Prison warder Adam Trela witnessed an unusual fish, 60cm long, fall from the sky this morning (1st June) into the grounds of the Jail. It is assumed to have been dropped by a sea bird.
Alex Blackman, manager of the neighbouring Sea Life Sanctuary in Oban, identified the fish as a red bandfish (Cepola rubescens). This particular variety of red bandfish is commonly associated with the south west coasts of England and Wales and is thought to extend to the the west coast of Scotland.
It is unusual to find individuals of the species above 15m of water.
The Sanctuary Curator Dennis Chamberlin adds: ‘Red bandfish live at the bottom of the sea bed and burrow into muddy areas. It may have swum into a creel or lobster pot, which is fairly common – and been caught by a gull whilst a fisherman was releasing it back into the sea’.
Gavin Dick, Prison Governor for the interactive 19th century jail, says: ‘We were amazed to find this peculiar looking fish in our prison grounds this morning! It looked like someone had put their pet goldfish through the Jail’s mangle!. Had this happened in the 19th century, I’m sure the prisoners would have fought over who was going to have this for their tea!’
Inveraray Jail was once the courthouse and prison serving Argyll. Real life warders, matrons and prisoners bring the 19th century prison alive.
Visitors – or visiting masochists - can try out prison beds and hammocks in the old and new prisons, sit in on a trial in the spectacular courtroom, sample the brutal 19th century prison punishments and search through prison records for their naughty ancestors.