But how did we get here?
A brief history:
The idea of a Coastal Rowing Club for Burntisland was first floated with the town’s community at a public meeting on 30 January 2019. It had been discussed informally by the local sailing club, looking to broaden their community appeal, and by residents of the town active in neighbouring skiff clubs, in particular Kinghorn. The 65 people attending the first open meeting unanimously backed the idea and soon formed a steering group to make it happen.
The next few months saw work by three sub-groups of local people on building a club, building the funds and building a skiff. This came together on 1 August 2019 with the adoption of a constitution for a new skiff club, Black Rocks Rowing Club.
The club took its name by member choice from the prominent rocks at the end of Pettycur Beach that command access into Burntisland Bay and beach.
By the end of the year funding for a kit was secured and a barn found, thanks to the generosity of a local resident, in which to build our skiff.
19 local people have already played a role in the boat building which had reached the point of stems and stern posts glued up ready for the keel when Covid brought things to a halt in March 2020.
Why Rowing in Burntisland?
We have no boat on the water as yet but we have the experience of members who row with other clubs. They have the infectious enthusiasm for a skiff for our own town, knowing that we can row for fitness, as part of a skiffie community and the joy of being out on the water for as long as we like.
Members have come to it from hugely varied backgrounds and interests: sailing and wanting to try something different; the chance to build a boat; a desire to improve personal fitness; to row with others; to get back to a sport and even competition once enjoyed in younger years; and specifically to help actual or potential sufferers of Type 2 Diabetes with active preventive therapy. This last comes out of a collaboration with a new local charity who will recruit new skiffies at risk of the condition.
Burntisland’s position at the centre of the Forth provides great rowing waters with an all tides harbour, good shelter from east, north and west weather when needed, and islands such as Inckeith and Inchcolm with immense historic and natural history interest. Dolphins, seals, otters and occasionally whales habit these waters where a rowing boat provides a wonderful platform to see them from. We are also close to many other Forth skiff clubs, a number of whom have shown Black Rocks the good will, practical help, encouragement and solidarity that pervades the Scottish coastal rowing communities.
Black Rocks transported the baton from Burntisland to Dalgety Bay, a sea journey of around 5 miles. Joel Mason, club chair, RowAround Scotland Poet-in-Residence and many other talents, took the baton aboard the Burntisland Flyer, a vintage Indian electric bike, just one of his many inventions, for its first night in the town.
Next day, the leg to Dalgety Bay, set off with another invention, the Rolling Rowing Machine, powered by Joel and coxed by Chris. Watch it on Facebook here
It was a great start, even if the first corner was a little challenging. However Brian, Chris and Chris M then took to the Fife Coastal Path on foot, escorted on four feet by Islay.
Last week’s storm had partly washed away the Starleyburn Bridge but hasty repairs by Fife Coast & Countryside Trust had reopened the path. At Aberdour, Elisa joined us and then en route to Dalgety Bay, David from the fledgling Aberdour skiff project joined in together with another four feet.
Finlay, and 13 month old Lily, also joined in for the last leg to the Donibristle House Quay at Dalgety Bay, where a warm greeting was waiting from North Queensferry CRC.
Here we concluded with a double handover, from Black Rocks to Aberdour and then Aberdour to North Queensferry.
All very virtual, but little did we now that at that very moment a virtual SCRA committee was putting the finishing touches to an announcement that is to get us all back on the water.
Next year we’ll be back again for RowAround Scotland for Real in a Black Rocks Skiff – fingers crossed.