Archive for March, 2011
Anyone interested in attending should contact Adam Graham on firstname.lastname@example.org or call the clubhouse on 01475 723260.
Followers of Scottish Coastal Rowing will be delighted to hear that “Ulla” is once again looking magnificent and is back on the water. Full Story on their blog, from which the photo below is borrowed (looks a not bad place for going for a row).
The community on the Island of Hoy in Orkney have raised enough money for a deposit and made a firm order for the 50th St Ayles skiff kit. The half century has been reached around 16 Months after the plans became available, a rate of development which has astonished even those who were committed to the Scottish Coastal Rowing Project right from its inception.
The Hoy Rowing Group are about half-way to their initial fundraising target but have fingers crossed for various fund applications to bridge the gap. Hoy is the first group in Orkney but they hope that more communities in the Islands will follow soon as they wish to compete! Scapa Flow offers almost ideal conditions for racing; exhilaratingly rough but without great breakers! Longhope (where the Hoy boat will be based) and North Bay are usable in almost any weather. The regatta and touring possibilities for visiting skiffs from the south are potentially very attractive (It is worth remembering that down south the Gig World championships are always held in the Scillies).
There are about 30 people interested in rowing/building in Hoy, ranging in age from 70+ to young teens with several Primary school children also keen to partake in some way. The group are hoping to be in the water by the end of the summer and are looking forward to autumn and winter, as long clear spells often make winter better for rowing than summer - and the islanders are not so frantically busy. The idea that islands are peaceful, vegetative places is apparently wholly wrong!
There is no website for the build yet, but if you want more information and want to join in contact William Lancaster on Hoy. (If you think you need more contact detail than that, you don’t know Hoy.)
Galgael are doing a great thing, bringing school pupils from the wider Glasgow community to work together with a common goal: building lovely boats. Their first St Ayles skiff is a joint project by pupils from Smithycroft Secondary and St Mungo’s Academy. The boat is now fully planked, with Gunwhales fitted and thwarts in place. More information and some pictures here: http://galgael2010.blogspot.com/2011/03/plenty-of-boat-action-going-on-in.html
A second boat is now underway, being built by pupils from Lourdes Secondary and Govan High. General information about Galgael and other work that they do can be found at www.galgael.org .
Dunbar joined the Coastal Rowing Community in style when their community built skiff ”The Volunteer” was blessed, named and piped to the water on 26 March 2011. Andy Wishart, Chairman of Dunbar Coastal Rowing Association welcomed the Dunbar townsfolk as well as rowers from Port Seton, Anstruther and North Berwick who had turned up to see the boat touch the water for the first time.
The launching took take place at the town’s Victoria Harbour. “Dunbar Sings” serenaded The Volunteer with “Michael Rows the Boat Ashore/ the Volunteer is a Dunbar Boat” before those assembled joined in the Blessing of the Boat by Rev. Anne Lithgow. The naming ceremony was performed by Carrie Wilson. Alistair Mackie piped the boat down the slip.
The boat is called “The Volunteer”, in recognition of all those who took to the North Sea in open rowing lifeboats as volunteers. The name also reflects the volunteer labour and dedication that has gone into the building of the boat.
Interested in being a Volunteer volunteer? Contact details are here: http://www.dunbarcoastalrowing.org.uk/Contact.htm
The community of Wick is looking for people to help set up a Community Boat Building and Coastal Rowing Club. The intention is to build a St Ayles skiff within the town. On completion she will be used to compete against many other St Ayles skiffs that are already racing around the Scottish Coast, for fitness training and just fun trips on the Caithness coast. Their nearest local rivals at the moment are at Helmsdale, where a build is already underway, and Hoy, where a kit has now been ordered. There are however other towns in Caithness and Sutherland that might be inspired once they see Wick powering ahead!
All in the community of Wick are invited to participate. No experience necessary, just a willingness to join in. Any age or fitness level, male or female. The first meeting, for anyone interested in community boat building and/or rowing:
Monday 4th April at 8.00pm at Nethercliff Hotel, Wick
for more information tel Lee on 07525 901625
Johnny Johnson will be on the BBC again on Monday night, as part of a proramme entitled Is 75 the New Middle Age?
The programme makers interviewed Johnny and filmed the pupils from Eyemouth HS working with the builders on the Eyemouth High School skiff.
More info can be found here.
Seems like Johnny is becoming a bit of a favourite with the beeb!
The programme can be watched here at 22:50 in for about two minutes. The pupils from Eyemouth HS seem to be enjoying it.
Have been contacted this afternoon by Scottish Rowing as the Watersports Centre at Strathclyde Park near Glasgow was broken into on Monday 7th March and almost the entire contents of their Trophy Cabinet was stolen. Some of these trophies date back to the 1870’s and are irreplaceable.
I have been forwarded a document containing a list and photos of the items stolen. Have forwarded this document to a number of clubs in the SCRA and associations throughout the country, anyone else who wants a copy please contact me through the website.
Anyone with access to other watersports association website is asked to highlight this theft on their news page and refer any information that may come back to them to their nearest Police Station, Strathclyde Police or the address below:
Jo Ramsay – Administrator
Scottish Rowing Centre
366 Hamilton Road
Tel: 01698 250206
If you have trophies on display in your clubhouses please take this as a warning that this type of crime can happen anywhere. The thieves took under a minute to access the locked building and cabinet, remove the Silverware and exit the building again.
Work on the first two St Ayles Skiffs in the Netherlands is proceeding apace.
NL002 is being built by the students of Trinitas College in Heerhugowaard, about 20 miles north of Amsterdam under the tutelage of Bert van Baar. They took their build to the Amsterdam Boat Show last week, and attracted a great deal of interest.
We are hoping to see some of the Dutch builders at the Anstruther or Portobello Regattas.
I have been asked for some information on who Chippy McNish was, see below an extract from the handout we prepared for the launch a couple of weeks ago.
Henry “Chippy” McNish, was one of the older members of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914–1917. In his 40th year when the expedition set out. Chippy was born in 1874 at 8 Lyons Lane, Port Glasgow, Scotland.
He held strong socialist views all his life and was a member of the United Free Church of Scotland and was known to detest the use of foul language. As ship’s carpenter, he was to play a major part in the ”Endurance“ saga. McNish was a time served Shipwright skilled at working wood, he also had a good knowledge of metal work.
McNish built the cofferdam to help keep the ship afloat as long as possible. He asked Shackleton to be allowed to build a Sloop from the timbers of the sinking “Endurance”. Shackleton dismissed the idea. He raised the gunnels and decked out the “James Caird” in readiness for the epic boat journey back to South Georgia. Using a mixture of flour, seal blood and oil paint he caulked the seams of the Caird.
With old 2-inch brass screws from the same deck he even managed to cobble spiked footwear to assist Shackleton, Crean and Worsley on their epic trek across the uncharted mountains of South Georgia.
It is known that McNish never forgave Shackleton for having his cat “Mrs Chippy” (who in fact was a Tom cat) shot. In the late 1920’s McNish made a voyage between Wellington and Bluff and befriended the father of Baden Norris a noted Antarctic historian. Baden as a young child was introduced to McNish and he remembers:
“ A grey man in bed, leaning up on his elbows and telling him “Shackleton shot my cat!”
Chippy eventually fell on hard times and became destitute. A place was found for him in the Ohiro Benevolent Home where his illness worsened and he eventually died in 1930 in Wellington Hospital.
The New Zealanders looked upon McNish in a more sympathetic light. When news of his death and his involvement in Antarctic expeditions reached the ears of the New Zealand Ministers of Internal Affairs and of Defence they promptly arranged a funeral with full Naval honours at the expense of the New Zealand Government.
Coincidentally the British warship H.M.S.Dunedin was in port at the time and the cortege was described as follows:
“The remains were borne on a Gun Carriage provided by The Royal New Zealand Artillery, draped in the Union Jack flag and led by a firing party of 12 men from H.M.S. Dunedin with arms reversed. The horse drawn Gun Carriage was escorted by 4 pall-bearers either side (Petty Officers from the Dunedin).”
In 1958 the British Antarctic Survey named a small island in honour of Chippy….” McNish Island” which lies in the approaches to King Haakon Bay. South Georgia. A fitting tribute to a truly remarkable skilled and brave British seaman.
The New Zealand Antarctic Society (NZAC) erected a headstone on 10 May 1959. In 2004, the grave was tidied and a life size bronze sculpture of McNish’s beloved cat, Mrs. Chippy, was placed on his grave by NZAC.
On 18 October 2006, a small, oval wall plaque commemorating his achievements was unveiled at the Port Glasgow Library in his home town, and earlier in the same year he was the subject of an exhibition at the McLean Museum & Art Gallery Greenock.
On 27th February 2011 Royal West of Scotland Amateur Boat Club in Greenock is honouring this local hero by naming the first of its new St. Ayles Skiffs “Chippy McNish”. The skiff was built at Port Glasgow Business & Training Centre by a team from all over the district . It was funded, in part, by Inverclyde Council and will be used by community groups from within the district for recreation and competition. Chippy McNish’s story will be told to perpetuate his memory and hopefully inspire the adventurous spirit within those using the skiff.