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November 01 , 2009

The Coracle: One Man in a Tub


You’ve got to see this!” “What now?” I’m trying to focus on my work from which I am usually pretty easily distracted by friends diverting my attention with joke emails.

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“I think it’s one of those stupid stunt kind of videos? In this one a guy’s rafting on something that looks like one of those flying saucer snow sleds we had when we were kids. You gotta watch it. Of course, he gets soaked!”

It wasn’t exactly the most auspicious introduction to coracles, I grant you. But, apparently, it was all I needed.
Because, it’s not just racing down a river in a glorified, snow sled, shield, or basket, but a journey through such wild territories as Welsh Indians, cadavers, poaching, and sheep wrasslin’, just to name a few.

Because, we are talking about a boat that has been used for thousands of years and still enjoyed by many for recreation. Indeed, what makes coracles popular now is what has always made them so: anyone can build them, not just because of their simple construction but because the materials are ready to hand. They can be easily carried, transported anywhere, and are good in awkward conditions such as shallow water. Combined with the possession of a net, a coracle enabled a family at least to feed itself if not make a living.

I had all this to learn, and The Coracle: One Man in a Tub is that quick, comprehensive, whacky journey.

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