Photographer's Note

Actually this has nothing to do with the French postal system but is another shot of haaf net fishermen on the Solway Firth.The old sack with the La poste France (found washed up on the shore) motif is used to carry the catch of either salmon or trout. Recently the nets have been changed from trout net to salmon nets. The trout have mostly been and gone and the men are hoping for salmon. The mesh size of a salmon net is ever so slightly larger than that of the trout net.One of the advantages of the salmon net is that it reduces the drag from the water on the net, making it a little easier for the fishermen to hold the beam ( the wooden contraption that you see them carrying) agiainst the tide. Even though the mesh difference is only slight larger it can surprisingly make a difference to how the men "hold the water". I liken the net to a ship's sail; if the sail had holes, the larger the holes the less drag there would be by the wind on the sails: the same can apply to the nets and the tide.
When there are a number of men out who want to fish the same channel of water they draw lots to choose the most advantageous position or "haul".The most common method is for the each of the men to build a rough sandcastle (basically a pile of sand, nothing artistic!) and these form a circle. They then move away from the sandcastle of their own construction and another fisherman who is going to be fishing alone rather than in the channel the majority have chosen, will be asked to kick over one of the sandpiles (shouldn't really dignify them them with the word sandcastle). The builder of the kicked over sandpile gets the first haul. After that who gets the second most advantageous, third etc is determined by counting alternately around the circle (counter clockwise I seem to remember being told but I could be mistaken).The man with the luck of getting first haul then chooses were to stand to get the best chance of a fish. Of course the salmon don't know this and may not oblige and swim into the net of the second or third haul etc. There is great hilarity from the other fishermen when the man who got first haul goes home with an empty bag!
More info about Solway fishing here

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Additional Photos by Bev Turner (Glint) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1047 W: 30 N: 1226] (6171)
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