Coracle making in the 21st century

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01 January 2017

I spent a brilliant weekend in September making a coracle on a course near Henley run by Alistair Phillips . I live close enough to the Kennet and Avon canal to be able to carry my coracle from home on my back and have had great fun trying it out. I discovered that the plastic paddle works as an ice breaker so managed to carry on bashing my way through even when the canal was partially frozen. I was inspired to write a poem about my experience building a coracle

Anita Shea

We wished to float like Moses in his basket,
silent through still waters and forgotten streams,
to share the rushes with the dragonflies
let sunlight on the ripples fill our dreams.

And so, as people everywhere have always done,
we bent the sodden lathes to form the round,
wove more and fixed them side to side and end to end,
made sure our coracles were strong and firmly bound.

We used a staple gun to fix the plastic coats,
a cordless screw driver to pierce the holes for all the nails,
our paddles too were plastic, not carved out of wood,
we’d organized it all by sending out e-mails.

And yet, without the cambric and the tar
or skins to keep our vessels water tight,
in spite of electricity and modern life,
there was a pure delight that we had made them right.