Ullapool Regatta Report

Ullapool pulled off another fantastic regatta, with racing on Friday over a 2km course,  timed sprints on the Friday night, a full day of racing on the Saturday over the 2km course, a ceilidh on the Saturday night and a picnic by skiff on the Sunday for those who did not have to start their travels early.  It was the largest gathering of St Ayles skiffs so far this year, with 19 skiffs lined up along the beach.  The skiffs were from Ullapool Coastal Rowing Club (2), Loch Broom Sailing Club, Ardersier, Coigach (2), Isle of Mull, Isle of Seil, Newburgh, Bunillidh (Helmsdale), Wick, Crail, Anstruther, North Berwick, North Queesferry (with a combined North/ South Queensferry crew, referred to as “Mid Queensferry”), Portsoy, Stornoway and Troon. Finally it was a great honour for the hosts to welcome Gairloch’s new skiff Longa attending her first ever regatta.



The St Ayles skiffs  were joined by a Cornish Pilot Gig from Falmouth Gig Club, who had been persuaded by a member who had been at the Worlds last year that Ullapool really was a place they should visit! The Gigglers, as well as demolishing the field in their gig “Energy”  with its 12 feet of extra water line length and slightly piratical St Piran’s flag,  gamely took to the water in the borrowed Ullapool High School skiff Cul Mor, and placed very respectably in their races.  A real pleasure to meet fellow rowers from a different discipline.



Sea conditions were very flat throughout the regatta so times were fast and races were generally very close and hard fought.  Places were shared around a wide variety of clubs which is always pleasing to see.   The Friday was a stunning day with clear blues skies and warm sun, what we have become used to when racing at Ullapool.  (Note for future…  do not assume it will always be like this.) Although a record length of start line was in place with 16 skiffs starting in some races, heats and a final were still required in the 50+ mixed event, which was won by Anstruther, followed across the line in turn by Helmsdale, Loch Broom SC and Crail.  Anstruther could not repeat the win in the 50+ ladies however, being just pipped by North Berwick on the line, followed in third by host club Ullapool.  Coigach won the 50+ men, with Ullapool taking second and Newburgh third.  North Berwick won the 60+ mixed by some distance, ahead of Ullapool in second and Isle of Seil in third place.    Unfortunately there were not enough crews to make up a ladies 60 + race.  Crail won the mens 60+, with Ullapool getting another second, and Troon taking the bronze medal position.

The Friday night sprints were very close with less than a second seperating the top 3 crews.  At the time of writing we do not have the times to hand but can report that Helmsdale were the winners.


ladies line dance

The forecast for Sunday was for rain, but in the end conditions were pretty reasonable with only the odd light shower passing through.  The sea remained flat and the competition remained keen.  First race of the day was the 40+ Men.  North Berwick in a middle lane just managed to stay ahead of Anstruther on the far side of the course, who had gained an advantage with a tremendous turn.   Crail held off three crews on the inside lanes to take third place.  Forty plus ladies was won by Anstruther, in a very fast time, ahead of Crail and Ullapool.    North Berwick had to retire from the 40+ mixed when they broke a thole pin on the start.  The race was taken by Crail, with Falmouth recording their best result of the day with a second, and Helmsdale coming in third.  The under 17 mixed was run during the same race, with both the junior crews being reasonably placed in the adult field.  Coigach won the U17 crown ahead of a crew made up from North Berwick, Royal West and Ullapool, rowing in Isle of Mull’s boat.


An experienced Coigach crew won the open Men’s event, with their under 19 crew also placing well in the same event.  North Berwick came in second, and Bunillidh (Helmsdale) came third.  Anstruther won  the Women’s Open followed by Crail and North Berwick.  North Berwick were racing in Lily-Rose, very kindly lent to them by Coigach while repairs were carried out to Skiff John B’s broken pin.  It was not a surprise to find that Ullapool Hardware store sells spare thole pins, although they do describe them as “Kitchen Roll Holders” for some reason.  Anstruther also won the mixed open ahead of  Newburgh and Bunillidh (Helmsdale).

Ullapool managed to enter every event and place well in most, so although they did not have any individual victories they won the overall points competition.  The Falmouth Rowing Club were awarded the trophy for furthest travelled club.  There was an award for the best performance in the points competition by a New Club (as defined in the SCRA rules of racing as a club which is in its first or second calendar year of putting crews forward for racing.)  This year the prize was earned by Isle of Mull Coastal Rowing Club and their skiff Eala Bhan.  The skiff is very well used on the Island, with a big demand from all round to get out on the water in her.  This is a club to watch for the future!

mull new club


Thanks to Chris Perkins for these photos, more of which can be viewed on the SCRA Flickr page.   Please do add any good photos that others may want to see to that collection!  See also the great photos on Steven Gourlay Photographer’s Facebook Page, including aerial shots.

Thanks once again to Ullapool Coastal Rowing Club, and their supporters from Loch Broom Sailing Club, for a fantastic weekend of skiff racing and friendship.

  1. #1 by Phil on 14 July 2014 - 6:39 pm

    A great regatta, and a great time had by all. But don’t forget the significance of the event on Saturday evening: Finlay took Elisa down to the shore, and proposed to her by the side of the North Berwick skiff. A year to the day since they started going out! Congratulations!

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