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Introduction / The Island / Transport / Livestock Shipping

Getting Horse and Oxen Between the Steamer and Pharay

On the way out, the skipper used to sound the ship’s whistle off the West Side of Eday to give the men warning to get down to the shore. A horse or ox would be manoeuvred into a horsebox and then lowered into the sea until it swam out. A rope would have been tied to the animal’s halter and it would then swim behind the boat. The boat might have four men with oars and another man holding the halter in the stern. Motor boats were not used for this.

Getting horse or large ox into a horsebox on Pharay would have been difficult, as they would not be used to these. A rope sling had to be got on the animal while on dry land and then, somewhat bound up, it had to be coerced into the sea. A boat was again used but in the 1930s a motorboat was used with the animal behind. Due to its bound state, it could float but not swim easily. Earlier, when a boat with oar was used, the horse’s head would be kept up at the stern of the boat. Once a hook had been attached to the sling, it could then be hoisted aboard.


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