Mawddach Paddlesports Event

04 July 2011

Possibly for the first time ever the coracle was introduced onto the river Mawddach over the weekend of May 21st - 22nd 2011

A few months previously, the Coracle Society had been invited to the inaugural Paddlesports weekend organised by the Mawddach Rotary Club. It was decided that the weekend on the Mawddach would be a joint venture with St Fagans: National History Museum. At the festival the Dwyryd coracle from the museum’s reserve collection would be displayed. It was fitting the Dwyryd was chosen as it is only some 20 miles or so from the Mawddach. Information panels and various photographs were supplied by St Fagans. From his own collection Karl Chattington brought his Tywi and Teifi coracles.

It was hoped on the Saturday morning a coracle would have been launched in Barmouth but due to adverse weather conditions this was postponed and the sheltered area in front of the George at Penmaenpool by Dolgellau was used instead. This provided a picturesque setting for a coracle demonstration. Competitors and spectators alike were drawn to the display tables which covered the coracle’s history and method of construction and of course to the main attraction of Karl showing his coracling skills on the estuary.

Sunday proved a complete washout with everything, apart from the coracle display, being cancelled due to high winds and rain. However the display was set up and a constant stream of spectators enthused over the coracle. Karl braved the elements as not to disappoint the gathering crowds. A local Hotelier also appeared on the scene with his own cowhide coracle, which was constructed at Leintwardine. A few hardy souls even went on the estuary with Karl.

A thoroughly enjoyable weekend was had by all and for a few hours the coracle was the main focus of attraction in this part of Wales gaining much publicity in the Dolgellau area with people coming from afar to see this unique craft, many seeing it for the first time. The Mawddach Rotary Club raised £3,500.00 for charity – a considerable sum considering the weather.

Article and photos by Dylan Jones