Queensferry rowing club celebrates 10th anniversary
The Queensferry coastal rowing club is to celebrate the 10th anniversary of launching its first St Ayles Skiff in the shadow of the Forth bridges.
The boat is one of hundreds built by local communities across Scotland from a kit with roots at the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther, whose relatively simple design has spread as far afield as the US, Canada and Australia.
Club Captain Dónal Ferrie said he is looking forward to the celebration after such a turbulent year.
“It’s an honour to be captain for the 10th anniversary,” he said.
“But it’s a different type of year to be captain. There's not the same kind of things happening and we can’t do what we would normally like do for a 10th anniversary.”
Members of the club usually meet twice a week for social rowing throughout the year, as well as travelling all over Scotland and abroad to take part in competitive races.
But Covid-19 has suspended activity, aside from a brief return at the end of the summer.
The youth crew has been able to re-start training recently in the wake of an easing of restrictions, and the rest of the club hope to be able to return on May 17, when the rules are set to be relaxed further.
Mr Ferrie hopes club members will be able to hold a 10th anniversary gathering in retrospect when it is allowed.
"We’re looking into it,” he said.
“We look forward to the fact that we might be able to come together to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the club, because that's something that's been missing over the last six months – we haven't been able to come together for anything.
"So once we're given the go ahead by the Scottish Government to mingle again that would be nice. It could be that we have something outside, like we did with a barbecue a few years ago, or if we’re allowed to meet inside we might plan a ceilidh or something.”
The club has strong links to the local community, Mr Ferrie said, and he hopes this will continue. It is affiliated to several local groups, and members take part in the Ferry Fair Parade every year.
“We're a community club, and we like to get the community involved,” he said.
"We have a community race every year in honour of the founding member and first vice captain Alan Meldrum. People come along and have a go, even those who have never rowed before.”
The Ferry Lass, the first skiff built by club members, was launched on April 17, 2011, just under a year after the umbrella organisation the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association (SCRA) was formed.
In 2012 the club launched a second boat, the Ferry Maid.
There are more than 100 members of the club now, Mr Ferrie said, who range in ages from 12 to over 80.
"People join to row, to socialise, compete, be active, learn new skills, be challenged and get out in nature,” said Mr Ferrie.
"It’s low cost an accessible to all”.
New members are welcome, he added, and in normal times can simply turn up to a social rowing session – at Port Edgar Marina at 9am on Saturdays and 1pm on Sundays.
In the meantime, more information is available at www.queensferryrowing.org.