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Gallery > Northumberland Harbours > Harbours > Mizpah
The wooden coble boat 'Mizpah' sits beside more modern cousins in the low tide at Alnmouth.

The coble is a type of open traditional fishing boat which developed on the North East coast of England.

The distinctive shape of the boat flat-bottomed and high-bowed arose to cope with the particular conditions prevalent in this area. Flat bottoms allowed launching from and landing upon shallow, sandy beaches; an advantage in this part of the coast where the wide bays and inlets provided little shelter from stormy weather. However, fishermen required high bows to sail in the dangerous North Sea and in particular to launch into the surf and to land on the beaches. The design contains relics of Norse influence, though in the main it shows Dutch origin.

Local boat-builders constructed the clinker-built cobles locally as required, without the use of plans. The craftsmanship on many boats gave them a long working life. They had a reputation as dangerous to sail for an inexperienced crew, but in the hands of experts could move both safely and speedily.

* Stitch of two overlapping 'portrait format' frames
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