Boat trips have resumed on the River Tweed after a 10 year absence following installation of a pontoon at Berwick’s Little Dock
The inaugural trip, a leisurely four mile cruise to Paxton House with the civic party and other dignitaries on board, took place in glorious sunshine on Monday.
It is hoped to have a limited programme of trips organised in time for the school summer holidays, though it will be next year before the project is fully rolled out.
The project has been one of the key aims of the Mouth of the Tweed initiative, a network of local organisations which have an interest in developing and promoting the food heritage of the area within a 15 mile radius of Berwick. Eyemouth-based RIB owner Tim Grimshaw is also on board offering trips to St Abbs, Holy Island and possibly Seahouses in the future.
Derek Sharman from Mouth of the Tweed said: “Boat trips from the quayside will bring activity and interest to the riverside and encourage visitors to circulate through the town to this historic part of Berwick.”
The pontoon was constructed in 2002 to serve a pilot programme of boat trips at the river mouth and upstream to the Union Chain Bridge, run by the Tweed Tidal Trust. The trips ran for two seasons but stopped due to insurance issues.
Those have now been overcome and the pontoon was lowered back into place on Thursday thanks to help from Bill Parkin of SWP Engineering and boat owner David Thompson.
The project has been achieved thanks to financial support from the Berwick town team which has £100,000 Portas money at its disposal, and assistance from Berwick Harbour Commission and Berwick Town Council.
Ed Swales, chairman of the town team, said: “The River Tweed is one of Berwick’s greatest assets so it’s great that we’re finally making use of it.”
Ian Marrian, chairman of the Paxton House Trust, said: “This is something we have discussed for years. There are obvious benefits for Paxton House in terms of increased visitor numbers if we can bring people up the river from Berwick.”
David Seed, Paxton House property manager for Seed & Co, added: “We have many grand houses in the Borders but very few are so close to the River Tweed.
“Paxton House was actually built because of the Tweed so it’s fantastic to see those links re-established.”