn’t just introduce us to the life of the seafarer, it invites the reader in.

Diary of a Cornish Fisherman: Newquay, 1962-1967 is published by The Manuscript Publisher (ISBN: 978-0-9576729-2-5). It is available to buy online, in print and e-book editions, as well as in all good bookshops. RRP €14.99 (print edition).

The e-book edition is currently available at a special introductory price of US$2.99 (actual price may vary, depending on country and currency) for a limited time only, from Kindle, Smashwords and all major online retailers.