Lossiemouth Coastal Rowing Club was established in 2017 and launched it’s first St Ayles skiff, Loxa, in 2018. They are lucky in that they are able to get out and train between the two harbours in all but the most extreme of conditions! Loxa is the Roman name for the River Lossie.
We happened to be in Ullapool when they had one of the first skiff regattas there, about eight years ago, and it really appealed to me. When I heard some people were getting a club together to build a skiff to row I went along to the meeting and got involved! Before that I hadn’t really done much rowing at all – dinghies when sailing and rowing machine in the gym! – Anji
It is just over six miles to Spey Bay, a relatively straightforward row from Lossiemouth harbour. Since it was high tide and there was plenty of time, we took a slight detour into the mouth or the River Lossie to see the iconic bridge to the East Beach.
Unfortunately this has been closed due to storm damage, since July 2019 and it is looking unlikely that it will be reopened before summer 2021. This beautiful beach is now pretty much deserted as a consequence, unless the odd surfer or two paddles their board across the river.
After this, we head back and follow the beach eastward, keeping a safe distance from the shore to avoid the breakers. For the first mile or so, it is beautiful white sand, then the pebbles, carried down the mighty River Spey, gradually build up. The Spey is a famous salmon fishing river; Speyside is home of more whisky distilleries than anywhere else in Scotland! At the river mouth is a Whale and Dolphin Conservation Centre – a lovely place for a walk with a chance to see osprey, seals and the occasional otter as well as … dolphins!
The main navigational hazard is the Boars Head Rock which extends outwards from the beach on the west side of Bin Hill, but well covered at high tide. As Loxa approached the River Spey, it became obvious that there was no way we would be able to safely land through the swell and surf. The baton was passed over to the support boat to hand on to Findochty tomorrow and Loxa turned to row back to Lossiemouth.