Blessing of the river

Rev Rob Kelsey blesses the Tweed at Pedwell landing Norham, to mark the opening of the salmon fishing season.
Rev Rob Kelsey blesses the Tweed at Pedwell landing Norham, to mark the opening of the salmon fishing season.

Monday morning saw the traditional blessing of the river at the start of the salmon fishing season.

Reverend Rob Kelsey, Vicar of Norham, conducted the service at Pedwell Landing, where the Tweed winds its way past Norham.

Rev Rob Kelsey blesses the Tweed at Pedwell landing Norham, to mark the opening of the salmon fishing season.

Rev Rob Kelsey blesses the Tweed at Pedwell landing Norham, to mark the opening of the salmon fishing season.

The landing is one of many sites along the River Tweed where, for about a thousand years, net fishing for salmon was a major part of the local economy, until its demise in the 1980s.

In the past, the Vicar of Norham said prayers of blessing at midnight at the start of the new salmon fishing season on February 1.

Part of the tradition was that, if a fish were caught during the first casting of the nets, then it was given to the vicar.

The tradition was re-started four years ago, at the instigation of local fishermen.

The prayers have been adapted slightly to take account of the fact that net fishing has been replaced by line fishing, and to incorporate a blessing on the River Tweed and the local ecology, as well as human activity.