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SCRA Sustainability Policy 2020

The Scottish Coastal Rowing Association is developing an environmental policy and will undertake to ensure that all member clubs are aware of that policy and are committed to promoting practices within rowing that are environmentally sustainable. Coastal Rowing is in itself an environmentally friendly activity. The following wording was approved at the meeting of SCRA committee in November 2019. The committee would welcome feedback from Clubs on the wording of the policy.

* SCRA undertakes to comply with all applicable environmental legislation.
* Risks to the environment posed by SCRA and club organised events should be identified and minimised
* Escort boats should be used effectively and efficiently and maintained well to reduce emissions and pollution.
*Skiffs should be thoroughly cleaned when travelling to and from new bodies of water to prevent the accidental introduction of invasive species 
* SCRA pledges to reduce, reuse or recycle waste and dispose of waste responsibly. As far as possible single use plastics should be eliminated from our activities.
* SCRA will respect local communities and the sea, and leave no visible or lasting evidence of the skiffs’ presence. Participants are encouraged to leave the marine and coastal environment in a better condition than they find it (eg by particpating in beach cleans)
* SCRA will continue to promote its Green Flag Award to both encourage and reward good environmental practice in clubs.
*SCRA will purchase locally for events wherever possible, including food and drink, and encourages member clubs and other partners to do likewise.

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SCRA Course: Passage Planning and Expeditions, 21/23 February 2020

SCRA is organising a weekend of passage planning and plotting expeditions, on the Isle of Seil in Argyll. South of Oban, Seil is connected to the mainland by the Bridge over the Atlantic, no ferries!

The ‘course’ underpins preparations for Event Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 2020 when we are all taking part in the RowAround Scotland to celebrate ten years of the SCRA. Skiffing can be so much more than racing round the buoys and St Ayles skiffs are such great boats for cruising and exploring our stunning coastline. However, careful planning and preparation are always required.

If you are piloting a section of the RowAround, have plans for your own adventurous voyage, or wish to brush up on your seamanship skills, then join us on an Inner Hebridean island for the weekend.

There will be no cost for the weekend, apart from evening meals (the hall is steps away from a pub) and accommodation. Details of accommodation options etc will be sent to participants, but there is sleeping bag space in the hall. Register your interest with Sue, email address at the top of the events calendar page.

For further inspiration, take a look at the Cruising Log entries for 2019:

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SCRA Safety Notice 4: Bullying

The SCRA committee have received 2 incident reports during 2019 describing behaviour which they consider amounts to bullying. Such behaviour is totally unacceptable in our sport which is generally recognised as being welcoming and accessible. We regret that this behaviour has taken place, but welcome that it has been recognised and called out. One of the incidents occurred at a regatta, and it may help to remind all rowers and clubs of the following rules of racing:
 
1. Guiding Principles

1.1 Racing in events held under the rules of the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association is to be fair, safe, and enjoyable for all.

1.2 All participants are to show respect for each other and for officials at all times.

6.1 All participants must respect and honour the officials, who are essential for safe and fair competition.

Reference to a previous safety notice, may also give guidance: https://scottishcoastalrowing.org/2017/10/18/scra-safety-notice-3-racing-incidents/ 

It is for each club to decide who represents them at events. Clubs therefore need to take responsibility for the behaviour of their members, and discipline or suspend them from partaking in activities if they are unable to do so in a way that does not put others at risk of harm. Please continue to raise issues by completing an SCRA Incident Report form if you have a concern. The club involved in the above incident are rightly very concerned by their crew’s actions and behaviours during and after the race The relevant members of that crew have been sanctioned by the Club and warned that their behaviour will continue to be scrutinised internally and externally. The club is running workshops to emphasise to their crews the message of friendly competition.

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Scottish Boat Rally at the Falkirk Wheel: 23-24 May 2020

A save the date post! SCRA clubs are once again invited to join in with a canal flotilla. The Scottish Boat Rally takes place at the Falkirk Wheel, and SCRA clubs will be encouraged to row either the Forth and Clyde Canal or the Union Canal as part of the event. The event is supported by Visit Scotland’ Year of Coasts and Waters. Register your club’s interest through the “Save the Date” Page. Please make sure that you state when registering interest that your club’s boat is a Coastal Rowing Boat. There will be a limit on the number of skiffs that can take part, and once again we are indebted to Dunbar Coastal Rowing Club members for being part of the organising committee.

Remember the amazing video of skiffs in the gondolas this year?

Pic at Canal Festival 2019 – Christine Mincher

The event will also count towards RowAround Scotland….. we are wanting skiffs to cover as much freshwater as they can, as well as rowing the salty RoundAbout Routes.

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RowAround Scotland: The Special Sections

This is a call for help from SCRA clubs to achieve full coverage for RowAround Scotland. RowAround Scotland is an event that we want every SCRA and St Ayles Skiff club to take part in. It really is for everyone. We need clubs to take on special sections, side expeditions and freshwater lochs. We have Section Leaders working on passage plans for the coastal sections which in the broadest sense looks like this:

RowAround Scotland – Circum Route

However the observant amongst you will note that the main route does not go past the front doors/ harbour entrances of all SCRA member clubs. This is for practical and safety reasons and definitely does not mean that SCRA puts any less value on any single club or group of clubs. We want to treat everyone equally. Regardless of whether you are in a city centre or on a remote archipaelego or for that matter on an inland Loch, we want your club to be involved in everything we do, and specifically we want you to be involved in RowAround Scotland. We also want to bring the expedition to new waters, perhaps not yet blessed with a local St Ayles skiff club. Clubs will be anxious to know how they can help to achieve this!

Well firstly, some of the section leaders have already been appointed for our non-linear sections. So for instance we are very much hoping that in the Western Isles, all clubs will contribute to help SCRA’s Western Isles’ Rep Anna MacKenzie ensure that there is full and enthusiastic involvement in joining up the Outer Hebrides clubs, and passing the baton around the islands.

Other Island clubs might not be joined in to the route, often because of the nature of the passage to the nearest clubs. So for instance Islay, Arran and Tiree will be asked to organise some sort of passage event on or around their own islands. If weather and safety planning does permit, it would be great if these clubs could join up with the the path of the circular route, but it is not necessary…… exploring their own home waters, perhaps with guests, will be appreciated just the same and will be logged on the interactive map.

Some clubs are up an estuary or inlet, and it might not be possible to build in a full up and back journey onto the main route. We are therefore asking that some “side expeditions” be organised to join up with the roundabout route. They will be recorded on the interactive map, and will not need to be done at the same time as the circular route. The appointed section leaders may be in touch with others about these additions. One example is on the Clyde. A few months after a baton has been passed round the lower Clyde, the event will return to Greenock, and in September a baton will go from Greenock (where Royal West reside) to Dumbarton (there is a new club going to be formed in Dumbarton), where it will join Castle to Crane in order to reach Glasgow Coastal Rowing Club at Kelvin Harbour. We are looking at whether it could then go from there right up to the head of navigation of the Clyde, some 5km upstream from Glasgow Green. Other side expeditions may include on the Tay to Perth, or on the Forth to Stirling or a wee visit to the Kyle of Sutherland. Plenty of scope. If you have an idea along these lines, contact your local section leader in the first instance. As we say no need for the timing necessarily to coincide… we can add these side expeditions to the map at any time. It is good to know about them though, so that we can try to ensure that these activities don’t clash with each other. That will ensure that we have a baton available for them.

Cruising up the River Clyde during Castle to Crane Race (pic: Steve Thomson)

Finally we want to tick off as many of our Freshwater Lochs and other waters as we can. We already have clubs on some of these lochs, and other lochs are already built into the plans. So plans are already afoot to include Loch Awe, Loch Tay, Loch Lomond, St Mary’s Loch, Loch Tummel, and some canals (Forth and Clyde, Union and Crinan). However that still leaves around 30,000 freshwater lochs to choose from, the 30 biggest of which are listed on an earlier post! If your club would like to participate by bagging one of these lochs (preferably by logging the length), please get in touch with SCRA Convenor. Each new loch conquered will be recorded on the interactive map. Please though do get in touch with your plans as soon as possible and we will tell you if someone else already has a plan for that particular loch. Remember there may be other Year of Coastal Waters 2020 events planned for that Loch, and it might be a good idea to co-ordinate activities, eg see the Autumn of Endurance on Loch Ken. We are happy enough for you to start this part of the Challenge from 1 January 2020. The event as a whole will finish at the SCRA AGM at Loch Tummel, so anything achieved must be logged before 24 October 2020.

Cruising on Loch Shiel , one of 30,000 freshwater lochs in Scotland. Photo Jon Gerrard

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rowaround.scot

A reminder that the dedicated website for the RowAround Scotland 2020 has now gone live!

http://www.rowaround.scot

It has a timetable for the 13 different sections of the row, from April to October, Gretna to Loch Tummel. All the section ‘pilots’ should soon be contacting individual clubs, to see how they can best be included in the circumnavigation – SCRA would love to involve ALL clubs in the celebration of its tenth anniversary.

RowAround Scotland was recently awarded funding by Event Scotland as part of the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020 #YCW2020

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SCRA Green Flags Awarded for 2019

Scottish Coastal Rowing Association is keen to encourage best environmental practice among clubs, crews and rowers. We try to ensure that our activities are all sustainable, and where possible leave our environment in a better condition after than before. We already aim to leave all the participants in a better condition!

Every year we recognise good environmental practice by awarding SCRA Green Flags to some of our clubs. The worthy recipients of SCRA Green Flags awarded at the 2019 AGM are ….

Firth of Clyde Coastal Rowing Club (FOCCRs)

Wormit Boating Club

Queensferry Rowing Club

Stranraer CRC

Boatie Blest

Coastal rowing is, in itself, is an environmentally friendly activity.

The Scottish Coastal Rowing Association is looking at developing an environmental policy and will undertake to ensure that all member clubs are aware of that policy and are committed to promoting practices within rowing that are environmentally sustainable. In the meantime, clubs should consider the following, and feedback any comments or suggestions to the SCRA secretary:

* SCRA undertakes to comply with all applicable environmental legislation. * Safety/umpire boats should be used effectively and maintained well to reduce emissions and pollution.
*Skiffs should be thoroughly cleaned when travelling to new bodies of water to prevent the accidental introduction of invasive species 
* Risks to the environment posed by SCRA and club organised events should be identified and minimised
* SCRA pledges to reduce, reuse or recycle waste and dispose of waste responsibly. As far as possible single use plastics should be eliminated from our activities.
* SCRA will respect local communities and the sea, and leave no visible or lasting evidence of the skiffs’ presence
* SCRA will continue to promote its Green Flag Award to both encourage and reward good environmental practice in clubs.
*SCRA will purchase locally for events wherever possible, including food and drink.

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RowAround Scotland 2020

Some of the ‘pilots’ of the individual sections of the RowAround Scotland 2020 at Loch Tummel after the SCRA Freshwater Sprints.

Robbie, Sue, Kate, Matt, Topher, Alan, Wendy and Lindsay are pictured after the award of medals for the Sprints

A further nine RowAround planners from all over Scotland joined us for a meeting on the Sunday morning after the Sprints to discuss the project and begin passage planning for this ambitious circumnavigation.

The section leaders will be contacting clubs with a draft passage plan for their part of the coast. It is hoped that every one of the SCRA clubs will take part for at least one part of coast. The adventure begins on 4 April on the Solway, and the baton will complete it’s epic journey around the Scottish coast and across inland waters at Loch Tummel on 24 October. #ycw2020

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Congratulations to SCRA Cruising Log Winners 2019

SCRA had three excellent entries for the annual cruising log competition. The three described different sorts of voyages that are possible in St Ayles Skiffs. Please do the clubs concerned the honour of reading each of them! SCRA organises the competition to help inspire others, as well as making everyone aware of what our clubs are up to, and what lessons can be learned from their adventures.

Eastern ARC’s “F120 – the First Attempt” entry describes a one day voyage, but a long one, in an underused cruising area familiar many SCRA clubs. Their voyage round the Firth of Forth was broken down into three legs: North Berwick to Elie, Elie to Kinghorn, Kinghorn to Inchkeith, and Inchkeith to Portobello. The club has a fundamental aim ‘to promote exploration and adventure through rowing expeditions and travels’ . They hope to use this voyage as a stepping stone to devolping a permanatnet challenge curcuit for human powered navigation around the Firth of Forth, to be called the F120. Read Eastern’s log for more information.

An Eathar’s “Feàrlagean Na Fairge” describes a voyage on the West Coast of Lewis. The fleet for the cruise consisted of 4 St Ayles skiffs, a drake and a Sgoth Niseach, with representatives from several different clubs and continents. The descriptions are lovely, and as you would expect now from An Eathar, the photography is absolutely stunning. Read the full log on this link to another post on this site by clicking on this link.

Western Isles. Photo An Eathar.

The 2019 Winners of the SCRA Cruising Log were SCRA’s member club from the Netherlands, Woudrichem. Their voyage was a seven day long adventure on one of Europe’s Great Rivers, rowing from Passau to Vienna in one of their St Ayles Skiffs. The voyage was dedicated to the memory of one of their members who had passed away. Read the full account on the earlier post.

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SCRA Green Flag for Wormit

We would like to celebrate Wormit’s efforts to clean up the environment in the Tay estuary over the last year with an award of an SCRA Green Flag.


Wormit are a club that loves picnics and arrange picnic excursions at every opportunity. It was during one of these excursions that they found a lot of litter on one of the stony beaches up river from the club beyond Balmerino. This consisted of plastics that had been washed downriver and deposited and also cans and glass bottles left by campers. Luckily the crew had some spare bags with them and collected the litter taking it back to the club house for disposal. Now the club take black plastic bags on all excursion rows and also remove floating plastic rubbish from the river ( very good practice for manoeuvrability)! 

The photos show various club members collecting rubbish at Flisk point up river from Balmerino and Lucky Scalp ( the Island off Tayport sands towards the estuary mouth). There are also photos of members participating in a Marine Conservation Society beach clean ( we collected 67 Kg rubbish)and other members have helped with a beach clean at Balmerino  over the summer.


Many rowing members have been involved in litter collection and continue to be so. Thank you to Wormit Boating Club and congratulations on your Green Flag award from the SCRA. We are sorry that in the flurry of excitement we omitted to announce this particular green flag award at the 2019 AGM.


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