Kipperman has a new home online


Kipperman and maritime historian Mike Smylie are one person – and he has got himself a new home on the Internet – Kipperland!

Reading the website, there’s no question about this man’s achievements. His historical works , which number at least 18 that I can see, are available from Amazon and good book shops. To see the titles, go to the website and click on the books tab.

Mike also writes widely for magazines such as including Classic Boat, Watercraft, Maritime Heritage, The Marine Quarterly, Maritime Life and Traditions, Fishing News and the European Maritime Heritage Newsletter.

In 1995 he was also a co-founder of the 40+ Fishing Boat Association, which was founded in 1995 at a time when decommissioned fishing vessels were being scrapped in large numbers, and edits the organisation’s magazine Fishing Boats.

As Kipperman he works at events around the country and beyond promoting the eating of herring for its health benefits. For this work he won the BBC Radio 4 Food Campaigner/Educator Award in November 2004. Also as Kipperman he makes many radio and television appearances.

Mike Smylie’s book The Boats of The Somerset Levels is out now

This is one of the best pieces of news I’ve received today. Kipperman Mike Smylie’s book The Boats of the Somerset Levels is now out and available from Amazon (click on the title).

I’ve long had an interest in the dory-like Watchet flatners and have followed the progress of the museum there, so I will read this with great interest! Thanks for letting me know Mike, and good luck with sales.

Here’s the cover blurb:

‘Flat-bottom craft have always been fascinating, largely because they appear so simple in their construction at first glance, made by the farmers and fishermen who used them. Beneath this facade, however, they are examples of boatbuilding at its most complex. In Britain, the best examples can be found in the boats of the Somerset Levels and Moors, rivers and coastal waters. The Somerset Levels and Moors is an area shrouded in both mystery and mythology: a world of water with traditions reaching back into prehistory and a place of legends, such as its associations with Avalon. In this area criss-crossed with shallow rivers and man-made waterways, flat-bottomed boats were until relatively recently the ideal way of getting around and Mike Smylie, with the help of John Nash of the Watchet Boat Museum, takes us through six of them, as well as providing a tribute to the people who built and used them, and those who preserve them now they have fallen out of every-day use.’

How Viking, French and Dutch cultural influences shaped fishing vessels of the British Isles

Mike Smylie influences on fishing boats map

I spotted this fascinating map drawn by Kipperman Mike Smylie on his stall at the Nordhorn Fest der Kanäle this weekend and wanted to share it – it’s here with Mike’s permission. It shows how Viking, French and Dutch influences turn up in traditional fishing vessels.

The slightly fuzzy snap was taken with my phone but it’s worth a good long look – some of it will be fairly obvious, but there are some surprises, such as the French influence on the north-west coast of Ireland that I have somehow missed in the past. I should spend a little time reading up on Irish traditional craft…

See our post on Mike’s latest publication on herrings, the herring trade and of course how to eat them…