Skippers wanted for River Tweed boat trips

Volunteer skippers are needed to help run boat trips on the River Tweed from Paxton House this summer.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 25 February, 2016, 08:26

There are currently three volunteer helmsmen – Brian and Lesley Hawksfield, from Ayton, and Kerry Noble, from Belford.

Brian and Lesley are highly experienced offshore sailors who have visited most of the world’s oceans. They work as a team, crewing both boats when required.

Kerry, a retired adventurous training officer, is also a current BCU canoe coach with many years of experience paddling the Tweed.

But to ensure as many people as possible can take advantage, the Paxton Trust is looking for volunteers to join and help this team.

Although the job is purely voluntary, travel expenses are met and the Stables Tea Room makes sure they’re fed and watered.

The boats run from April to October and are especially busy during the school holiday period, June to August.

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Unfortunately the river poses a problem. The tidal nature of the Tweed, as far upriver as Norham, means the number of sailings have to be limited to suitable water levels giving a maximum opportunity of three a day.

The Norwegian-made Pioneer Multis, fitted with 40HP Honda outboards, leave from the mooring adjacent to the Paxton salmon netting station where, at certain times, you can watch the netting crew in action bagging and tagging sea trout and salmon for scientific research.

The journey lasts about an hour, heading west, up river under the famous Union Chain Bridge to Horncliffe and the Black Hole. The volunteers give a running commentary on the area’s history, the Chain Bridge and the salmon fishing industry. Most trips see a wide variety of birdlife, including buzzards, heron and the occasional kingfisher.

Paxton publishes the available times on its website – www.paxtonhouse.com – one month in advance and recommends advance booking to avoid disappointment.

Anyone with some powerboat handling experience can contact the Paxton House events manager, Allison Sutherland (01289) 386906 or email allison@paxtonhouse.com