The Gairloch Community has celebrated the launch of its first St Ayles Skiff. The boat, named ‘Longa’ after an island at the mouth of Loch Gairloch, was officially launched by Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant for Ross and Cromarty, Mrs Janet Bowen. A large crowd turned out to celebrate under blue skies and many tried their hand at rowing the skiff around Gairloch bay. The Coigach skiff made the journey down from Achiltibuie to welcome her sister into the water.
The Gairloch St Ayles Skiff was built in a club member’s garage and funds for the kit were raised by donations from members of the community. Funding was received from the Rotary Club, Ross and Cromarty Sports Council and Highland Council to purchase paint and safety equipment. Several local businesses also provided sponsorship and materials. The boat’s colour scheme was designed by students from Gairloch High School, who were rewarded with the first outing in the boat at the launch.
Gairloch Coastal Rowing Club Chair Karen Thompson said “It has been a amazing community effort to get the skiff built, painted, kitted out and on the water. We are really proud of what we have achieved and delighted by the support of the community, who we hope will make good use of the skiff from now on. We are delighted that members of other Northern coastal rowing clubs have come along to support us today, and we are really looking forward to racing against them in the future.”
Gairloch Coastal Rowing Club will compete in their first regatta at Ullapool on 11th July. Longa is the 67th UK St Ayles skiff.
Photos from the Gairloch Coastal Rowing Facebook page (plenty more photos to see there) bottom one by Lulu Stader.