Insh Coracle Club at the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival Portsoy 2019

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13 July 2019

Jeremy and I left Insh very early taking with us two of our new fiberglass coracles, the Teifi and an Ironbridge, in our newly adapted trailer. The trailer is too narrow to carry them flat and the shape of the Teifi required extra padding to protect the side as it cannot rest on the gunwhale.

Traffic is not allowed down to the harbour on Festival days because of the crowds but we blagged our way past several checkpoints to drive down to the harbour, thus avoiding a long walk with our trolleys (converted golf trolleys), to find Dave and two Mikes already set up on the little beach at 10.30.  

The tide was completely out but we could not wait to get our coracles on the water so off we went. We had not realized that proceedings were not scheduled to start until around 2.00ish and I think we got a couple of dirty looks. Nevertheless, ignorance is bliss and, after a paddle on our own to see how they handled in salt water, we began to offering visitors a go.

Then, we persuaded Dave to try out the Teifi. He did not need much persuasion and I think was really taken with the boat which is very stable. There was not much water in the harbour at this time but he took full advantage and seemed somewhat reluctant to come back to shore.

Mike 2 had never been in a coracle but we coerced him on to the water ignoring his cries of fear. He did not take long to get the hang of paddling and in the afternoon spent nearly three hours acting as a safety boat!!

Proceedings proper commenced at about 1.30 on a flow tide and we became very busy. We had up to thirteen coracles at a time with everyone having about thirty minutes on the water. There was the usual mix of those who were very quick to pick up the idea of paddling and others not so good. One young boy was clearly quite frightened once on the water so I offered him one of the safety lines we use at Insh. That gave him confidence but he did not wish to paddle so Jeremy took the line and gave him a tow around the harbour several times. He was a very happy customer.

High tide was around 3.00 and in perfect weather made for a great afternoon. We were so pleased to have been invited to Portsoy again this year and hope they will let us back in 2020.

Raymond Green