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Nithraid: Cargo and International Links

Did you know? Each boat that takes part in the Nithraid is given a small cargo to bring upriver, and the race is only completed with the safe delivery of these cargoes to the finishing point on the central pontoon! The cargo’s have been inspired by Dumfries’ historical role as a trading point and port receiving goods from around the world at one point for distribution around the region. The trading route was dependant on the river’s tides to allow boats upriver to points at Carsethorn, the Kingholm Quay and Dock Park.

Image Credit: Andy Jardine

The Nithraid Cargoes are:

Tropical goods from the Carribean: Rum, sugar, cocoa/chocolate, coffee
Southern USA: Cotton, Tobacco.
Northern USA & Canada: Timber, Fur.
Baltic: Timber
France: Wine, Brandy.
Mediterranean: Oranges, Lemons, Limes, Sherry, olives, Fish
England: Manufactured Goods, Slate, Coal
Wales: Slate
Indian ocean: Cinamon, (Sri Lanka), Peppar (India), other spices,
China: Tea, silk.
Scotland: Salt.
These goods would have come by a number of routes. Anything from the colonies before the end of the 18th century was subject to the Navigation acts and had to pass through a British port (English before the act of union) which meant that for instance spices etc. would have come via Liverpool or London, and coastal shipping from there on. But Tobacco and other goods of the triangular trade may have come direct because Whitehaven was a regional centre where they had quays called, the Sugar Tongue Quay, The Fish Quay and the Lime Tongue Quay.
And then there was the Free Trade, smuggling, which was a major factor of this region for a while at the end of the 18th Century. Dumfries as a port would not officially have been involved but with a shortage of customs men and huge profits to be shared, unofficially it’s reasonable to assume that many thousands of tons of tobacco, for instance, arrived at Carsethorn and disappeared.