The resurgence of skiff rowing in the Western Isles will be celebrated as part of Sail Stornoway, the Hebridean Maritime Festival, with the first events tomorrow (Saturday July 14th).
It’s part of a busy week out on the water, as boats traditional and modern gather to share their love of the open sea.
A family fun open day has been organised tomorrow by An Eathar, the community rowing club based in Shawbost. Fun starts at 10am with free taster session on Loch a’Bhaile, South Shawbost. After lunch at the Old School in Shawbost, teams will compete at 2.30pm for the Digby Chick Trophy. The day winds up with a ceilidh at 8pm at the Old School, music provided by Ness Melodeon Band.
The resurgence of skiff rowing has been fostered by An Eathar, the Shawbost-based rowing club which set up in 2014. The club has built a 22-foot, five-person, four-oared rowing boat called Yackydoola which is regularly out and about around Lewis and further afield.
Sail Stornoway in the harbour area of the town includes dinghy training between Monday and Thursday, the focus being on opportunities for youngsters to have a go at this safe and fun way to get confident with sailing.
On Tuesday morning (July 17th) skiffs and sgoths galore will be on the water in the harbour area, joining the regular traffic of cruise vessels, yachts, fishing boats and the ferry. Five Lewis skiffs will gather from 5pm onwards to participate in a race on Tuesday evening at 6pm from Cuddy Point. Yackydoola will be joined by other skiffs including the Blue Moon, all competing for a £100 prize pot.
The week continues with a sailors’ barbecue on Wednesday evening and a chance for youngsters to have a go at sailing on a sgoth on Friday. Saturday July 21st sees an open invitation for visiting and home yachts to join in a sail in company around a course set to the weather conditions, but likely to take in Chicken Rock and across to Loch Erisort.