CORACLE. A small boat used by fishermen on the rivers Severn and Dee, and other rivers of Wales. They are made of wicker work, covered with leather, skins, or canvass, pitched outside, to make them water-proof, and are consequently so light, that a man may take one on his back, and walk five or six miles, without being particularly strong in the spine. They are about a yard and eight inches in length, about a yard broad, and sixteen inches deep. They are not quite flat-bottomed, therefore, as may be supposed from their dimensions, it requires much skill to keep them steady, and direct them in the proper course, which is done with one short paddle. There is one seat not quite in the middle, upon which the fisherman sits, holding his paddle in his left band, and the rod or net in the other. In this position he floats down the river, steering to which ever side he thinks most likely to obtain sport, and impeding or hastening his progress as he may think advisable; and it is as wonderful how slowly he can make it go in a quick stream, as how fast he can work it on, where there is no stream at all, or even work it up against a slight current.
Harewood, Harry. A Dictionary of Sports. London: T. Tegg and son, 1835.
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