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The Coble Project

Who are we?

We’re volunteer amateur boatbuilders, members of PORT (Portsoy Organisation for Restoration and Training) the boatbuilding arm of the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival held each summer here at Portsoy on the Scottish Moray Firth. Only a few of us have any experience of boatbuilding, but a wide variety of different skills has helped pull this project together. Enthusiasm, perseverance and determination to overcome obstacles has been essential.- A real sense of humour and the ability to laugh at ourselves even when things look difficult, has kept us going!

What are we doing?

PORT has already undertaken a number of unique boat building projects (see PORT website).

Inspired by traditional boatbuilders we are attempting to recreate a wooden salmon coble.

This was made possible by generous funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Portsoy’s Thrift Shop and the support of our local community.

Why build a Coble

Portsoy was once a centre of Scotland’s thriving commercial salmon fishing industry and had its own salmon coble. Sadly the salmon fishing industry collapsed in the 1990s and the sturdy cobles, essential for the daily work of every station were left to rot, or were converted for other use.

Most cobles were built by skilled craftsmen using line of eye and with methods passed by word of mouth. Few records of construction were ever made. By building the coble, and documenting the whole process we set out to rectify this. At the end of the project we hope that Portsoy will have a coble again, along with a full archive detailing construction this particularly Scottish vessel.

What else?

We created an exhibition telling the story of salmon fishing at Portsoy and illustrating our project. In addition, we set out to raise awareness our maritime traditions and establish pride in what has been achieved in the past.

We especially wanted to involve our community’s young people in boatbuilding activities, ensuring that essential skills once taken for granted, are not forgotten.

On completion, the Coble will be a working vessel during the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival and linked to our Salmon Bothy Museum, a tourist attraction for anyone interested in cultural and  maritime heritage.

Go to Progress to find out how we’re getting on