Festivals, regattas and more traditional skiffs being built

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Shorter winter days are giving Stornoway Rowing Club breathing space, after a hectic circuit of maritime festivals and regular club nights in Stornoway hoil.

The St Ayles Skiff Madadh Ruadh, built in Stornoway in 2010, as part of the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association initiative, is now in storage until the spring.

Members would like to record their gratitude to the anonymous supporter, who donated funds to buy the custom built trailer, which enabled members to travel with the skiff to represent Stornoway at many events this season.

First trip was to Traigh Mhòr Tolsta for the May Day excursion, the Tolsta community have now taken delivery of their own St Ayles Skiff kit and their boat is under construction this winter.

In early June at the Portsoy Traditional Boat Festival, Stornoway teams of four rowers and a cox competed against another seven St Ayles skiffs crews, which included a skiff from Holland.

In July Isle of Lewis teams were at Ullapool Regatta and the skiff played a part in events at Sail Stornoway and Tatu Innse Gall at the home port.

The Stornoway Skiff supported An Eathar’s Summer Festival of Rowing on Loch a Bhaile in Shawbost in July and earlier this month during the Winter Festival.

On Loch a Bhaile more than 40 rowers and coxes were put through their paces by Ali Grant from Portobello Rowing Club. The Shawbost St Ayles Skiff build is well underway at An Seann Sgoile.

Early in September a Stornoway team travelled to Barra for the launch of the second skiff in the Hebrides. Cismul was built by An Croitear Og group in Castlebay.

There are at least four skiffs under construction locally, Tolsta, Shawbost, North Uist and at the Nicolson Institute, Stornoway.

Winter maintenance and fundraising for road and ferry trips, was top of the agenda at the Stornoway Rowing Club AGM last Monday the 24th November.

Stornoway rowers will travel to mainland regattas and attend maritime events closer to home, with new Hebridean rowing clubs emerging during 2015.