An ambitious voyage set to celebrate 10 years of the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association and Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 2020 will now be celebrated as a cyber circumnavigation – until the time is right for participants to venture back out in their St Ayles Skiff rowing boats.
RowAround Scotland 2020 was due to begin on Saturday April 4, with at least 1,000 rowers of all ages taking over six months to complete a 1,000-mile trip around Scotland.
Participants from each leg of the planned voyage, which was due to engage communities spanning a range of locations including Anstruther, Findhorn, Wick, Wigtown Bay, the Isle of Mull, Annan and Orkney, are now being asked to share their memories, stories and archive photos of the landscapes they would have been rowing online.
The content, which will also share stories on each of the crews and clubs, will be published on www.rowaround.scot over the forthcoming months to keep the excitement, pride and community spirit flowing.
Sue Fenton, RowAround Scotland 2020 event organiser, said: “Our Virtual RowAround Scotland 2020 is all about creating an opportunity from a disappointment, as well as celebrating ten years of the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association and Scotland’s celebratory themed year in a different way.
“As coastal rowers, we are well primed to expect the unexpected and we are hopeful that we can pick up the live voyage when the time is right to do so.
“However, for now it’s about bringing communities together, sharing stories and trying to recreate that camaraderie of being all-at-sea together, through our dedicated website.”
The St Ayles skiff – a small boat which fits four rowers and a cox – was first designed as a demonstration project for the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Fife in 2009 by Iain Oughtred, an expert in historic boats and an internationally regarded boat builder.
Boat kit manufacturer Alec Jordan then took the prototype to various places around Scotland for clubs and community groups to have a try, re-introducing a sport inspired by traditional Scottish craft, used by miners on the Forth in friendly competition until the 1950s.
Based on a boat from Fair Isle, which was used routinely for fishing and trips to nearby Shetland and Orkney, the St Ayles skiff is built by the communities that use them.
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