Coastal Rowing in Viral Times


Lets not pretend that we are happy about not being able to carry on with our normal sporting lives during Covid-19 lockdown. Coastal Rowing in Fixed Seat Boats has boomed in Scotland over the last 10 years based on close social contact, welcoming new people into our clubs, working closely together to build boats and row them, and travelling to other communities to meet friends old and new . We love it, and are frustrated that we cannot currently do it! It has been a great journey, but exactly the things that are so enjoyable and the strengths of our sport are the very things which we must not currently do. Bide at home to keep your communities safe. We remember that many are making real sacrifices to help our communities, and others still are very ill or have suffered losses. We salute you and them by keeping our boats on the shore.

So what can we do in the meantime? Well you will be glad to know that the SCRA committee are well used to holding their meetings on line! We always do that because our committee is deliberately representative of all the regions, with reps from South West, Argyll, North West, Western Isles, North East, Fife and South East, and it is always easier to get together as a group on line than it is in person, much as we love doing the latter. We will keep meeting, and try to help plan for the elusive exit strategy, as we receive more information. In the meantime we are keeping the Calendar of Events up to date, and keeping going with RowAround Scotland, all be it virtually for the time being. So what can clubs and rowers do whilst their boat are keeping their keels dry…..?

An SCRA committee Meeting on the go…. bring your own tea and buns.

Here are a few ideas:

  1. Follow RowAround Scotland, both the RowAround virtual map and the RowAround Facebook Page. Give it a like to find it easier to follow! Also available on twitter and instagram.
RowAround Scotland (Image Jon Gerrard)

2. Get yourself ready to go rowing as soon as you can! Check your lifejacket. Wash that kit that has been lying at the bottom of the laundry basket since Castle to Crane 2019. If it can be done whilst still socially isolating, do any little bits of maintenance to skiffs and oars.

3. Stay Fit! We can all do something to ensure we keep our fitness, and to encourage club mates to do the same. Some are using rowing machines or bikes to keep up with RowAround Scotland, but lots can be done with walking, running or cycling.

4. Organise virtual club activities. Shona from Anstruther tells us what her club have been up to:

“In association with the Boats Club, Elsie and Joan have been putting a weekly newsletter out to the members of the club and the Scottish Fisheries Museum. Just with little tit bits of news and updates. Keep fit – one of our members has generously donated her time to put on free Zoom classes 6 days a week – open to the rowing club and others in the local community. A Quiz night was a great way to pass an hour or two with friends and was such a laugh. we tried it with Messenger and are hoping to have more fun nights but will be trying Zoom (there are other Platforms and Apps available) next time, as it should be less restrictive. We realise that it does take a bit of commitment from those involved but is really no more than any other aspect of running a club.  It’s just about being creative and thinking outside the box. And anything that can keep us active (in body and mind) at the moment is bound to be a good thing.”

And Ali describes RowPorty’s lockdown continuity:

“Our Stroke Development group have devised ‘mindful rowing sessions’, framed around the SCRA training videos and requiring nothing more than a kitchen chair, a broom handle and a bit of focus. Shut your eyes, get rowing, dream of beautiful places and you never know where you’ll end up – probably still in your kitchen, but you’ll keep up your skills. Thanks to our club’s kayaking contingent, some of whom also row, members have been able to ‘zoom in’ on sessions about tides, trip planning and safety-related issues. Our inventive club members have also put social media platform, Zoom, to good use by setting up a weekly “literary salon”, where members come prepared with a piece of prose or a poem, including self-penned, and read these to others. Themes so far have included “Whatever the Weather”, “Boats, Boats, Boats” and “Beaches, Shores, Coasts”.Themed quizzes have also entertained members. We have a member who is doing the Row Around Scotland, from the comfort of their living room, replicating the sea miles on a rowing machine and documenting their progress with photographs of landmarks they have reached.”

Row Porty is part of Portobello Sailing & Kayaking Club and drawing on the ideas and skills across all our club disciplines is a great way of maintaining community focus and keeping members engaged. A lot of skiff clubs may not be part of something bigger, but it might be worth reaching out (virtually of course) to other clubs in your area and seeing if there’s anything you can do together. Whatever you do, be safe.

5. But don’t worry if your club are not in fact doing this sort of stuff….. we are rowing clubs, and some may find that waiting for the rowing to start is the thing to do!

6. Get your crew together for Castle to Crane 2020. We are very much hoping that we will be able to run this popular event, and entries are now open! Give yourself something to look forward to, and something to get fit for!

7. Check on your clubmates and other folk in your community. Someone you have not heard from for a wee while? See how they are…. and by all means send them this link. It is the people who make Scottish Coastal Rowing, people who look our for each other and care about their communities.

8. Follow and comment on Scottish Coastal Rowings extensive Social Media… keep sharing the good news:

Scottish Coastal Rowing Facebook Group – Our Forum with over 2000 Members

RowAround Scotland Facebook and Instagram

SCRA Official Facebook Page and Instagram #Scottishcoastalrowing

We Love Coastal Rowing

Castle to Crane 2019 (photo Steve Thomson). See you in September.

Looking forward to seeing you on the other side, but in the meantime stay safe and keep in touch.

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