First traditional skiff launch ends a 150-year wait

Ribbon is cut on the new boat shed (Gordon Beattie)

A Moray community are celebrating the successful launch of the first traditional boat built in their village for more than 150 years.

The Burghead Coastal Rowing Club was formed last year as part of the Scottish Coastal Rowing project and set about the task of raising funding for and then creating a traditional St Ayles Skiff.

On Sunday their year-long efforts came to a successful conclusion with the successful launch of the 22-foot long Tarbh Uisge (Water Bull in Gaelic).

Around 100 people were on hand to witness the launch and first tentative pulls on the oars as the boat eased through the water at Burghead Harbour.

The Tarbh Uisge coast a total of £3500 with funding coming from the European Fishing Fund, Scottish Government and Moray Council.

Sunday’s launch included the official opening of a new boat shed – while the day was helped along by the arrival of several other clubs created under the project arriving with their boats to accompany the newcomer on her maiden voyage.

Helping to create the new club was Caroline Dunbar, who explained that the project was part of a regeneration programme for coastal areas that had been hit by the decline of the fishing industry.

With the Tarbh Uisge now launched Caroline has issued an invitation for anyone wishing to participate in future sailings: “Members do not need expensive equipment to become involved – just an enthusiasm to try something new and make new friends.”

More images from the launch can be found on the insideMoray Facebook page.

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