History of Amble

The name Amble comes from the Gaelic, Am Beal, meaning ‘the river mouth’.

Amble Salt Pans

Nicola Rebbeka

Amble harbour was built in the 1830s, allowing a small village to become an important port. Fishing grew in importance; herring were preserved using the salt from the local salt pans then exported further afield.

Local fishermen argue that the finest fishing cobles in the North East were built in Harrison’s yard in Amble. These iconic boats can be easily recognised by their deep forefoot, long rudder and raking stern. Each is unique, crafted by eye to suit the needs of the user.

Amble school logbook

This Amble school log book shows that children were sometimes absent due to herring fishing.

Nicola Rebbeka is one of the largest cobles built in the North East and can be seen in Amble harbour.

Morning Star

When Cobles were used in long line fishing each coble carried seven or eight fishing lines, each about 200 metres long with 500 to 1,000 hooks baited with mussels. Morning Star is one of the last working cobles in Amble.

Baiting the lines was a long task and usually left to the women, old men and children at home.

Baiting the lines

Mussel disputes

Gathering the mussels sometimes led to disputes as the document above shows.

Traditionally, Amble fishermen had to rely on natural signs to indicate where fish could be found. Signs might include an oily looking spot on the sea, whales blowing or a flock of birds diving in a particular location. Fishermen knew the best fishing grounds by the composition of the seabed, which they assessed using a lead line with wax on the end.

Did you know….

Herring are sometimes referred to as ‘Silver Darlings’.  The flashing silver colour of their body helps to conceal them in the surrounding water.