Launch of a new vessel by Eathar Coastal Rowing Club

Shawbost's school pupils visit An Eathar Coastal Rowing Club's boat as it is constructed at Shawbost Old School.
Shawbost's school pupils visit An Eathar Coastal Rowing Club's boat as it is constructed at Shawbost Old School.

An Eathar Rowing Club based in Siabost, Lewis will launch the Yackydoola, a 22ft St Ayles skiff from the Siabost Bho Dheas shore carpark onto the freshwater Loch a’Bhaile on Wednesday July 15th.

The Yackydoola takes a crew of four rowers and a cox. It is the first boat to be built in Siabost in many decades or perhaps even in centuries.

An Eathar CRC has been busy boat building and reviving sea going skills, once widespread in the community these have been largely lost in this modern era.

To celebrate their achievements so far they will be joined by other rowing clubs and their boats making a rare spectacle of a small fleet of four oared rowing boats, with An Eathar CRC, Row Porty from Edinburgh, Stornoway CRC and Barra CRC currently expected to attend.

The Yackydoola has been named after a boat of the same name that appears in a locally penned Gaelic song written by Kenneth Macleod in the 1920’s or 30’s.

Where fishermen from Siabost got the name from is an interesting question - as it bears some similarity to the chorus of a Hawaiian love song recorded by Al Jolson and Bing Crosby around that time: Yaaka hula hickey dula.

The launch will be the start of a four day programme in celebration of these vessels.

An Eathar CRC’s boat the Yackydoola will also appear at the Sail Stornoway festival alongside other traditional vessels such as An Sulaire and other vessels in the care of the Falmadair, the North Lewis Maritime Society.


Wednesday 15th July (an occasion for all - please come - rowing activities suitable for some novice rowers)

9.30 AM Gather at Siabost Old School with skiffs to avoid jam at shore.

10.00 AM Freshwater launch of An Eathar’s new skiff

12.30 PM Lunch with all the happy community in the old school.

Dep 2.30pm Leaving Siabost for Stornoway.

3.30 for 4PM Formal launch of CnES skiff Saorsa followed by Sail Stornoway opening parade of oar and sail. Skiffs and old dipping lug sail boats all together.

Evening. 8pm Falmadair Dipping Lug Sailing boat Ceilidh at Sea Angling Club Stornoway.

Thursday 16th July (activity suited to rowers with experience only)

Assemble old school Siabost 8.15 AM

Rowing and Sailing on Lochs Leurbost and Eireasort.

9.00AM Depart Siabost for Crossbost for 9.45 AM launch.

10AM-1PM First session - rowing crews depart from Crossbost First sailing crew depart from Ceos

Scenic sea loch touring in the romantic Hebridean sea lochs via Barkin Isles and St Columbus Island to be met by An Sulaire dipping lug sail Sgoth Niseach travelling from Ceos.

1-2.00PM Picnic with your packed lunch.

2-5.00PM Second session -rowing and sailing crews

Friday 17th July (activity suited to rowers with experience only)

Rowing from Carloway to Bostadh beach on Bernera.

9AM Meet at Old School Siabost 9.15AM Depart for Carloway

9.45 First shift rowing crews set out from Carloway.

1-2.00 PM Picnic with your packed lunch.

2-5.00 PM Second shift rowing crews.

Beach and island paradise of Loch Roag. Wildlife, Iron Age reconstructed house on fantastic Bosta beach. It is basking shark season and we could get lucky.

SAIL STORNOWAY Dipping lug sailing from Stornoway harbour with An Sulaire, Jubilee and Broadbay. Sailings at 10.30AM, 2.00PM, 4.30PM

Cultural visits shift - Morning visit to Harris Tweed Mill. Afternoon visits to Norse Mill and Arnol Blackhouse with local experts Dr Finlay Macleod and blacksmith Angus Macleod.


8pm Ceilidh in the Old School, Shawbost with The Ness Melodeon Band

Saturday 18th July (activity suited to complete beginners and families)

10AM -12AM & 2PM – 4PM Taster and family rowing sessions on the nearby freshwater Loch a’ Bhaile. Rowers may be asked to do an hour of crewing so we can take local novices out for 20 minute sessions. Possibly a few short races in the afternoon if there is demand.

12.30-2.00PM Lunch at Old School Community Centre, Siabost

Possible self facilitated visits: world famous Callanish Standing Stones; The Doune Broch; Arnol Black house museum; The Norse Mill, coastal walks; Whalebone Arch, Bragar, Gearrannan Blackhouse Village, museums in the old Shawbost School and also Old School Carloway.