Rowing is now in its sixth year on Arran and was the inspiration of Angus Campbell, who is sadly no longer with us. The first skiff was built at Arran High School. The project was overseen by a retired old geezer of many talents, Rory Cowan, and the wonderfully dodgy technician, Steve Garraway. Iolair was finally launched on 19 September 2015. Due to its success, a second skiff was built, again at the High School, on behalf of and financed by the Arran Junior Sailing Club. Following ‘Paintgate’ Seabhag was varnished and launched on 17 August 2016.
Monday dawned a beautiful sunny calm day and ten of our rowers decided that, rather than tow the two skiffs on the trailer, we would row them round to Lochranza from Lamlash where they are kept at the yacht club. This would also count as part of another row around Arran which we will complete another day.
We set off from Lamlash at lunchtime and went via Brodick and continued on round to Sannox beach where we had a refreshment break before continuing on to the pontoon at Lochranza. We arrived in plenty of time to meet Royal West, to collect the baton and pay the Distillery a visit. This was purely for medicinal purposes in order to keep our spirits up for tomorrow.
Fritzi, Rory, Cil, Jill and Karen talk about why they enjoy Coastal Rowing
How do you feel when you are out on the water?
- Excited, very happy and content. I just love being out with the skiff.
- Different pace of life – a chance to enjoy the moment.
- Calm, relaxed, excited. Depends what I am doing, social or regatta. It is altogether a wonderful experience and have met some amazing people.
- No other feeling like it, the peace, the lovely company and good exercise.
- Well, this depends but in general, on social rows I feel able to forget about any daily stress and feel relaxed – but not so much when regatta rowing!.
Who got you into Coastal Rowing?
- Angus Campbell, who sadly is not with us any more, ‘infected’ me with his enthusiasm.
- Iain Oughtred – he designed the boat and I have long been a fan of his designs having built five of them. The St Ayles Skiff is a good compromise between what is seaworthy, quick and comfortable and does not have too many crew.
- Steve Garraway. I was there when the first skiff had its trial launch. It was a beautiful September evening in Lamlash Bay and it looked wonderful!
- Rory Cowan, who else?
- My friend Ann, a member of Glasgow, said she rowed in Glasgow. I somehow didn’t know about, or pay attention to our club on Arran. I went out for a tryout row and joined straight away. I was helped also by our encouraging members at the time.
What do you love about these coasts and waters?