Rivers: irritating at times, but often interesting and always beautifully photographed
I’ve always said coracles are cheeky little chappies that are just a little too fly to be trusted… Anyway I was greatly amused last night to see Griff Rhys Jones fall out of one into the River Wye on the latest episode of his beautifully-shot BBC series Rivers.
For a few moments I thought GRJ had the thing licked, but I can’t say I’m surprised he ended up in the water – the one time I tried to paddle one I found it nearly impossible.
This was the best episode of the three so far, and by far the best part was the section on two forms of salmon fishing that seem to be about to disappear, netting with lathe nets (like giant butterfly nets, but used in the water) and trapping with wicker baskets called putchers.
Both techniques are practiced only by older gentlemen, but a large part of the problem seems to be that the natural upstream spawning habitats used by salmon have been disrupted, as have the peat bogs that used to help moderate the river’s flow. GRJ’s key message in this series seems to be that councils and others are allowing commercial interests to wreck the longstanding natural functions of rivers while 96 per cent of the river network is closed, even to canoeists. I’d say the wrong activity (and the wrong people) are being banned.
If you’re in the UK, catch it on the iPlayer before it gets replaced by next Sunday’s episode.