Thing Sea Trail voyagers at Dingwall
Last Friday the M/V Nybakk, the last remaining wooden hulled ocean-going fishing boat in Norway, was moored in Inverness in the Muirton Basin Lock. It had travelled from the Isle of Man where its passengers and crew had been welcomed to the Tynwald Hill Thingsite. The next important visiting point for the voyagers was the Thingsite at Dingwall. The boat had sailed the length of the Caledonian Canal, but Dingwall today cannot be reached by sea. The voyagers were undertaking the Thing Sea Trail and were due to return to Norway via Orkney and Shetland to arrive at Gulatinget in time to celebrate on 28 June the 200th anniversary of Norway’s separation from Sweden. The Nybakk would be the second vessel in the Ting-Boat fleet of celebration, second only to the king’s royal yacht.
The Norwegian visitors were met on the quayside by a welcoming Dingwall trio of Councillor Margaret Paterson and Sandra and David MacDonald of the History Society to be led to the coach for a guided tour of the approaches to Dingwall across the Black Isle, the Torfnes of Orkneyinga Saga, by way of the bridges across the Beauly and Cromarty Firths. The tour then visited Old Norse-named sites in Dingwall starting with Poldam (the historic site of the Dingwall mill pond), then Gallaber (Gallow Hill), before entering the Thing gathering field (now the site of the Tesco fuel station and upper car park). There the site of the kirk of the Dingwall (St Clement’s parish churchyard) and the mound of the Dingwall on which the Law Council had met (today the Cromartie Car Park) were viewed.
Refreshments were on hand at Dingwall and Highland Mart before a visit to St Clement’s Church where warm speeches preceded an exchange of gifts between Hans Haddal, leader of the Thing Sea Trail and Councillor Paterson on behalf of Dingwall and Seaforth Ward of The Highland Council. Valerie Reid on behalf of the Dingwall History Society exchanged gifts with the skipper of the Nybakk. Symbolically a repeat of exchange these gifts was made on the Thing Mound. The voyagers were returned to the Nybakk by way of the old A9 after a most pleasant day of mutual pleasure in Dingwall’s origins.