Notice of SCRA AGM 2019

SCRA AGM Saturday 26 October 2019

Location: Loch Tummel Sailing Club Clubhouse

1. Apologies
2. Minutes of Last Meeting (SCRA 2018 AGM)
3. Matters Arising
4. Treasurer’s Report (TD)
5. Feedback from Skiffieworlds 2019
6. Convener’s Report (RW)
7. Proposed Resolution:

“That, given the advantages associated, the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association (SCRA) should seek to
become a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO), and:

  1. that the SCRA Committee be given authority on behalf of the members to agree on any necessary changes to the attached draft Constitution to achieve SCIO status, or any minor changes, without
    further reference to members; and
  2. that on SCIO status being approved by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) and the new SCIO being entered into the Scottish Charity Register:
    a. all members of the SCRA be deemed to become members of the new SCIO until such time as the next membership renewal is due;
    b. all assets and/or rights in the ownership or custodianship of the SCRA be transferred to the new SCIO; and
    c. the SCRA Committee members who sign the charity trustee declaration forms which accompany the SCIO application be deemed to have been appointed by the members as board members of the new SCIO until the first AGM following incorporation.

8. Proposed Resolution: To authorise the committee to transfer the rights and responsibilities of the SCRA/ SCR SCIO in respect of being the International Class Association of the St Ayles skiff to St Ayles Skiff International.

9. RowAround Scotland 2020
10. Election Committee for 2019/2020
11. Any Other Business


Election of Officers and Committee:
Nominations for Election to the Committee – Clubs are requested to submit any nominations for the Committee to the Secretary by the 1 October 2019.

Clubs are requested to submit agenda items/ AOB to the Secretary by the 1 October 2019.

Submission of Cruising Log entries : to the Secretary by 16 October 2019.

Club Nomination for Green Flag/ Blue Flag Awards to be submitted to the Secretary before 16th October 2018.

Training Notice
There will be a Regatta Course Laying Course on Friday 25th October from 2-00 pm until 4pm.
There will be an Umpiring Course held on Friday 25th from 4.30pm until 6.30pm.
Both the above events will take place at Loch Tummel Sailing Club. Anyone wishing to attend should apply to, saying in the heading what club you are from.

The AGM is a meeting of clubs.
We can only guarantee space for two representatives per club.
Anyone speaking at the AGM is speaking on behalf of and as instructed by their clubs.
It is therefore helpful if clubs have discussed any of the issues that are going to arise in advance of the AGM.

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Firth Of Clyde Coastal Rowing Club Green Flag Nomination

John McFarlane is the Social and Environmental co-ordinator for the Firth of Clyde Coastal Rowing club (FOCCRS). As you can see from the title, FOCCRS have a dedicated Environmental co-ordinator on their committee! John also sits on the local Environmental sub group of the Community Council as a representative of the FOCCRS. That subgroup consists of other local groups and the local council who work together co-cooperatively to make as big a difference as possible.

Although the club have carried out numerous initiatives over the past few years this is the first time that they have applied for a green flag award and have set out what they have been doing in 2019. John explains:

“The main focus is of course on Beach cleaning and our wonderful marine environment and we do this under the umbrella of both “Keep Scotland Beautiful” (the government organisation – who supply tabards and loads of helpful information and advice) and the Marine Conservation Society (very important as they provide the public liability cover for beach cleans). We have two beaches which we regularly survey for the Marine Conservation society (MCS) and submit reports. North Ayrshire council supply pickers, bags and gloves and take the collected rubbish away at the end of the clean.

FOCCRS working together on 7 April
FOCCRS with Bags Ready for Collection 7 April 2019

“On 7th April this year we arranged a beach clean and were joined by our partners and the local SNP MP Patricia Gibson, who was keen to get involved. Approx. 80 bags of rubbish were collected.

More Bags Filled on 24 June 2019

“On 24th June we helped organise a beach clean with the “Kiko plastics UK tour”. Kiko Mathews is the women’s world trans-atlantic rowing record holder, having rowed across the Atlantic single handed after a life threatening illness. On this occasion she was cycling round the UK coastline taking part in Beach cleans to raise awareness of the horrendous plastic problem facing out marine environment.

FOCCRS on 21 July 2019

“On 21st July we again took part in a beach clean with our partners from the Largs environmental group. Approx. 40 bags of rubbish were collected. A further beach clean was held on 22nd Sept and is part of the Keep Scotland Beautiful “clean up Scotland” campaign.

“As a club we are proud to work with our partners in making our wee bit of the world a cleaner and greener place.” 

Thank you FOCCRS for doing your bit, and for inspiring others with your story.

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Orkney Nominated for SCRA “Blue Flag” Award

The Scottish Coastal Rowing Association has announced a new type of award. Their Blue Flag award can be awarded to SCRA member clubs who make a contribution to the wider community above and beyond the pure enjoyment of the sport of coastal rowing.

ORC members with representatives from MS Orkney Therapy Centre, YPeople Orkney, Home Start Orkney, RNLI Kirkwall and Orkney Vintage Club. Photo – ORC Facebook Page

Orkney  Rowing Club were formed in July 2014 and since then have raised just over £25,000 for local charities. Every 2 years they nominate charities to raise funds for and have so far donated to RNLI, Local Multiple Sclerosis Society, CLAN, Age Orkney, Home Start, Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY), and Y People. They have raised funds through a variety of different ways: a round Orkney Mainland row in 2016 which took just under 24 hours and raised £20,845.25; Quiz evenings; Prize Draw events; Marshalling at local Vintage Rally event annually; Calendars… all contributing to their community and all matters which they deserve wider recognition for. Well done Orkney Coastal Rowing Club.


Members helping out at the Vintage Car Rally – pic ORC Facebook Page

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Monster the Loch race Saturday 28th September

The Coigach Lass completed the Monster the Loch race in one of Scotland’s most iconic locations.  The  22 miles along Loch Ness from Fort Augustus to Dores is a significant challenge and further than any of us had rowed before, and in the deepest water too (227m).

Around 60 boats lined up for the start made up of all manner of human powered boats: pedalos, paddle boards, fixed seat rowing boats and sliding seat boats.  There were 12 St Ayles skiffs from Strathpeffer, Catterline, Portsoy, Shieldaig, Collieston, Carrick, Golspie, Firth of Clyde, Burghead and Queensferry for us to race.  Oh, and of course Nessie too.

It was a mass start so no handicapping.  Lining up alongside an eight crew from the GB national squad is an experience you don’t get every day.  We didn’t see much of them after the start, more on that later….

It was difficult to know what pace to set so we started at a conservative rate which left us a bit behind but we were playing a long game.  Once we worked out our race pace we started reeling in the skiffs ahead of us finally passing the mighty Golspie crew just past halfway.

Then we set our sights on the other competition.  We realised we were competing with pilot gigs – these are mostly based in SW England.  They are longer than the skiffs we race and with 6 oars against our 4.  They are notionally faster than a skiff but much heavier and it seems that the length of this race levels the playing field somewhat. 

We eventually got past a couple of gigs and for the last 5 miles we were involved in an epic tussle with the leading gig Jon Bon from Dorset.  Each boat in turn gained an advantage only to have it reeled back in.  In the final mile the Lass took a decisive lead and held on to the end.  We were the first skiff and the first wooden boat to finish.  Coigach Lass recorded a time of 3hrs 27mins.

The GB crew smashed the previous record by over 20mins in recording a breathtaking time of 2hrs 4mins. 57secs.

Our crew of Tom Grant, Reuben Brown, Matt Zietz, Nick Clooney with the heroic Kathleen Steventon coxing were fuelled mainly by Kathleen’s robust banana flapjack which will live long in my teeth memory.

A great event rounded off with hospitality at the Dores Inn and great craic on the beach with the other crews – a must-do event for every discerning skiffer. 


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Blue Flag

The Round Arran relay team in 2018, who raised £1,721 for the Men’s Share project and Health in Mind, covering 93.58km in 15 hours!

Every year, the SCRA hands out a number of awards. These are a great way of celebrating and promoting the collective efforts of our rowing community and by sharing stories and ideas, hopefully we can inspire others to do similar.

Sitting alongside our Cruising Log and Green Flag award, you may have seen reference made to a ‘Blue Flag.’ This is a new award we are introducing this year.

We know that many of you do a sterling job of fundraising to benefit your clubs, but we want to hear about the efforts you go to, to help those in the wider community. By way of example, a single crew recently rowed across the Minch, from Stornoway to Ullapool, raising in excess of £25K for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Incredible.

Whether your gesture was large or small, they all add up to something magnificent, so please tell us about them and let’s see how many blue flags we can award in our first year.

Send your entries to before the 16th October. Blue flags winners will be announced at the AGM.

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2019 SCRA Club Survey – Action Please

SCRA are trying to gather a bit of information about those who are using St Ayles skiffs, in order that we can work out how the Association can best serve them, and so that we can use the aggregated information to make representations to outside bodies, who may not be aware of the size and nature of what we do.  

A survey is being sent out to club contacts that we hold, and we would be very grateful if those running their club can take a few minutes to complete the survey and submit it.  It is probably worth having a click through it first, as there are some questions on it that might take a bit of digging.  For instance we are trying to get an idea of age and gender of coastal rowers, so it is helpful if clubs can let us know the age and gender breakdown of their memberships.  We only want one return from each club please, so would be grateful if each club committee can ensure that one person is detailed to deal with this matter.

We would be very grateful if clubs could respond to the survey within two weeks if at all possible.  We will also endeavour to share useful information coming out of the survey in advance of the 2019 SCRA AGM, which will be held on 26 October.

If you are part of a group that feels they should have received a link to the survey but has not please contact Anna MacKenzie:

Many thanks in anticipation.

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Western Isles events 2020

Dates for your diaries – LochBoisdale 22nd & 23rd May 2020

Fèis Mara na Hearadh (Isle of Harris Maritime Festival) – Sat 1st August 2020

After a successful regatta last year, Robert and Cheryl Taylor will be hosting another next year in Loch Boisdale. They will both be at Loch Tummel Fresh Water Sprints and you can chat to them there about the regatta.

“All the skiffs and teams of the Outer Hebrides will be attending, alongside a number of teams from mainland Scotland as well. On Friday there will be a Blessing of the Boats at 14:00h, followed by sprint racing in the harbour; the day will close with a jam session at the Lochboisdale Hotel featuring local musicians. Saturday will host the main event; a series of races around a 2km triangular route starting just outside the harbour and finishing in the marina. Prize giving at 17:00h, followed with a Ceilidh in the Hotel at 20:00h.”

Fèis Mara na Hearadh(Isle of Harris Festival of the Sea) have also set a date for next year’s skiff races which is now on SCRA calendar – Saturday 1st August 2020. It is hoped that the coastal rowing races in Harris 2020 will encourage more clubs from mainland Scotland to come to the Hebrides and promote interest in Harris’ own skiff ‘The Hearach’ – which will be ready in time for the festival.

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Castle to Crane Race – scale

Castle to Crane Race takes place over a 13 mile course from Dumbarton up to the Finnieston Crane in Glasgow, as part of the Clydebuilt Festival. It is the longest rowing race that most of the rowers involved take part in, and is a real challenge for mind and body.

The scale of the River Clyde is quite something. The race certainly feels coastal to start with, and rowers are surrounded by hills, castles and countryside, and possibly having to deal with some quite lumpy conditions where the River Leven meets the Clyde. There is the occassional bit of beach on the south bank.

Also in terms of scale this is one of the biggest rowing races North of the South. In 2019 there were 75 boats taking part, including the largest fleet of St Ayles skiffs ever assembled. Being lovers of hyperbole, we refer to it as the largest gathering of coastal rowing boats on the Clyde since the Battle of Largs in 1263

In the middle stretches of the course, the scale of industry and past industry is what is truly impressive. Huge cranes, such as the well named Titan Crane at Clydebank (above). Making the competing boats seem very small indeed.

Even the mighty Orcuan? Well if you are on the subject of scale how about this eight oared Birlinn. Flagship of social enterprise GalGael we also consider her to be the flagship of our fleet and one of the biggest boats to be rowed regularly in the UK.

The 2020 edition of Castle to Crane Race will take place on 19 September 2020. Castle to Crane is a Scottish Coastal Rowing Association event, and is run as part of the Clydebuilt Festival.

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Castle to Crane Fleet 2019

Another cracking set of photos now available on the Scottish Coastal Rowing Facebook Group. These are all by Steve Thomson, so any borrows with a credit to Steve (and Castle to Crane) please.

Leaving the Leven. Teifi Skiff, North Easter dory and St Ayles skiff. Steve Thomson
Orcuan, a Birlinn built by community enterprise GalGael. Steve Thomson
Orkney CRC winners of the Shetland Yoal Class. Steve Thomson
Winner of the “Bonniest Boat” Trophy, and racing for the first time in 70 years, Georgie Rose of Broughty Ferry Boating. pic Steve Thomson
Solent Galley in the foreground, with St Ayles Skiffs from Troon and North Berwick behind. A reminder that we had a headwind. Steve Thomson
A wheen of St Ayles led by FOCCRs, with Dumbarton Castle behind. Steve Thomson
Seine Boat from Devon. pic Steve Thomson
Loxa and the Titan Crane. Steve Thomson
A dash of yellow from Avoch in their St Ayles Skiff Zulu
Titan. and Eastern in Skiff Skelf. Steve Thomson
Heading up past the Tall Ship towards the finish. Steve Thomson.
Perfect Timing
Cornish Pilot Gig from Sidmouth. Steve Thomson.
Yay, Finished. Pic Steve Thomson
Waiting for the results. Steve Thomson

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From Passau to Vienna in a St Ayles skiff

A tribute to a member of our rowing club who passed away

The plan was to go with a group of 13 people and two dogs, 2 rowing teams consisting of 6 rowers a day (a morning and an afternoon group) and someone who completely voluntary offered to do the catering.

There is an existing cycle path from Passau to Vienna, so most of us took their bicycle as well. The trip from the Netherlands to Passau took us approximately 9 hours with a lots of coffee breaks on the way.

We were planning to camp in tents, one camper and a minibus hosting two more people. The organising members of the teams made thorough investigations beforehand but decided that the team could handle unforeseen changes of plan. So, we only booked the first campsite and planned only one day ahead at the time. Most of the campsites had a small harbour nearby where we could leave our skiff for the night.

Day 1 Woudrichem to Passau

After a 9-hour drive we arrived at a campsite on the bank of the river Ilz in Passau. It was nearly dark when we arrived, we quickly set up our tents meanwhile attacked by several aggressive mosquitos, which gave us an itch for days. Anti-mosquito spray was number one on our shopping list for the next day. Second on our shopping list were earplugs, some Austrians snoring very loud indeed.

Day 2 Passau-Niedersanna-Kaiserau

Passau has a central geographical location within the three-country region of Germany, Austria and Czech Republic. The three rivers – Danube, Inn and Ilz – lend the city on the Three-River-Conjunction-Point its unique beauty. We got the skiff in the water near the campsite, just a matter of many hands make light work and we set of on our existing trip.

After 200 meters on the river Ilz (our camping was located on the bank of this river) we were on the Danube, it was a great sight to see Passau disappearing behind us, rowing downstream made us fly over the water. Nature reserve Donauleiten stretches on the left bank till Jochensteinlock, on the right bank are fortified castles and strongholds and several ruins high up in the hills. The first lock on the way was Jochenstein, a lock and the border between Germany and Austria as well. No passports were needed. We waited for half an hour after communicating with the lock keeper by marifone, while waiting we noticed the snorer of the previous night snoring again in a comfy chair after 2 pints of beer. It wouldn’t be the last encounter with the snorer on our trip.

A huge cargo vessel entered the lock and after that we were allowed go in, with lifejackets on. The sluice spans a drop of sixteen meters. After locking we had a beautiful rowing trip to Niederrana with many more castles on the right bank. In Niederrana after coffee and cake we had change of crew, the campsite was already set up, so the morning rowers had a relaxed tour in the car, only to find ourselves on the wrong riverbank, we could see the campsite on the other side of the Danube but had to make a detour. The afternoon rowers went through the ‘Schlogener Schlinge‘ were the Danube meanders remarkable even more than 180 degrees. We spend the night at campsite Kaiserau, convenient on the Danube right bank. We left the skiff at one of the so many moorings. Lots of tourist vessels speeded by in the night, making a lot of noise and turbulence 

Day 3 Kaiserau-Linz-Au

Some members of the team decided to cycle to the next campsite. The morning group first had to go through the next lock: Kraftwerk Aschach. The expected changeover was supposed to be in the beautiful town of Ottensheim where an old-fashioned rope-ferry still functions to fetch cyclists and cars to the other riverbank. While enjoying a well-earned coffee the morning rowers got the message to carry on rowing, because the campsite we had in mind was not allowing any dogs. The next campsite was to be in Au. The two cyclists continued for another 20 km (70km in total), soon after their arrival the afternoon group including the two cyclists went back to Linz where the morning rowers waited in Asko sportboat harbour.

They had a great time in the canteen, the pub owner had never seen such a rowing boat and such funny people and kept bringing beer, wine and pizza’s. The weather was great and everyone turned more and more red in the face, apart from the two to-be-drivers.

The Danube from Ottensheim to Linz centre is beautiful, but downstream of Linz there’s lots of industries and pollution. Behind Lock Abwinden – Asten (by marifone: “how heavy is your boat? can you carry it around?” “No, we can’t: so, they let us in”) the landscape changes, nice towns on the riverbanks, including the (in) famous Mauthausen, in the evening sun we arrived in Au, to find the snorer had put up his tent again next to our tents. We berthed our skiff in the harbour of Au and had a nice meal in a nearby restaurant (no credit cards, only cash). Tired and happy we all fell asleep, no one heard any snoring.

Day 4 Au-Grein-Marbach

The part from Au to changing place Grein is a quiet stretch, no hills and lots of trees. Lock Wallsee-Mitterkirchen opened for our boat, being the only boat in the huge lock made us feel very tiny. We rowed to changing place Grein, with a suitable harbour and we had lunch with the whole group in a nice Romanian restaurant on the riverbank. The afternoon group had a very though journey to Marbach. Beautiful hills castles and villages like St Nikola on the way but for unknown reason reverse current and a speed of only 4 km/ hour. They were exhausted also because of the hot temperatures (> 30 degrees) The morning rowers were relaxing on the campsite in the afternoon and even took a swim in the Danube, so they felt very refreshed.

Day 5 Marbach-Melk-Krems

By far the most beautiful and dangerous part of the Danube so you need fearless coxes. The lock at Melk caused delay, because all boats had to wait for a large cargo vessel which was not yet close by. Changing place of the day was Melk, famous for its monastery (Stift as the Austrians call them). This Benedictine Monastery is a famous example of Baroque architecture. We decided to change from morning to afternoon rowing in Aggsbach, because Melk was not really halfway, but of course we all wanted to see the famous monastery, so we had lunch in Melk. From Melk to Aggsbach the Danube is a very swirling river and our cars had to speed up to be in time at the changing place. The afternoon rowers were waiting in Aggsbach Markt, left bank, while the morning rowers attempted to get to a jetty in Aggsbach Dorf, right bank. Because of the very strong current it was very difficult for them to reach the jetty, also because there were some large waves from passing tourist vessels. When they had finally reached the jetty, the afternoon rowers were waiting on the other bank, so they had to cross, this time we changed on a small beach since there was no pontoon or jetty. From Aggbach to Krems: the most beautiful part of the journey, it gave us a real ‘Danube’ feeling, vineyards, monasteries, ruins, girls in dirndl. Later that day we arrived in Krems with an expensive but convenient harbour next to the campsite. Krems is a beautiful old town with many Baroque houses and churches. The weather was excellent, even late at night when we invaded a terrace for a superb Austrian ice-cream we could still sit outside.

Day 6 Krems-Kleinschonblick-Klosterneuborg

From Krems to Kleinschonblich the Danube is a wide river, not much current to help us, no hills, flatland resembling the Biesbos, a nature reserve nearby Woudrichem, where we come from. Kleinschonblick was supposed to be the harbour to change, they even have a guest pontoon, but no way out of the compound, fenced completely, no telephone number to call. Luckily, we managed to get out of the compound and the afternoon crew to get in, but soon the harbourmaster came and was not the nicest of characters (like many Austrians quite surly). After explaining he tempered. Later we thought Erpersdorf would be a better place to change with a beach and nice houses and a restaurant. The journey continued to Klosterneuborg, a nice place (no harbour though, so it took some creativity to leave our skiff in safe waters), with again a beautiful monastery and great wines to go with it. As well a good connection to Vienna, we decided to stay for two nights at the campsite and reach Vienna with our Aylesskiff and cycling the next day. The campsite in Vienna was not responding our calls and the location in Vienna North didn’t look quite attractive.

Day 7 Klosterneuborg- Wien

By far the most challenging part of our journey. Vienna is not oriented on the waterfront; the Danube is canalised and lots of industry to go with it. However, there is the Danube canal going right through the city and accessible for boats. There is a lock at the beginning of the canal and we were hoping (but not knowing for sure) to find a place to get our Aylesskiff out of the water. The first obstacle was the lock: no lockkeeper to be seen, but after a few phone calls he appeared on his bicycle and was very kind and amused to see our boat. We were allowed to go in, but we had to be quick, he wouldn’t open the doors completely, we managed and soon we found ourselves rowing on the Danube canal with an enormous speed. We managed to fix the boat under a bridge in order to have a coffee with the rest of the group who had arrived on bicycle.

After coffee which turned out to be a lunch, we continued our amazing journey and attracted a lot of attention. We enjoyed ourselves a lot, but we didn’t find a suitable place to get the boat out. Luckily, we found the one and only option in time, thanks to our cyclists who pointed out where to go. The quay was half a meter high, but in no time we got the skiff safe in the grass (all you need is strong, creative and lateral thinking people).

After 3 rounds through Vienna’s traffic jam our car had found he entrance to the park, we loaded the skiff on the trailer and after putting a halt to the traffic and trams our driver could safely drive back to Kloster-neuburg. After a nice evening on the campsite we drove back the next day, because of the distance we rowed it was a long journey back.

Our adventure was over, it was a great trip with the best possible team.

September 2019

Anneke van Walree

WSV Woudrichem,

The Netherlands

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Castle to Crane 2019 – Pictures from the Start

Competitors Preparing at Sandpoint Marina, Dumbarton. Daren Borzynski Photography 
River Teign Rowing Club preparing for the Weather that Scotland Can Throw at you in September. Daren Borzynski Photography 
Goose, Montrose Coastal Rowing Club’s First Boat, launched just one week before taking on the 13 Mile Castle to Crane Race. Daren Borzynski Photography 
Firth of Clyde Crew in “Saltire” leaving the River Leven at Dumbarton
Daren Borzynski Photography
Carrick Coastal Rowing Club in “Carrick Maid”… winners of the Median Trophy
Daren Borzynski Photography
North Berwick Heading towards the Clyde Daren Borzynski Photography
Langstone Cutters in one of their Solent Galleys.
Daren Borzynski Photography

Full set of photographs by Daren Borzynski Photography  can be found on his Castle to Crane Flikr Album.

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