ALL aboard! The guys from Frome Men’s shed made an appearance at the Cheese Show earlier this month – showcasing their handmade, oar powered floatation device – the almighty coracle. It was made for a race which took place in July – after the Welsh Men’s Sheds Association threw down the gauntlet late last year.
About The Coracle Society
The Society aims to be community open to all, whether they wish to research the fascinating history of the craft, or simply get out on the water and have a good time. Many of our members have built their own coracles, which gives them an added pleasure to gentle river trips. No matter how hard you try, a coracle doesn’t go fast - so we relax and go with the flow.
Since the formation of The Coracle Society in 1990, interest in coracles and coracle building has undergone something of a revival, with enthusiasts around the world enjoying the delights of these simple, little craft. In recent times coracles and their allied craft have enjoyed copious media attention, appearing in blockbuster films, factual programmes such as James May's Man Lab, Richard Hammond's Engineering Connections, Escape to the Country and many more. In 2014, a one hour documentary aired on Channel 4 detailing the findings of member Dr Irving Finkel in uncovering and deciphering a Babelonian Clay tablet in which it was discovered that Noah's Ark was in fact a coracle - similar in nature to an Iraqi quffa.
Other activities the Society participates in includes:
- supporting the few remaining Welsh coracle netsmen. These men carry on generations of history, using their vessels to fish in the waters around Wales, just as their fathers, grandfathers and other ancestors did. They face a continued fight with the Environment Agency, who have in recent years reduced the number of coracle fishing licences available as they believe coracle netsmen contribute to the decline in salmon stocks. This is a belief which we - in tandem with those coracle netsmen who know the fish stocks intimately - is wrong. Their catch - West Wales coracle caught salmon and sewin - is currently undergoing applications to become protected food names under European law (Protected Geographic Indication). This is important as it will mean this ancient fishing method is internationally recognised and will help protect the tradition of coracle fishing for generations to come
- protecting our coracle heritage for future generations - in 2013, we raised funds to support projects aimed at saving the workshops of two iconic coraclemakers - the late John Christmas Thomas of Cenarth, and the late Eustace Rogers of Ironbridge. Their respective workshops have differing stories, but one common theme remains between them - after their passing, their workshops fell into a state of disrepair and risked disappearing for good. The projects for each workshop also carries a common theme - secure the workshops, restore them into a state as near to what they were when they were operational and, in combination with informative panels and exhibits, make them accessible to the public so generations to come continue to learn about these important members of our heritage and the work they did. These projects are at their infancy