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Writers gain fishing insight as part of £5k project

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By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale
Writers gain fishing insight as part of £5k project

A WRITING team has met with fishermen, a fishing net knitter and boat-builders in Annan as part of a £4900 cultural heritage project.

Annan Harbour Action Group (AHAG) received the Heritage Lottery Fund Stories, Stones and Bones grant as part of Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology — allowing for a project which is gathering personal stories of life within the town’s fishing community.

Lead writer on the Ebb & Flow project Vivien Jones said: “Writers are makers of sorts, so when they visited Annan Harbour Group’s boat-building workshop on Wednesday, saw the boats, talked with the boat builders and net-makers, they came away with material for new writing for the Ebb & Flow project.”

Explaining that the visit to AHAG’s headquarters at Silverlaw Industrial Estate was just one step in an ambitious project, Vivien added: “By the end of the year there will be a printed book which will contain anecdotes from the region’s fisher folk, everyone from haaf-net, poke net, and stake net fishermen to the seafood processors and shrimp boat and trawler crews, telling the story of their lives at work.

“The writers will join with the schoolchildren of Elmvale Primary School to contribute a creative response to the changing world of fishing life.”

AHAG trained volunteers in the practice and ethics of gathering oral social history.

And in addition to gathering information on fish and fishing they are collecting the accounts in the local dialect using specialist vocabulary while discovering unique topographical terms, some previously unrecorded.

Annan Harbour Development Officer Alan Thomson said: “We are collecting some stories that husbands have never even told their wives and vice versa, so the book we are producing will be a terrific read as well as an account of our local heritage.”

Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) say they are pleased with the 100 projects taking place across the country.

Head of HLF in Scotland Lucy Casot said: “We’re delighted that, thanks to funding from the National Lottery, Ebb & Flow is part of that celebration, opening the door to fun, learning and everlasting memories for many people as we celebrate this special year.”

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