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Shipshape Trainees learn traditional rigging techniques

12 December 2014

Latest news on our HLF funded maritime heritage skills project.

Since March the Scottish Fisheries Museum has been host to a trainee from the HLF-funded Shipshape Heritage Training Partnership - a project that aims to prevent the loss of the traditional skills and techniques involved in conserving, handling and maintaining historic vessels.

Now all five trainees on the programme are in Anstruther for a month to undertake a course on heritage conservation and interpretation.  Throughout their four-week stay, they will have the chance to study a wide variety of topics from a range of staff and volunteers working across all areas of the museum operations.  The course is a mix of practical work, theory and fieldtrips to other institutions involved in the preservation of Scotland's maritime heritage.

This week the trainees took part in a masterclass on traditional rigging from Nigel Gray, a freelance rigger based in Hexham.  Nigel is well-known for his highly skilled work on such vessels as the Cutty Sark where he helped to completely re-rig the ship ahead of her grand opening to the public.  He is one of the few remaining craftsmen in the UK specialising in traditional techniques, such as creating eyes in wire rope using the technique of splicing - weaving of the strands together rather than using a clamp.

Nigel demonstrated the stages of the process using his custom-made bench and tools and the trainees were able to help to fit two Liverpool eyes to the mizzen halliard for the Reaper ahead of her next season of sailing.

Taken from Scottish Fisheries Museum News, http://www.scotfishmuseum.org/news, December 2014

 Images courtesy of: Scottish Fisheries Museum

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