The image above shows four boats entering the harbour at Aberdeen. Second from the left is the Osprey of Largo, registration KY 977. Two other boats with a KY (Kirkcaldy) registration are on either side of the Osprey. This image features in the book 'Scotland's East Coast Fishing Industry' by Mark I'Anson. Constructed in 1872, at John Watt's boatyard in Dysart, the Osprey belonged to twin brothers William and Robert Gillies, who were still in their 20s at the time. The two newspaper reports below from 25 May that year (Fife Free Press and Fifeshire Advertiser) tell of her launch. The Osprey was a carvel built decked fishing boat of around 45 feet long. Many spectators were present to witness her head-first launch from Sailor's Walk.
Below are some images of Dysart Harbour and the Sailor's Walk. Sailor's Walk (also known as High Brae Head) was an elevated walkway above the harbour. Steps were built up to it in 1907. The spot certainly offered a great vantage point for boat launches and other harbour activity.
The Gillies brothers later also owned the Ocean Bride, which was built for them in 1882, a decade after the Osprey. Both boats are mentioned in the brief newspaper clip below from the 11 July 1889 Fifeshire Journal. On this occasion, the two vessels had to return home after losing many nets to dog fish (an abundant species of shark found in Scottish waters).
In the clip below from the 13 July 1893 Fifeshire Journal, the Osprey, along with many other local boats were up at Peterhead for the summer fishing. It seems likely that William and Robert would have skippered one each of their boats the Osprey and the Ocean Bride. Other vessels making the same trip included the Annie Johnston, the Forget-Me-Not and Fortunatus.
The 30 August 1895 East of Fife Record above tells of a "highly satisfactory" trip to Aberdeen, when Skipper William Gillies fared "the best of the local men". It notes that two of his boats were on the trip - one that he was skippering and another which was "out on deal". These would like have been the Osprey and the Ocean Bride. Another Largo fisherman, Thomas Lawrie, owner of the Sultan, also gets a mention in the article. An update in the next week's paper reports on most of the Largo vessels returning home. This piece clarifies that it was the Osprey (the older vessel) which had been "lent out on a deal to a St Monans crew" and explains how individuals with multiple boats might ensure all their vessels are kept busy when they can't secure local crews. In turn a couple of Largo men helped crew a St Monans boat as 'halfdealsmen' (providing the extra hands but no equipment or share in the boat).
In the summer of 1897, Robert Gillies lost his life when he was knocked overboard from the Ocean Bride and drowned. Mentions of the Osprey (pictured in more detail below) in the press after that seem to disappear. A few years later most other Largo deep-sea fishing boats had also gone. Only the Ocean Bride remained after 1901 - it continued on until 1909.