Sail away in a traditional Welsh coracle


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A new 2 day course at CAT from the 6th-7th of April will enable participants to build their very own coracle, the course covers everything from weaving the willow structure to applying the outer waterproof layer and exploring the role of the coracle in Welsh society.  Ideal for anyone who wants to learn how to make a coracle and does not require previous knowledge of working with willow.
Since pre Roman times, the Coracle has been used by humans for fishing and transporting humans and goods. Coracles can be found throughout the world, from the India, Vietnam and Tibet, to Norway, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, where they can be seen in use in three west Wales river, The Teifi, The Towy and The Taf.

An important aspect to the Welsh Coracle is that it can be carried on by just one person, hence the Welsh saying . ‘Llwyth dyn ei gorwgl’ — the load of a man is his coracle.

In Wales there are several different types of coracle, tailored to the river condition and its intended use. Oval in shape, the structure is made of a framework of split and interwoven willow rods, tied with willow bark. The outer layer was originally an animal skin such as horse hide, with a thin layer of tar to make it fully water proof – today replaced by tarred calico or canvas or simply fibreglass.

Each coracle is unique in design, The Teifi coracle, for instance, is flat bottomed, as it is designed to negotiate shallow rapids, common on the river in the summer, while the Carmarthen coracle is rounder and deeper, because it is used in tidal waters on the Tywi, where there are no rapids. Teifi coracles use no nails, relying on the interweaving of the lats for structural coherence, whilst the Carmarthen ones use copper nails and no interweaving.

Coracles are effective fishing vehicles as they hardly disturb the water or the fish and can easily be manoeuvred with one arm whilst the other tends the fishing net. The coracle is propelled by means of a broad-bladed paddle used towards the front of the coracle,pulling the boat forward, with the paddler facing in the direction of travel.



For press enquiries and photos please contact kim.bryan@cat.org.uk/ 01654 705 957

For further information on the coracle making course at CAT please contact courses@cat.org.uk 01654 704 952 or look at our webpage