Tour the Norfolk Broads 29 June to 3 July 2020

Coastal Rowing Association of Blakeney invites other St Ayles clubs to join them for a tour of the Norfolk Broads from 29 June to 3 July.

The previous such tour was back in 2014 and was fun, sociable and involved a good deal of rowing in interesting, but untaxing water. The plan is to row from place to place. Transport will be provided to get to and from the boats. There will be sessions in the pub, picnics, a barbecue and a dinner for all participants. No races unless people want one ( Last time they did and we had 2).

The Norfolk Broads is an area of meandering rivers and lakes famous for its wildlife.Some spare seats may be available, if participants struggle to bring a full crew and a skiff. Camping, self catering and b&b accommodation is available. It would be possible to combine the tour with the Round Canvey Island race on Saturday 4th July for anyone with ambitions to row in the Thames Estuary.

For more information and to enter please contact Adrian Hodge soonish:

See the report from the 2014 tour by clicking here.

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Is anyone interested in joining a Regatta Organiser’s course? This event was very popular when it was last held it in 2016 and this time will be held at the Eco Centre near Kinghorn in Fife.

The outline plan is to have a workshop on Saturday 7th March, looking at such matters as categories, courses, racing rules, umpiring, starts, taking entries, results, publicity… anything else you will need to know to run a successful event. Hopefully, having done some planning the day before, we can hold a successful and enjoyable mini-regatta the next morning Sunday 8th.   Dependent on the numbers wishing to attend we will try to accommodate a limit of 2 per club.

There is plenty of accommodation in airbnbs, hotels, B&Bs and a camp site close by for those willing to travel and also good rail and bus links to Edinburgh, St Andrews, Perth and Dundee, only 45 min away.

The cost of the course for the two days will be £20 per head which will include your lunch of soup and a sandwich and we will also arrange refreshments of teas/ coffees.

To book your space on this course please contact by the 5th February and ensure that you put “Regatta Organisers Course” in the subject line.

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A Look Ahead to the Scottish Coastal Rowing Season 2020

Wishing you all a happy new year and a happy new rowing Season. And it all kicks off fairly soon with two events in January: The Nairn Coastal Rowing Club River Regatta takes place on 11 January and will see 9 local clubs from the North East Region getting together for a series of races. Also in January in Fife the Kinghorn Frostbite Regatta is back again on 19 January, with six clubs squeezing into the tiny Kinghorn Loch for an early season get together.

Kinghorn Frostbite Regatta

The great variety of regattas and events makes Scottish Coastal Rowing so enjoyable. We try to list them all on our 2020 Events Guide, so do refer to that when planning your year ahead, and please make sure that your own events are included in it as soon as possible so that others can set the dates aside, and can plan other events around them to avoid local clashes. Finally it is great for the outside world to see just how much SCRA and its clubs put on for the benefit of communities around Scotland and beyond. There are already over 30 events listed around our coast. Something for everyone and more besides. We are delighted to be supporting and supported by Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters.

There is no Skiffieworlds in 2020, which gives an opportunity for clubs to spread their wings and go to other new regattas. Lets all try to bring in new rowers, and encourage them to take part in regattas.

There is of course a major event going on throughout 2020: RowAround Scotland. The aim with that event is to join up every one of our 70+ SCRA clubs. It is an event for everyone to take part in. Keep up with progress on the RowAround website, and contact your local Section Pilot to ensure that your club is included. There are some special sections on the RowAround, which are not on the circular route. Some of these special sections are also on the events calendar, including Loch Lomond, Loch Katrine, the Lowland Canals for the Falkirk Flotilla, Firth of Tay and of course Castle to Crane which takes place on 19 September. Castle to Crane is open to all classes of fixed seat coastal rowing boat, and we hope to welcome many visitors from around UK, Ireland and mainland Europe in Cornish Pilot gigs, Celtic Longboats, Shetland Yoals, Harkers Yard Gigs, East Coast skiffs….. it is what floats our boat.

Castle to Crane

Every region has its own events on the Events page already, perhaps with more to come. The Western Isles is one of the biggest growth areas in Scottish Coastal Rowing with seven groups already involved and at least one ore skiff in build. So far we have Lochboisdale Harbour Regatta on 22/23 May; Stornoway Rowing Club Regatta on 29/30 May, and Isle of Harris Festival of the Sea on 1 August.

Eskmuthe Regatta
Eskmuthe Regatta Start Line

The South East has Newhaven’s Forth Midsummer Challenge on 13 June, Eastern Leading a long distance route challenge around the Forth, the F120, Queensferry Regatta and on 22 August, and North Berwick Regatta on 29 August. Fife meantime has a new event at Kinghorn on 15/16 August, in tribute to the Miners who built and raced their own boats in the area, and gave some of the inspiration to the Scottish Coastal Rowing Project. There are events listed in the North East for Portsoy, Cromarty, Avoch, Broughty Ferry and Golspie. The South West has Stranraer’s multi lane regatta on 18/19 July as well as events at Royal West, Arran, Troon, Prestwick, Largs and Dumbarton. The Bell Ringers’ Raid makes a comeback to Annan. South West clubs are either the busiest or the best organised in getting their events into the diary.

North West and Argyll have events lined up at Sheildaig, Orkney and Loch Awe so far. Hopefully more to come. The big Ullapool Multilane regatta is already oversubscribed.

Skiffieworlds2013 at Ullapool

Please do let us know when and where the events are going to be so that we can get them onto the calendar. It is great that so many clubs are holding regattas. We are a growing sport, and we need to make sure their are events for all the new clubs and new members to take part in. We are so big that there is little prospect of getting all the clubs together, apart from perhaps at Castle to Crane. Our new clubs and new members will welcome small events for local clubs, and should hopefully be organising such events too. Some of our popular regattas are already oversubscribed or restricted now to invitations to local clubs. SCRA is holding an Regatta Organiser Course at Kinghorn on 7 and 8 March. Get that into your diary if you would like to improve your regatta or start a new one that others can attend.

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Happy New Year Scottish Coastal Rowing

Scottish Coastal rowing wishes all its clubs, participants and supporters a Happy New Year for 2020.

What a fantastic year 2019 was…. but let’s firstly celebrate the end of a fabulous decade. Ten years ago the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association did not exist, although the project that proceeded it was well established by Hogmanay 2009, with the prototype “Chris O’Kanaird” (Skiff 00) launched, and community builds underway or about to start in Ullapool, Coigach, Portobello, Port Seton, North Berwick, Eyemouth, Dunbar, Inverclyde, St Abbs and Newhaven. Thank you to all those who had faith at the start and put so much effort into starting their clubs and inspiring others to do likewise. Thank you to those that have come on board with Scottish Coastal Rowing since, making a fabulous and welcoming community. There were six skiffs at the first Regatta at Anstruther in May 2010. Thanks to the hard work and enthusiasm of many, first around Scotland and then around the world, there are now over 250 skiffs launched. If you have built a skiff, and are aware of the effort involved in building your skiff and building your community, and of course aware of the rewards that come with that….just take a moment to multiply that by 250, and reflect on what a massive amount has been achieved in the last 10 years!

So how was 2019 for you? Welcome to the new clubs and Skiffs. Montrose Coastal Rowing launched their first skiff this year, and further skiffs were launched by Glasgow, Deveron, Collieston, Renegade and KIDS (Loch Awe). Internationally the first St Ayles skiff for Africa was launched at Hout Bay Yacht Club, and the first Californian Skiff also took to the water. Welcome to those who have been building but not quite yet launched. We look forward to seeing you on the water in 2020.

2019 gave plenty of opportunity for Scottish clubs to take part in competition, with a youth series as well as plenty of club regattas, which are the main building blocks of what brings us together. Thank you in particular to Strathpeffer and to Morvern who each organised events for the first time. Many favourites were back again for us to enjoy in 2019, including Ullapool Regatta, the Black Isle Regatta, North Berwick, Arran, Port Seton. So many that we cannot mention them all and it is not possible to attend them all. However they are all appreciated by those who take part. There are over 30 events in our diary for next year. We will publish a preview soon. Where will you go to make new friends, pull hard with and against old ones, and generally have a great time?

SkiffieWorlds 2019

There was of course one stand out event in 2019, which was SkiffieWorlds 2019 at Stranraer. Over 1500 athletes from all around the world, racing in over 700 crews, in over 100 races in a packed schedule on Loch Ryan. The economic impact was estimated at between £3.5million and £4million, but even that is less than the social impact. We were made to feel so welcome by the town of Stranraer. And of course we celebrate the (accepted) marriage proposal which was the icing on the cake of a fantatic week.

So thank you all for making 2019 a special year. We raise a glass with you to 2020.

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Winter Rowing – Queensferry Solstice

Thanks to Donal Ferrie of Queensferry Rowing Club for sharing the pictures of Queensferry out for their winter solstice row. Although the evenings are dark, there is plenty of daytime rowing going on when the conditions allow. Share your own winter rowing with over 2000 coastal rowers on the Scottish Coastal Rowing Facebook Group.

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Happy Christmas 2019 from SCRA

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SCRA Sustainability Policy 2020

The Scottish Coastal Rowing Association has developed the following 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.

* 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: 

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 by e mailing Bob Fleet of Dunbar Coastal Rowing Club. 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. There will be a variety of possible starting points for the rally. With luck we will be able to add, three different stretches of the canals to the RowAround Scotland map.

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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