RowAround Scotland 2020

It is a time of year for looking ahead. Of course many are looking ahead to Skiffieworlds, taking place in July 2019. We cannot wait. For more information about that Click on the Stranraer Skiffieworlds logo on this page.

However, some of us are looking even further ahead at the same time. We are very conscious that we have anniversaries coming up that we need to celebrate. Ten years ago there was only one Scottish Coastal Rowing Club south of Sumburgh Head (Royal West of Scotland ABC, who have been around since 1866). Ten years on, thanks to a lot of inspiration and hard work by a whole lot of people we have around SEVENTY coastal rowing clubs, and the sport is still growing. So we need to celebrate this remarkable story!

You can check back through the website to see the Report on the official launch of the Scottish Coastal Rowing Project which took place on a remarkably lovely looking day in October 2009 at Anstruther. This in itself was a culmination of planning, designing and building. Following on from the launch the first St Ayles Skiff kits became available to community builders at the end of 2009. Building went on in several communities through that winter. They were aiming to be at the first ever St Ayles Skiff regatta. The big day came on 28 May 2010, when six skiffs were completed in time to compete in a regatta at Anstruther. The skiffs came from Anstruther (the prototype boat) Boatie Blest (first community built skiff to be launched) , Ullapool, Coigach, RowPorty, and North Berwick (paint still wet). Later that day a meeting was held where the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association was formed with the six clubs who were racing being joined by Royal West of Scotland, Eyemouth and St Abbs, Dunbar and South Queensferry (and possibly others…… contact the convenor if you feel you have been missed out). Have a look at where our clubs are now on our clubfinder. But then the whole thing grew and grew and became a world wide phenomenon. Rather a long introduction but a reminder as to why we have to make sure we have a celebration. So how do we celebrate……? Skiffieworlds is coming up, and we consider that the celebration of the international spread of the boats. As for Scotland, drum roll please…..

We propose to hold a Year 10 Roundabout Relay around Scotland, hopefully involving every single Scottish Club. Clubs from outwith Scotland will be welcome to join in sections of the row. The event will be non-competitive. It will look to pull communities together, and hopefully inspire new folk to take part in coastal rowing, and indeed promote the viability of rowing boat based tourism. Previously we have organised the Jacobite Muster (see pic) as a non competitive sharing adventure.

Cruising on Loch Shiel with the Jacobite Muster. Photo Jon Gerrard

Our broad plan at this point is to be at Scottish Fisheries Museum on 28 May 2020, with a fleet of local boats rowing from there round the Forth and down to Eyemouth, then transfer over to Annan. From there to make along the Solway and up to Stranraer. The expedition will be split down into sections, with these the first two. The next section will be up though the Clyde to Kintyre. We will need a leader for each section to undertake passage planning and to organise the skiffs that will take part in each part of each section. The Argyll section will hopefully involve Islay in some way and will go from Crinan up through Loch Melfort inside Seil and up Loch Linnhe, before curving back to Morvern and Mull, also involving clubs from Iona, Tiree and Coll. There will then be an Outer Hebrides section, before the baton comes back across Skye to meet the clubs from Wester Ross and the west coast of Sutherland. Our outline plan is to have a road transfer from the west coast of Sutherland to an Orkney section, before a section going from Wick down to the Black Isle. The next section will be along the south shore of the Moray Firth, involving the remarkable clubs from that part of the coast. A transfer across to Collieston will be followed by a trip down the east coast, till we find Broughty Ferry. Then it will be a case of rowing up the Tay as far as we can go before visiting any inland lochs that need a fleet of St Ayles skiffs, and then finishing at the SCRA AGM. The baton will be opened at the AGM, to see if it contains a message from anyone.

This is all no small undertaking, and it is almost certainly not going to be something we will be trying to repeat, at least not before our 25th Anniversary! That is really why we are setting out our rough plan now, so that we can try to gather support and funding to make it happen. We need to appoint a coordinator for each section, and want that person to be drawn from one of the clubs on that section of coast. Each section will have a completion date, rather then being prescriptive about getting to a particular point at the end of each day. Our boats are small and crews must never be under pressure to depart if the conditions are not right. If you think you could pilot a section, or would like to nominate someone who should do so, please get in contact with . Similarly if you feel you can support the event in any other way, in kind or financially, please get in touch to register your interest.

Now, back to your 2019 rowing……….

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