The coracle dates back over 2000 years. It is a one-man, oval shaped boat not unlike a half walnut shell. The framework was constructed of willow bark and woven with hazel wood. Once the form was created, it was covered with the hide of a horse and a thin layer of tar to waterproof the vessel. The coracle was keelless, or flat-bottomed. This distributed the load evenly across the vessel and enabled the boat to navigate shallow waters – perfect for the rivers of Scotland, Ireland or Wales!
As it barely disturbed the waters, fishers could creep up on unsuspecting prey. The coraclers would paddle one handed, dragging the net in the other, and draw the net downstream. When a fish was caught, each hauled up an end of the net until the two boats were brought to touch, and the fish was then secured.
Today there are various regattas involving the coracle, with at least one boat sure to capsize at every race- which only adds to the fun of the community outings!
I would like to draw your attention to one event in particular; the Macmillan Coracle World Championships. Macmillan Cancer Support does fantastic work in Shropshire, U.K., near the Welsh border, to help people living with the disease. Over 20,000 pounds was raised in last year’s regatta, and the hope is to surpass this figure in 2018. The event takes place each autumn on the River Severn.
The River Severn is renowned for its Grayling trout; it is very tasty, with firm white meat. However, be sure to enjoy it immediately as it does not keep well!
2 grayling trout fillets
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup fresh mushrooms
¼ cup chopped onions
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in a large skillet. Add trout fillets meat sides down. Sprinkle in chopped onion and sauté for approximately 5 mins. Turn trout fillets over and add mushrooms and wine. Simmer until wine reduces and mushrooms are cooked. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately with a salad of your choice. Serves 2.
Ith do shàth!
P.S: I would like to invite all our readers to send me their favourite recipe – and their favourite memories that go with it – to firstname.lastname@example.org