The village of Golspie can trace its name back to the times of the Vikings, it means ‘Gully Village’ possibly due to early settlers living near or around the gully to the north of the village through which the Big Burn runs. Golspie, like so many highland coastal villages, was once a thriving fishing port with an active crofting community but sadly not today.
Golspie is, of course, the home of Golspie Rowing Club. The club’s founding member, Campbell Port, sadly missed but fondly remembered, started Golspie Rowing Club in 2014. Here are some words from his wife, Christine: ‘Campbell was in the Sea Scouts & Clyde Rowing Club in his teens. He also loved sailing and anything to do with being on the water. He had seen the skiffs in Helmsdale Harbour & thought that this was something that could be done in Golspie. One night, on the way back from a fishing trip in Caithness, he turned into Helmsdale Harbour to show Ross & Bruce the skiffs. They thought it was a great idea.
Campbell then sought funding from Kilbraur Wind Farm to buy & build two skiffs. A team of six or seven was formed to build a skiff and a suitable premises big enough where the skiff could be built. Building the skiff and being involved in the rowing club was so important to him. He wasn’t part of the building of the skiff, he was more involved in gaining funding & ordering the building kit & plans. Even at the age of 70+ he could be out on the water as coxswain when he was no longer able to row. He loved going to the regattas & the camaraderie of being part of the team.’
The names of the skiffs were taken from the names of boats in the fishing fleet which was based at Golspie in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. These fishing boats being named after two prominent hills overlooking the village, Ben Bhraggie and Silver Rock.
Lindsay: Whilst being the Pilot for the far north east section of the RowAround, I cannot hide the fact that I am very happy and proud to belong to Golspie and I can’t go on without me saying a little something about the club. I am very grateful to one of our lady members (who shall remain nameless) who at a dance one evening asked me if I would like to come along and try rowing and the rest, as they say, is history, I was not around for the build but I wish I had been and I am so grateful for the boat builders’ dedicated time and effort in building our two boats and giving me a pastime that I enjoy so much. Around the country in every club, dedicated groups of people have and continue to work so hard for our pleasure. Thanks.
In the short time I have been a member of Golspie I have had some memorable times but I think being onshore when our mixed 50+ crew became world champs in Stranraer last year and club finishing 14th in the world would be hard to beat (unless we do better at the next SkiffieWorlds). I have made a lot of new friends and seen a lot of the country that I hadn’t been to before and may never have gone to, travelling around to regattas and events. As long as I am able to, I hope to continue rowing, being a cox, umpiring or just being around to support this pastime that I so enjoy.