Shropshire Star

Shrewsbury coracle fun puts racers in real spin - with pictures

Messing about on the river took on new meaning when a world championships was played out in Shrewsbury.

The racing got serious, even for those who turned up in fancy dress

The 12th annual Coracle World Championships took place on the River Severn at the Pengwern Boat Club on Friday.

It may have seemed a bit of fun but there were deadly rivalries as teams battled it out in a relay race in the traditional round fishing boats that are not the easiest to paddle.

World records were smashed and many competitors received a dunking as they took part in heats to reach the finals.

The event, sponsored by Galliers Homes, raises money for the Macmillan Cancer Charity.

The Coracle World Championships in Shrewsbury

The Galliers 2 team broke an unenviable record when it set the slowest four-member relay time of 21 minutes and 27 seconds.

It was the W.R. Davies team that broke the fastest record time in the heats, just five minutes and 10 seconds.

Watching the fun was Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski, who said: “This is Shrewsbury at its very best – all raising money for Macmillan.”

Two members of the Ludlow furniture maker team Bevans’ Bodgers had a distinct advantage helping the team win the first heat.

Brother and sister, Rebecca Eccles and Josh Turbin, who took part last year, enjoyed the event so much they both both coracles and now paddle them on rivers in Shropshire and across the border. They teamed up this year with Andrew Comstive and Josh Turbin all dressed as Toy Story characters.

The Coracle World Championships in Shrewsbury

“It’s all about balance and paddling like mad,” Rebecca said.

Dressed as nuns were members of the Cameron Central team, from Chasetown, hoping to beat the Robin Hood-themed Cameron East team from Nottingham. Nathan Goodsir from Cameron Central said the team, sponsored by Midland Water Softener was enjoying a day out in Shrewsbury.

However, they got off to a bad start when all the nuns ended up falling out of their coracle.

Representing the Macmillan charity was a team from the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.

A sense of direction is important, but not a prerequiste for taking part

Shona Underwood is a Macmillan physiotherapists while physios Anita Evans and Jemma Pearson and occupational therapist, Laura Lewis, all see cancer patients in their roles.

Anita said: “My husband managed to acquire a real, traditional coracle for us to practice with. We have really been enjoying the training.”