Gin Blog | Filey Distillery

Filey's Famous Coble Landing

by David Pendleton on Jul 04, 2022

Filey's Famous Coble Landing

And some of the Inspiration for our Filey Gin Labels

Filey's Coble Landing has been the centre of the town's fishing industry for generations. In the 1880s, the landing was home to an incredible 190 boats, it was from here that the cobles were launched from the open beach onto the North Sea where they would fish for cod, haddock, herring and salmon, as well as lay pots to catch lobsters and crabs. 

Cobles: A Legacy of Viking Ancestry 

These sturdy little cobles are thought to have evolved from Viking longboats, who began raiding the North Yorkshire Coast a thousand years ago. Cobles were initially sail boats, but latterly were driven by diesel engines. 

Margaret: The Last Wooden Filey Coble 

The focal point of our label is the last wooden Filey Coble Margaret. She was built at Gordon Clarkson's yard in Whitby in 1974, for Jimmy 'Bass' Wyville. For decades, Margaret was a familiar sight on the Coble Landing. Featuring in innumerable family snap shots, she became an icon of the town. 

Margaret's Journey to Preservation 

When cobles arrived at the end of their useful lives, they were usually burned on the beach, or at sea, an act that was almost a homage to their Viking roots! In 2002, Margaret was scheduled to be destroyed, however because of heavy seas, Margaret's burning was delayed. This allowed time for a proposal to be put into place to preserve her as a reminder to future generations; of Filey's coble fishing industry. 

She became the property of the Filey Coble Preservation Society with a remit to restore the boat in order to celebrate Filey's fishing heritage and promote tourism. The boat was restored at a cost of £60,000 and remained a feature of the seafront until 2007 when the preservation society folded. 

Margaret's Legacy 

Thankfully, Margaret was saved once again when she was purchased by Gary Owram, landlord of the Foords Hotel on Queen Street. The boat was moved to the rear yard of the pub and she remains there to this day. 

When we were looking for a focal point for our bottle labels, a coble seemed to be the obvious choice. Those boats would have supplied the fish that was smoked in the building that now houses our distillery. 

By adopting her image on the label of our much-loved Filey Signature Gin and Filey Pink Gins, we like to think that we have helped keep alive the importance of the towns fishing heritage.  

We invite you to raise a glass of Filey Gin to the generations of fisherfolk who have left such an indelible mark on our little town. Cheers to Margaret!