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In the departure lounge.

All the images displayed on this post are courtesy of Geopoet and photographer, Nat Hall.

On the 3rd of September at 4pm, the Curach made its slow progress from our home at Carbeth to the nearby Loch, followed by a 50 strong procession of friends, family, neighbours and Humblyband lovers. With the permission of Carbeth Estate, the assembly gathered at the Loch side.

The night before, frantic last touches had been made to the boat, but she looked smart and ready for business in her shining black skin and trim of Pacific Blue. The name plate on the transom remained covered as the naming ceremony got under way.

After a short welcome and introduction, I gave my heart felt thanks to John Miles. Without John, I could not have undertaken this project, he has guided and supported me through every stage of the build, giving up huge amounts of his own time to teach me all I needed to know, and to have the confidence to make this Curach my own. A proper good friend!

However, I am no wordsmith. So with our glasses charged, I handed the proceedings over to my friend and Geopoet, Nat Hall. Nat had flown down from Shetland that very morning in order to attend the launch, Throughout the build, Nat has sent me a near constant stream of poems written in direct response to the build, and should we ever make the seaward voyage, she will be one of the crew. Nat read two of her poems to us, one of which was a triptych.

After Nat’s inspiring words, it was up to my friend and local bard, Donald Munro Graham to introduce the name of my Curach in the following verse.

Mair basket ark than basking shark

In bricht Pacific Blue

This day the Curach o’ Carbeth

Sall first the watter woo

Sae God bless a’ wha sail in her

An’ grant tae me the wish

That blest sall be the name o’ her

Speed bonny boat. ‘Sunfish’

 

Sunfish, is one of the many names given to the basking shark, the second biggest fish in the sea which was hunted at one time off the West Coast of Ireland in the Curach. I was often reminded of the basking shark as the hull developed in our shed and have always found this a hopeful name.

After reading his naming verse, Donnie christened the hull with some bubbly and we unveiled the name, stenciled in gleaming gold letters on the transom.

Arriving at the waters edge.

A 50 strong crowd of Curach lovers gathers at Carbeth Loch.

The name remained a secret until the last moment.

Lindsay films whilst Braidie (dog) partols the area and Mo steadies the boat.

Does John look worried?

Geopoet, Nat Hall, reads two of the poems that she wrote in direct response to the Curach build.

Local bard, Donald Munro Graham, reads aloud the naming verse he wrote specially for the launch.

'Hold this for me a minute!?'

The name is revealed and I step on board.

Fitting the thole pins...bit of a panic as one won't fit...never fear, John is at hand with his pen knife!

The oars are fitted onto the thole pins.

Splashing about - trying to keep control.

The conditions were perfect. I love the shape of my Curach.

Trying not too dig too deep.

'come in number three, your time is up!'

I pride myself on being a strong rower, but I have never rowed anything like the Curach. It sits upon the water and responds immediately to the slightest movement of water, wind or indeed rower, truly a basket blown onto a Loch. At times the oars serve solely as corrective tools rather than propellants – I now understand why it takes a good Curach racing crew three years to develop the collective skill and intuitive reading of this boat to succeed.

John also took the boat out and even the Coracle had a splash.

A successful launch, enjoyed by all. The rain stayed off, the midges weren’t too bad and my Curach works – I couldn’t have asked for more.

Thank you to everyone who came along and shared in this special moment.

Finishing touches are frantically being made…the date has been set! The official launch and naming ceremony of Humblyband will take place on –

Carbeth Loch

4pm

Saturday 3 September

I was recently contacted by a new stage company, Coracle Arts, whose aim is to ‘create theatre that sheds light on members of society who may be living in the shadows’

They asked permission to use the Coracle Bearer Sketch (below) as their new logo, and of course I agreed wholeheartedly.

Coracle Arts first production of ”Bird of Prey” will be running for 6 nights  in October at the Courtyard Theatre, London.

Coracle Bearer, 2008