Press Release – And we will row 1,000 miles (virtually!)

RowAround Scotland 2020 celebrates multi-stage voyage online

An ambitious, multi-staged voyage set to celebrate ten 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 – a non-competitive, collaborative coastal rowing voyage around Scotland was due to commence on 4 April, with at least 1,000 rowers of all ages taking over six months to complete a 1,000-mile circumnavigation of Scotland. But with restrictions now in place due to Covid-19, the 70 plus member clubs are set to move with the tides and come together in unity online.

Participants from each leg of the planned voyage which was due to engage communities spanning a range of locations including Orkney, Anstruther, Findhorn, Wick, Wigtown Bay, Isle of Mull and Annan are now being asked to share their memories, stories and archive photos of the landscapes they would have been rowing through 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. A beacon in a sea of uncertainty.

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.

Alan Thomson, Annan Harbour Rowing Club said:

Although we don’t currently have our live event taking place, we look forward to the day when the restrictions are lifted, and we can get onboard with of our planned legs between Annan and Stranraer. The Virtual RowAround is a good distraction from current events in the real world, and is a great way to keep the clubs connected.

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 providing a valuable combination of community spirit, skills development and outdoor exercise.

In July 2019, Scotland hosted the Skiffie World Championships at Loch Ryan in Stranraer which welcomed participants and spectators from across the globe. The world championships are held every three years with Stranraer winning the competitive bidding process to stage the event in 2019.

Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 2020
  • Following an industry consultation, the Themed Years now take place every second year to enable more time for planning and opportunities for collaboration.
  • 2020 was designated as Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters.
  • The year, led by VisitScotland, aims to sustain and build upon the momentum of Scotland’s preceding Themed Years to spotlight and celebrate Scotland’s unrivalled Coasts and Waters, inspiring future visits, as well as encouraging responsible engagement.
  • The events programme that was designed to celebrate the year is currently subject to cancellation and postponement in line with current government advice in relation to Covid-19.
  • The Year of Coasts and Waters 2020 is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Historic Environment Scotland, Marine Scotland, National Trust for Scotland, National Lottery Heritage Fund, Sail Scotland, Scottish Canals, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Government, Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Water and Scottish Tourism Alliance.
  • We can continue to celebrate all our favourite Coasts and Waters locations and experiences by joining the conversation using #YCW2020