Coracle caper for charity’s coffers takes shape at Lympstone

Alistair Cope (left, in beret), building the framework for one of his coracles with members of Flaxland, Velo Vintage and the public at the Swan Inn at Lympstone on New Year's Day. A completed coracle is in the background. Alistair Cope (left, in beret), building the framework for one of his coracles with members of Flaxland, Velo Vintage and the public at the Swan Inn at Lympstone on New Year's Day. A completed coracle is in the background.

Friday, January 17, 2014
6:55 AM

HAVING pioneered Exmouth’s colourful Vintage Velo cycle rides and raised more than £5,000 for charity – paddling and pedalling from Edinburgh to Exmouth – Alistair Cope is preparing for his next fundraising caper.

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This time he won’t be travelling by vintage bike or flax-covered canoe, but by coracle.

He plans to navigate the small oval craft – first used in Roman times – on a ‘short and quirky’ trip on a nearby waterway to raise the profile of a local charity group.

Two of the primitive craft are currently being built at Lympstone, in partnership with flax suppliers Flaxland.

And, as our photo shows, the team have been hard at work on the coracles, even on New Year’s Day at the Swan Inn.

The craft is difficult to control, but Alistair is determined to master it.

“It’s so hard to get speed and direction out of it,” he said.

“The big problem is because it’s got a flat bottom, you get the wind on them and you’re away, but it’s very creative in which direction you want to go!

“The first time I got in one I successfully spun myself round 360 degrees without trying!”

One of the coracles is practically finished while the framework of the other is well under way.

It is hoped both craft will be finished by the end of this month, ready for the charity trip in the spring.

“The difficulty we’ve got with flax is that you need a good sunny day to cure the resin... and we’ve been a bit short of those recently!”

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