Haaf netting - fishing the old-fashioned way
The solway firth is one of very few locations where an ancient form of salmon fishing is still practiced. Haaf netting, imported, along with the name, from the nordic countries, involves stringing a net across the river at full or low tide, and clubbing any unsuspecting salmon that get caught in the nets when the tide turns. Tradition dictates that the unfortunate, but tasty victims of this form of fishing, are then strung up by means of a cord, threaded through their gills using a wooden needle, and hung from the waist of the fisherman until it's time to go home.
Dumfriesshire Haaf netters are a solemn bunch, who jealously guard their fishing privileges, and are licensed by the government: only 150 licenses are granted every year. Indeed as recently as January 2003 Haaf netting was being debated by the Scottish Parliament:
The Convener: Section 31(4)(c) deals with haaf nets. I am assured that people on the Solway have been fishing with haaf nets since Adam was a boy or Peter was casting his nets. It is not, therefore, controversial, even though fishing with haaf nets is allowed only on the Solway.
Murdo Fraser: It is quite controversial. In fact, there have been disputes about what haaf-netting is over centuries. Haaf nets are permitted only on the Solway and nowhere else. The fishermen of the Solway jealously guard their right to fish with haaf nets. However, because it is exclusive to the Solway, there has been much litigation over the years as to what haaf-netting is. Therefore, the right to define haaf-netting is a very sensitive issue.
The Convener: Recommendation 9 at paragraph 67 of the Scottish Law Commission report is that this method of fishing should be recognised as lawful, but that the Scottish Ministers should have a power to regulate the construction and use of haaf nets.
- Road Trip
- Arts and Culture
Windswept beach with fossils thrown in!
Carsethorn lies a mere 25 minutes drive from Dumfries along the A710: a beautiful road that takes you through New Abbey with its evocative Sweetheart Abbey and along the foot of the region's highest hill, Criffell. It is one of my favourite beaches.
It is a windswept bay, that has rocks and sand, thus creating the sorts of rock pools at low tide that can keep children amused for hours (well, minutes anyway). As children we would spend hours seeking out dead jellyfish and the screeching when we found them and running away!
Among the rocks and pebbles you will very easily spot fossils, thousands of them. This is the reason you'll find those in the know, strolling, like my father in the photo, head-down rather than taking in the beauty around.
After a brisk walk down the beach (making sure you don't get cut off by the tide), you can repere to Carsethorn village's great watering hole, the Steamboat Inn... a historical inn that will welcome you with a fine collection of whiskies and a wonderful menu.
This village is steeped in the history of Scottish emigration. Many Scots in the 1700's and 1800's left from Carsethorn port seeking fame and fortune in the new world. Nearby you will also find the birthplace of John Paul Jones, father of the US navy.
- Historical Travel
- Road Trip
Older DoonHamers may recognize this picture of Carruther's Aerated Water Works
This was my playground as a kid. My father was manager here during most of the period that it was owned by the SCWS, later Henry's.
The Loreburn Hall , and the old Scaffy Depot are just off to the right. Sadly the building was demolished many years ago to make way for car parking
Take a walk to Kingholm Quay
The footpath running from Dock Park down to Kingholm Quay is good for a sunday stroll, once you get to this silted up quay you can grab a bit to eat at the local pub before walking it off on your way home.
The local council have been renovating the riverbanks and footpaths making them more attractive to wander down, there was also plans for a pedestrian bridge but am not sure if this has gone ahead.
Nestling at the foot of Criffel, the highest hill in southwest Scotland, is the village - only two pubs - of New Abbey. It was here in 1273 that Lady Devorgilla founded Sweetheart Abbey in memory of her husband, John Balliol, founder of Balliol College at Oxford University. The abbey got its name from the fact that Lady Devorgilla carried her dead husband's embalmed heart everywhere with her. Stroll through the melancholy ruins, and then revive your spirits with home-baked scones at the Abbey Cottage tea-shop.
Lockerbie Garden of Remembrance
Twelve miles east of Dumfries lies the quiet town of Lockerbie. Old Cliffie was dining in a restaurant in Dumfries on 21 December 1988 when the pagers of a group of doctors at the next table started beeping furiously in response to a disaster alert. Unfortunately, there was little need for their medical skills at the local hospital as all 259 passengers and crew on board Panam 103 died when it exploded and plunged on to a row of houses at the edge of Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople also died. Family and friends of the victims are frequent visitors to Lockerbie's Garden of Remembrance, where the peaceful beauty of the garden offers some solace as they mourn.
visit a farm
If you can try and visit a local farm. One of my friends owns the largest one in the area (carruchan farm, to be precise) so I was welcome to go see it: I must say that I was impressed... they're miles ahead the stereotype of your usual farmer. So many pieces of machinery... i could hardly believe it... and then again maybe it's the only way to move on from substantial farming. One thing did not differ, however - the love for their land and their livestoxk