A New Coastal Rowing Club for Urban Glasgow?

Please spread this word, and see if we can start a new community rowing club in Glasgow.  For over a decade now GalGael have been a well-known landmark on the Govan landscape. During those years they have built a growing reputation for making a real difference to many who struggle with the challenges of today’s modern culture. One of the ways in which they have achieved this is through involving the community in traditional boat building and restoration. In this way, people find skills, purpose and inspiration.  One of their projects has been to build two St Ayles skiffs, Gobhancroit, and Lady Danger (the latter being the only skiff that we are aware of which has been named after a lipstick used by one of the builders).


Although rowers from the project have attended a handful of events, those organising activities at Galgael have recognised that as it has not been a core activity amongst their own projects, the skiffs have not been used as much as they could be.  There is therefore a desire to start a new Coastal Rowing Club in the centre of Glasgow, whose members will take on the responsibility of making sure that the boats get plenty of use, represent Glasgow at some of the enjoyable events on the SCRA calendar, and help to maintain the boats, and who knows….  perhaps inspire the building of more boats.

Galgael can continue to help by providing the two skiffs, and helping with storage, trailers, use of the pontoon at Riverside and other things, if some urban coastal rowers will come forward to get things moving on the water and administer a club.  If you are interested in becoming involved please, please get in touch with Ben Duffin, the lead boat builder at Galgael:   ben@galgael.org .  Also of course if you can think of anyone living in Glasgow who would benefit from enjoying the Govan Coast, please pass this message on to them.  This might of course include students from coastal communities who are missing the joys of community boat use while they are hard at their studies in the city, but could be anybody.  You do not need to be a highly tuned athlete to enjoy the benefits of rowing St Ayles skiffs.  Thankfully.

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Shawbost launch Yackydoola: A Rowporty Report

Rowporty’s Adventure to the Outer Hebrides
By Andres Leslie
Twenty members of Rowporty and their families made the annual pilgrimage to Lewis to attend the launch of An Eathar’s new skiff, Yackydoola, on Wednesday 15th July 2015 with our good friends at Siabost, a coastal community on the west coast of Lewis.  This year’s programme extended over 4 days, which included the launch of Yackydoola, 2 ceilidhs, a Hangi, and over 30 miles of coastal rowing.  See the report on BBC alba of the launch of Yackydoola:
There is a video of the launch posted on An Eather’s facebook page, which can be viewed on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=028H_z5jxRM
After the launch, which took place in the fresh water Loch a’ Bhaile, in Siabost, we were all treated to a lovely lunch at the old school, soup, sandwiches and cakes made by the generous Siabost ladies.

After the launch of Yackydoola, three skiffs (Jenny Skylark from Portobello, Yackydoola and the Stornoway skiff Madadh Ruadh) were launched in Stornoway harbour to take part in the Stornoway Parade of Oar and Sail as part of the Sail Stornoway (https://www.hebceltfest.com/).  We had 3 crews row JS around the harbour and out to the Rubha Airinis light house in glorious sunshine and a light breeze.  The fish were not to be found.

After a day of rowing we refuelled with a fish supper in Stornoway before heading to the ceilidh at the Sea Angling Club in Stornoway, which saw some energetic dancing by those attending and some local tuneless singing about rambling and gambling, which we all thoroughly enjoyed, probably for the wrong reasons.

On Thursday 16th July, the 3 skiffs were launched at Crossbost on the East coast of Lewis, south of Stornoway, with the aim of rowing to Keose, around 5 miles.  We had wall to wall sunshine and rowed in company, with a fishing boat for safety cover, plus 2 yachts and the dipping lug.  The row involved navigating past salmon farms in calm sheltered waters.  We spotted sea eagles in flight and made it to our picnic lunch on a beach with piles of discarded scallop shells.
Rowporty ‘borrowed’ the Stornoway skiff for the day, which enabled virtually everyone to get a long row.  Others had the opportunity to crew the dipping lug back to Stornoway, where they were fortunate enough to see an orca!
Thursday video https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=26&v=ZR8quw0yIE4&hd=1

The Falmadair trust maintains the sail vessels:

The plans for Friday 17th July changed due to the increasing wind speed and direction, so Murdo and his team at An Eathar arranged for us to launch Yackydoola and JS in Uig, at a little place called Uigean, near Miavaig to row out to Loch Roag.

Seatrek were kind enough to offer one of their large ribs to accompany us and offer safety cover.  The row involved rowing past several islands (Flodiah, Gousam, Fuaigh Beag) and returned via Grasabhaig.  The wind had picked up but thankfully the return journey involved being pushed along by the wind while we fished.  Only 2 small fish found on that day.

Rowporty had 2 crews for this long row, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.  Those on land had the privilege of an Ian Mackay special tour around the Tweed Mill, which involves taking over the place for an hour!  The tour was cut short as Ian was called away on an emergency, he is the local fireman as well as a master weaver, crofter and the nicest man you are likely to meet anywhere.  In the afternoon, some of those still on land, where able to enjoy a tour of the local Norse Mill and Black House with Angus Macleod, who has been so good to us over the past years.

In the evening we all met at the Old School in Siabost for a traditional Ceilidh.  The Ness Melodeon Band 7 accordions, which had everyone up dancing, a mixture of Rowporty and Siabost locals, a fine blend.  There were a number of people taking turns for a song including Martine from Port Seaton, Ruby and Phoebe from Rowporty, Beth, Jennifer Spiers and several local Gaelic singers, including Ian Macaulay, Annie Maclennan, Wasp and Calum Angus Macdonald.


On Saturday 18th July, another early start!  This time we launched the 2 skiffs on the local fresh water loch at Siabost for tester sessions for local families.  The weather was a bit dreich in the morning, but this did not put off the locals as there was a steady stream of people wanting to have a shot at one of the rowing boats.   At one point we had 9 adults and children in JS!

At 1pm we were back at the Old School in Siabost for another lunch of soup, sandwiches, tea & coffee and a selection of home baking.  Further taster sessions took place in the afternoon, until around 4pm, where the Yackydoola and JS eyed each other at the start line of a 1.5klm race around 3 buoys.

The race started well with Yackydoola getting a few yards ahead before JS overtook her on the way to the first buoy. The race was on as Yackydoola’s cox tried to overtake JS on the way to the second buoy by heading directly to buoy 3.  It was a tight race around buoy 2 and 3. In the final straight, in sight of victory and in front of a large crowd (4 people, 6 sheep, 2 highland cows, 3 ducks and one goose) the boats where gliding along side by side, so close in fact that one of Yackydoola’s fine new oars with oak inserts, knocked Cathy clean off her seat, causing some hilarity and excitement, the boats crossed the imaginary waterly line to the sound of Ian Mackay’s pick up truck’s horn and cheers from the gathered crowds!

Then there was enough time to load the boats onto their respective trailers and head for the feast that was the Hangi. They been holding a Maori Hangi https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hāngi in Siabost for the past 15 years and we were lucky enough to be invited this year. As you would imagine, it was a feast which we devoured with gusto.  Then came puddings, every kind of crumble and cake you can imagine, to die for.

The prize fiving took place after the Hangi.


Finally, a big thank you to An Eathar CRC for their warm hospitality and for all those in Siabost, who have been so generous with us again this year.  We look forward to returning the kind hospitality when you come to see us in Portobello in the not too distant future.

From Rowporty’s view point, it was great seeing the birth of another skiffing club with all the vibrancy, enthusiasm and friendship that comes from building a beautiful skiff and getting it on the water.  A great addition to the Siabost community and we hope it helps to strengthen community bonds and enables new links to be forged with other coastal communities.

Many thanks

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Portobello Regatta 2015

porty winners

A good day was had at the Rowporty ‘Invite your neighbours’ mini-regatta yesterday.  64 rowers from Rowporty, South Queensferry, Newhaven, Eskmuthe, Boatie Blest and Dunbar were thrown together in random teams and random boats for a knockout competition.

The sun shone until the medal ceremony, and there were some close finishes, with the overall winners (above) being a fantastic mix of Brian (Eskmuthe), Ailsa (Rowporty), Kenny (Newhaven), Andy (South Queensferry), ably coxed by Sally in Jenny Skylark. This final was the closest finish of the day – a team in Eskmuthe’s ‘Steedie’ coming 0.32 behind.

porty racing

porty townscape

Photos from Andres Leslie.

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UKCC Level 2 Fixed Seat Coaching Course at Gateshead in October

Gateshead Community Rowing Club are hosting a British Rowing led Fixed Seat Coaching Course in October.  The UKCC course aims to give coaches the skills and confidence to coach a series of linked rowing sessions. Learners will develop an understanding of delivering rowing technique in a safe and effective manner, and will learn how to plan, structure, deliver and review rowing coaching sessions. The course will take place over two weekends 17/18 and 24/25 October 2015.  The course will cost £425, and has the following prerequisites for participation:

  • British Rowing Silver Individual Membership  (£28.50)
  • Completion of Emergency Aid course.  A suitable course will be available near to you, for example City of Edinburgh Council are running courses in September and October (Cost £60).  Gateshead are organising a course too.   Probably a worthwhile thing for some of your members to have even if they do not go on to do the coaching course.
  • Safeguarding and Protecting Children Course. It is wise to take a course in the legal jurisidiction in which you are going to be coaching, that is if you row in Scotland do a course in Scotland, if in England, do it in England.   Check with your Local Authority, who will probably organise courses, for example City of Edinburgh are running courses in August and October for £25.
  • British Rowing Man Overboard and Recovery Workshop.  Gateshead are organising a course on 10 October (cost £52)

Your Local Authority, or other local bodies may be able to assist with the costs or attending the course.  Clubs may also wish to assist with costs to individuals.  This is the same certificated course as was run at Royal West in 2013 and 2012 (see photo below).

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A Bit of Rowing History for You

From the guidebook to Loch Katrine, published by the Steamship Sir Walter Scott Trust Limited.  Are we on the side of the innocent and framed oarsmen?

“A buoy marks the shallows where Jonathan’s Isle once stood above the loch, although long since submerged.  Early travellers on Loch Katrine, aboard the loch’s original pleasure cruiser, Water Witch, used to disembark on the island to sample the resident goat-herd’s milk, though in truth that was just a tale put about to fool the local excisemen, for the “milk” in question was actually illegally distilled whisky.

“Water Witch was an elegant eight oared wooden galley introduced onto the loch to cater for visitors inspired by The Lady of the Lake. It had the tourist business to itself until a paddle steamer named Gypsy was introduced in 1843.  Gypsy lasted little more than a week before being sunk in mysterious circumstances, the finger of suspicion falling on the redundant oarsmen of Water Witch who allegedly climbed aboard by the cover of night and scuttled the new vessel. The wreck was never salvaged and still lies on the bottom of the loch.”

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What is Going on in St Andrews?

golf telly

The BBC have interrupted the St Ayles skiff coverage to follow some golf competition that is on at the moment in St Andrews.  Not before a St Andrews Coastal Rowing Club crew showed off their fine timing and classic good looks though on BBC1 1330 on Sunday 19 July 2015, as seen in the photo above.  Possibly best without the commentary anyway.   On day one of the Open is was starting to look like you might need a skiff to get round the course.

Thanks Steve for the photo, and well done to St Andrews for your celeb status.


Kiwi Raid 2016 – Update



Kiwi Raid 2016 plans are coming along nicely.  Check out New Zealand Coastal Rowing Association’s planned schedule and run sheet, and stay up to date with this fun and ambitious expedition event down under.

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Latimer Ledja Skiff 100 Official Launch

whitburn ledga peaceWhitburn, Tyne and Wear recently held a launch ceremony and party for their first skiff, which also happens to be the 100th skiff launched in the UK.  Here we have a report from our pasty sampling North East correspondent, Bryan from Amble:

It’s only half way through 2015 and Whitburn Coastal Rowing already look hot favourites for the “hosts of the year award” as they welcomed us to the official launch of their beautiful skiff. Some glorious sunshine and bacon sandwiches met us at Whitburn beach (a lovely spot) . It wasn’t long before the crowds gathered (a bunch of skiffs on the beach will always draw attention) and following some wonderfully chosen words to bless the skiff, Latimer Ledja met the water to a rousing cheer. The proposed half-hour tryout sessions extended to hours as interest from the public was so great (hurrah!!) with folks from young to old, newbies to experienced rowers alike queuing to have a blast around the bay (wonderfully coordinated via the Skiff clipboard) It’s really great to see a local community taking such an interest and sharing the fun we have .. Attention was then drawn to the tent where the extent of Whitburn hospitality was becoming apparent .Here cakes of every type, sandwiches, frittata and pasties aplenty were offered to the surprised yet thankful masses (and when we say pasties were talking a different level completely with smoked haddock, leek and potato parcels lovingly crafted in the early hours to a secret family recipe) Tea, coffee, beer, wine and more cake and pasties seemed to appear endlessly from the “tent of joy” as skiffies from local clubs met new friends and caught up with old ones , swapping stories and making the inevitable oar comparisons. At this point we were seriously considering buying a tent and all calling in sick tomorrow. Suitably refreshed we crewed up and headed for a longer row along the bay, having a blast in spray from the surf . Activity back at the beach varied from brave souls (or lunatics as we choose to call them) swimming out almost to the bar and back whilst others took the opportunity to power nap the pasties off….) once back they continued the gold star service by valet parking the skiffs off the beach via quad bike ( Rob, do club funds run to one of these…please!!) After a quick wash down (the boats that is) we were invited to the garden for another quick round of tea and cake. Here plans were hatched for the next round of adventures with rowing to Yorkshire, night rowing and the Northumberland cost all on the table. At some point even maps and charts of Scottish waters were brought out for perusal. It was at this point that that my plans to find the secret pasty recipe were thwarted as the security terrier spotted the sample I’d earmarked for analysis and set about removing it from my camera bag. A grand day out indeed…. Huge thanks to Whitburn for having us and congratulations on a really lovely boat and a really successful launch .. we foresee much fun in the future !!!

whitburn ledga landing

whitburn amble

whitburn landing whitburn trailers whitburn exercise class

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Jordan Boats on the move.

For various reasons, we are leaving Fife for the warmer climes of Somerset in August.

We will not be able to cut kits from early August until the very end of August, and then again for a two week period in September while attending the Southampton Boat Show.

If you are in urgent need of a St Ayles (or any other) kit being cut, please get in touch sooner rather than later so that plywood can be ordered if necessary and there is time to cut before we move.

Alec Jordan
Jordan Boats & CNC Ltd
07983 225517

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Ullapool Regatta Another Roaring Success

ullapool wild swan

Once again Ullapool served up a fantastic regatta for crews from all over to enjoy.  All corners of Scotland sent crews, with the South East represented by Dunbar, RowPorty, Boatie Blest, North Berwick, and the MidQueensferry superclub, made up of members from both North and South ends of the Bridges.  Troon were there from the south west, making up in life experience whatever it was they lacked in numbers.  Isle of Islay and Isle of Mull rowing clubs both brought their skiffs by sea and land across Argyle, and Stornoway had stowed their skiff in Ullapool on their way back from Portsoy the week before.  Crail and Newburgh were the Fife and Angus representatives (along with the North Queensferriers of course).  The biggest contingent were from the North, with Portsoy, Avoch, Channonry, Bunillidh, and Wick there from the east coast, and Coigach, Ullapool and Loch Broom SC from the west coast.

Even clubs who had not brought a skiff manged to get in on the action.  Skiffies from Gairloch, Newhaven, An Eathar, Uists CRC, Kinghorn and Collieston were spotted pulling on oars for other clubs, and Strangford were involved in the umpiring.

ullapool zulu

Racing was held over two days, with Over 50s and Over 60s on the Friday along with half the junior events, and the 40+ and Open on the Saturday.  Saturday racing featured what we assume was the biggest mass start ever in a rowing race in Scotland.  When the “Go” command was given Seventeen skiffs set off together, racing for the other side of Loch Broom.  The racecourse was a worlds style course.  Each boat had a buoy which their cox held on to at the start. The buoy is dropped on “Go” and  each boat raced over to their own turn mark 1km from the start, before making their 180 degree turn and racing back to the start/finish line.

ullapool muster ullapool wick lass


This spreadsheet shows the points totals for the races and from it the places can be deduced (1point awarded to last boat across the line, two for the next crew up, and so on with the winners getting points representing the number of boats that started..  the more crews you beat, the more points you get). Winners of each category are shaded yellow.   Coigach won the points trophy, and recorded more wins than any other club.  Plenty for other clubs to celebrate, with special mention to Avoch who won the prize for new club, but also recorded a stunning win in the women’s open. Home club Ullapool also had a good set of results with wins in Men’s open and Mens 60+ (different crews mostly), Bunillidh won the 50+ mixed, and North Berwick the women’s 50+.  There is no need to win or even be placed to feel that a job has been well done.  There was good and close racing throughout the field, and skiffies can enjoy the race whatever the result.  Unless they come second.  They generally don’t like that.

The sprints were hotly contested with Ullapool’s young men putting on a truly astonishing row with a higher rating than previously thought was humanly possible with their long oars, beating Islay into second place by 1 second. Islay, Helmsdale and Newburgh all rowed strongly and Mull were close too.

The weather was kind on balance with the rain mostly coming through the night, and the wind made conditions interesting but never preventing the racing from taking place.  The amount of freshwater tumbling down into Loch Broom did have an effect on racing, with so much flow through the Loch that the flood tide did not have the anticipated effect on the course.

Apres skiff was fantastic, with the Harbour Trust being a great support for the event kindly sponsoring to a significant extent by providing the marquee on the pier where two great parties were held.  On the Friday night the top of the bill was “Hunter and the Bear”, a band that you will hear more of.     The Saturday Night Ceilidh was energetic and fun, with little kids dancing fit to bust and skiffies of all ages joining in along with the denizens of the village.

Isabel Hood from Strangford spoke to the whole audience on Saturday night encouraging them to come to the 2016 Worlds, and to book accommodation!  These and other photos are on the SCRA Flickr group, above from Chris Perkins, below from Bob Dawson.

ullapool start

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