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Film Review: Whisky Galore at Portsoy

Film Review is a bit of a departure for this website, but we have to make an exception for the remake of the 1949 Ealing Comedy Whisky Galore.  The Islanders of Toddy are suffering a whisky drought during the second world war.  However a solution arrives by way of a wrecked freighter, and the task becomes one of retrieving a cargo, and then making use of it and storing it without interference from the authorities.  A gentle comedy where the star is of course the lovely village of Portsoy, which will be recognised by all those who have visited the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival and the skiff racing that takes place there.  The film has a variety of coastal rowing boats deployed, but if there is one criticism it would be that the film makers should have deployed the Portsoy skiffettes to row the boats for the actors, who demonstrate some pretty ropy timing and technique when rowing out at night to recover the cargo.  Other reviews are available.  The film also has locations at St Monans (Near Pittenweem and Anstruther), and is the lighthouse at St Abbs?  Whatever a pleasant night out with friends, which is not going to cause offence to anyone, except perhaps pompous Home Guard captains.  See it at cinemas this week.


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The Red Boat is Launched on Iona

A real beauty has emergeed from a shed on the Isle of Iona.  “The Red Boat” was launched by the community on Sunday.  The Red Boat is number 145 on the St Ayles Skiff Craft Register.

She was named by Norah Kirkpatrick, in front of a large gathering of islanders on a stunning day, with Iona looking its very best in tribute to the work of the community boat builders.  She was welcomed onto the water by a salute from a skiff of the neighbouring island of Mull.




Congratulations to all the skiffbuilders and to the community of Iona.  Welcome to Scottish Coastal Rowing and good luck in using your beautiful skiff.  All Photos from the Iona Boat Association Facebook Page.  More launches coming up shortly at Golspie and Lochcarron.

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Rowing The Waves at Anstruther Regatta 2017

Rowing The Waves at Anstruther Regatta 2017

Nina and Jen joined the assembled crews from Royal West , Newburgh , North Berwick, Eastern,  Portsoy ,Firth of Clyde ,  Bunillidh (Helmsdale) , Boatie Blest (Port Seton) and St Andrews together with individuals from Broughty Ferry, Queensferry and Pittenweem  for the Anstruther 2017 Regatta.

Wearing the corporate T-shirts, Nina and Jen were free to walk about, stop and chat and spread the word and talk to a good number of people about Rowing and the Project. The first ‘on the beach’ interviews also took place and were recorded with members from Port Seton – thanks guys.

The interchanges and positive feedback were exceedingly encouraging and Nina and Jen are looking forward to meeting up with folk individually and at forthcoming regattas. Thanks to everyone for their participation so far.

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Can you help get the folks in Stromness, Orkney on the Water?

Is there a St Ayles Skiff out there that is underused, unused, unloved or part completed to get them started and on the water in Stromness?
Andy Rendle

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Rowporty Regatta Saturday 10th June 2017

Portobello’s Coastal Rowing Club “Rowporty” will be holding a regatta on Saturday June 10th, on the beach at Portobello in front of its boatyard at the bottom of Bath Street. The community club has invited teams from around the Firth of Forth and the programme has been designed to provide fun events along with competitive racing and of course the customary legendary food and cake stall.
We can only take a limited number of boats on our busy beach and the regatta is almost full. If you’re interested in taking part contact Catherine Scott (email:
Or just come along to watch and enjoy a great day out at the beach!

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Glencoe Boat Club 14th May 2017 Push the Boat Out Event

Coastal Rowing Clubs are invited to take their skiff to the Glencoe Boat Club Push the Boat Out Event on the 14th May and let the public have a go.

Please see SCRA Event Calendar for contact details


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Queensferry Regatta Saturday 19 August 2017

Places for our Regatta on 19 August 2017 are fast filling up and we only have space left for two clubs. We can only accommodate 12 skiffs and so far we have 10 including our skiffs from North and South Queensferry.

St Andrews
Broughty Ferry

The first two takers with email to will secure a place! Full details will be sent out to participants in due course.

Kind regards,

Peter Locke
Secretary Queensferry Rowing Club

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Monaco of Scottish Coastal Rowing at Port Seton

Boatie Blest rowing club held their annual regatta at Port Seton harbour on Saturday the 8th of April. The day was a great success with beautiful sunny weather to complement the races. Boatie Blest were delighted to host five other Scottish Coastal Rowing clubs from North Berwick, Eskmuthe, Broughty Ferry, St. Ayles and Row Porty. The sprint races involved two competing boats simultaneously racing against each other in a pursuit-style lap of Port Seton harbour. This style of race was particularly exciting for spectators as they were able to watch two competing boats racing towards the finish line, with some very close calls throughout the day.

The annual Cockenzie vs Port Seton race kicked of the regatta with participants names drawn from a hat. This year Port Seton added to previous results to make the score 5-1. The course this year included two extra buoys on one of the turns. These buoys carried a 5 second time penalty if the boat’s oars hit or 10 seconds if the hull touched them. This meant competitors had to make tight turns to avoid getting a time penalty. Only two boats got a penalty all day which marked a good day for the coxswains, aided by the light winds and calm seas.

The relay race has become a favourite of many clubs attending the regatta where the boats set off from Port Seton to Cockenzie and at Cockenzie it meets its running crew members who quickly change on the beach. The original rowing crew then run back to the start at Port Seton and the first team with all 9 members back on the beach are crowned winner. This year that prize was claimed by North Berwick, who dominated the race on the water from the start, got in early and changed crews swiftly in front of Broughty Ferry, the North Berwick runners were swiftly back to Port Seton to meet their boat home. Broughty Ferry managed to stay clear of trouble and obstructions and ran a good race and sealed the 2nd place. Boatie Blest managed to fend off Anstruther on the first rowing leg but were beaten rowing back as Anstruther quickly charged down and almost caught Broughty Ferry for second. The efforts of the Boatie Blest runners on the way back did manage to secure the third place in front of Anstruther despite the heroic efforts of Anstruther on the water. Portobello and Eskmuthe battled it out for 5th and 6th, with both crews very close at the beaches at both locations and Porty narrowly squeezing the 5th place.

The sprint finals were competed by the following clubs:

Mixed Novice – Boatie Blest (1st) vs Row Porty (2nd)

Mixed under 45s – Anstruther (2nd) vs Broughty Ferry (1st)

Mixed Intermediate – Boatie Blest (1st) vs North Berwick (2nd)

Mixed Open – Boatie Blest (1st) vs Broughty Ferry (2nd)

Womens 45+ – Boatie Blest (2nd) vs North Berwick (1st)

Mens 45+ – North Berwick (2nd) vs Boatie Blest (1st)

The full results are below (times in seconds)

results doc

The overall prize went to the club with the fastest time to complete all 6 laps of “The Monaco of Scottish Coastal Rowing” which in a time of 886.5 seconds ( 14mins 46.5 seconds) was Boatie Blest. The runner-up was Broughty Ferry with an overall time of 912 seconds (15 mins 12 seconds).

Boatie Blest would like to thank all the rowing clubs who attended on the day, all the people who helped out and the members of the public who came along to watch the races and enjoy the fantastic food made by the Boatie Bakers. Whilst the weather may have helped, it was the people who made the day such a roaring success. We welcome you all back in 2018!

Many thanks to Vicky from VF Photography for the use of her stunning photos!

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Portsoy Deveron Youth Regatta 2017

The Deveron/Portsoy Youth Regatta took place on Saturday the 1st of April in Portsoy and was a brilliant success. Young rowers came down from Avoch, Ullapool and Burghead for a great day of racing.

The teams competed on a 1k course and throughout the day volunteers had the opportunity to shadow umpires and help out on the safety boats. If any clubs were short of a couple of crew, other clubs were happy to jump in and fill up the empty seats


.At the end of the day, the scratch racing meant everyone had an opportunity to row and even the older generations had a chance to row.  The day was great all round and all clubs went home with some medals to show for it and was a great start to the 2017 youth regatta series.  Many thanks to all those who worked hard to make the event a success.  The next Youth Regatta is at North Berwick on 18 June.  The next event on the North Youth Circuit is Ullapool on 8/ 9 July.



Race Deveron  Ullapool Avoch
Women’s U17 7:10 8.03 6:57
Mixed U19 6:49 6:43 6:52
Mixed U100 6:41 6:35 6:44
Men’s U19 6:21 6:28 6:40
Women’s U19 7:20 7:13 7:04
Mixed U17 6:31 6:39 n/a
Mixed Scratch 6:43 7:06 6:17

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Fife Club Gathering at Lochore Meadows

Report by Rhona McLaren (St Ayles RC).

On a typical day in Fife, sun shining and blue skies, over forty rowers fae six Fife clubs, St Ayles RC (Anster), Kinghorn, Pittenweem, Crail, St Andrews, North Queensferry met at the Meedies (Lochore Meadows Countryside Park) for a wee row. The Social Gathering, held on the 25th of March, was arranged by St Ayles RC in response to a desire to have a fun, relaxing rowing get together before the regatta season got underway.

Loch Ore is a freshwater Loch located in inland Fife, just 14 miles north of the Forth Road Bridge. The area has been inhabited for at least 4000 years, and in more recent times (1873-1966) it was a very active coal mining area with seven pits nearby. Remnants of the coal industry are clear to see on the landscape and the Loch itself is largely the result of land subsidence – the original Loch having been drained in the 1790s by the landowner in an unsuccessful attempt to make the Loch-then-bog profitable!

Today The Meedies is a much loved parkland with trails, watersports, playpark, and café on site. The park is run by Fife Coast and Countryside Trust, who kindly allowed us to use their slipways, facilities, and buoys, for a nominal fee.

The Social Gathering program was a assortment of mixed crew rowing trying out different skiffs, exploring the Loch and it’s islands; coxes testing themselves and their crew on a slalom course line set-up with buoys just off the beach; and chatting away with each other on the beach. Andrew Rendle (SCRA and St Andrews RC Secretary), did a fine job helping skiffs on and off the sandy beach, and everyone got a few rows learning from each other.

After a very lazy lunchtime picnic a pursuit (chase) race was set up, again mixing up rowers into different skiffs. Each skiff set off 20 seconds apart and had to row round one of the islands, through the slalom buoys, and land back on the beach – easy – except there was a twist..

To make things a bit trickier and amusing, the race started with one member of the crew up on the grass with the Race Starter and all-round good egg, Colin. The runner had to dash to their skiff with a creme egg, before the skiff could race away. Upon return, a crew member then ran back up to Colin with the egg, had to unwrap it, eat and swallow it, before the timer stopped! It was a close race, with winners in skiff Coull D eggding it by a second!

The chase – Results:

Place Skiff Time (min:sec)
1 Coull D 11:18
2 Ferry Sonnet 11:19
3 Fisherlass 11:22
4 St Ayles 11:55
5 Yolande 13:37
6 Chris o’Kanaird 14:19

Caption: The Chase Winners: (L to R) Jen (St Andrews), Louise (Queensferry), Pam (Pittenweem), Shona – cox (St Ayles RC), Rhona (St Ayles RC)

After the Chase, everyone pitched in to row the skiffs back to the slipways and help pack them up, before departing beautiful Lochore Meadows. The day was hugely enjoyable and a great start to the 2017 rowing season. On behalf of St Ayles RC, we look forward to meeting with oor fellow Fifers and other clubs on the regatta circuit.


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