A salmon coble at Abbotsford

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Probable mezzotint postcard showing Abbotsford on the Tweed

Jeff Cole has sent us this image of an old postcard of Abbotsford on the River Tweed. Here’s what he says about it:

‘This rather rough looking dinghy on the Tweed is probably the photographers’ transport. Originally from the patchy quality I suspect a photomezotype.

‘Note the broad stern and gunwale level thwart, single thole pins and basic oars made from a virtually flat blade attatched to a round pole. Seems to be a pad and cord to attach to thole pin, muffled oars?. Interesting lines forward and a quite heavy piece of chain. Maybe it’s a hire boat?’

Thanks Jeff. The boat is a salmon coble from rivers and estuaries of the far North East of England and the East Coast of Scotland. They’re curious looking boats with wide, flat-cut sterns, I guess to support salmon fishermen working over their sterns, and I think their odd shape may be the reason there hasn’t been a huge amount of interest interest in them. See the picture on this page: http://www.salmonboats.co.uk. It’s interesting to take a look at what the Wikipedia says about these boats compared with what it has to say about cobles in general – to my mind it rather reflects attitudes to these boats generally.

The house is author Sir Walter Scott’s impressive pile near Melrose.

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