The day of our leg of the RowAround Scotland dawned, not bright and sunny but at least it was still and dry! The St Ayles Rowing Club (Anstruther) had been so looking forward to launching our skiffs and rowing the 1.5 miles from Anstruther to Pittenweem but Covid-19 had other plans! However, in true Anster style we were not to be defeated and were determined to get the beautiful baton to Pittenweem by water as had been intended. So at 10.45, a flotilla of kayaks, manned by St Ayles club members, gathered on Anstruther Beach to escort the baton which was being safely carried on the water in Davey Tod’s boat, Braveheart. Also accompanying the armada was Richard Wemyss’ restored wooden fishing boat, Fruitful. On land, more club members, and Babs’ spaniels, gave their support by walking along The Fife Coastal Path to Pittenweem.
It was smooth sailing along the coastline for all and it was great to see the club camaraderie in action; the kayaking club members were clearly enjoying being back out on the water together again. Our little convoy arrived in the ancient fishing harbour at Pittenweem, with the kayakers leading Braveheart and the baton in and Fruitful gracefully following behind.
The baton was then handed over to the rowers from Pittenweem, ready for the next leg of its adventure around Scotland. The adapted event was finished off with a fabulous, socially distanced, BBQ giving everyone the chance for a good blether! Even though it wasn’t the day we had all hoped for, everyone had a great time and we are all looking forward to getting back on the water, hopefully in the not too distant future!
The St Ayles Rowing Club
The club was established in May 2010 and has three skiffs; Chris o’ Kanaird (number 00) is the prototype built in 2009; we didn’t choose the name or colour (white, with a dark blue sheer strake). The Chris is named after Chris Perkins, from Kanaird near Ullapool, who helped Alec Jordan with the build of this prototype skiff, which is now owned by the Scottish Fisheries Museum as part of its Recognised Collection but rowed by the club.
However, our second and third skiff names were chosen by the Club. St Ayles (number 11) was the obvious choice. Coull D (59) was named after Coull Deas MBE, now 95, for all his help and support to the club.
The name St Ayles, of course, comes from the 16th century chapel which stood around the site of the current Scottish Fisheries Museum courtyard, and gave its name to the St Ayles skiff.
What Elsie says about Coastal Rowing:
I love the water, it’s in my blood.
I got into rowing through my Dad, brother and nephew who were already enthusing about this new skiff. I eventually saw a photo and decided I wanted to have a go and see how I liked it …
Our part of the coast is home and the constantly changing conditions makes every row a different experience which is great.