Walking and Sticking

Gordon who is a fisherman and chair of the local history group in Dunbar, told me a story. When he was young, he lived in a house that looked across the harbour. The fishermen used to go up onto the rocks and tar their lobster pots (made of natural materials then and liable to rot) and thick ropes. The hot tar spilled over and the rocks became black as it set. This was fine until hot summer days when unwitting visitors to the harbour would clamber over the black rocks. The tar began to melt and it was great fun for Gordon and the other lads to watch the people as they became stuck, pulling and dragging their feet as they tried to walk away. It reminds me very much of that Slowalk experience when we were rooted to our lines for two hours. Though I’m sure no one on that walk went to the shop afterwards to buy margarine to rub on the soles of their shoes in an attempt to ease movement, as the hapless visitors sometimes did!

The practice of tarring the lobster pots and ropes has long since died out, but the traces of the fishermen’s work remain in solidified ripples and rivulets of tar.

Tar ripples




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