Rowers head to Dalriada festival

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The first-ever Carrick Coastal Rowing Club entry into the P & O Ferries Dalriada Festival proved to be a marvellous opportunity to showcase Scotland’s increasingly popular sport of St Ayles skiff coastal rowing.

Buoyed-up by success at the recent St Ayles Skiff World Rowing Championships at Ullapool, Alex Kennedy, cox and his rowing team headed across the Irish Sea to join in with the fun.

Seven members of the Carrick Club participated in rowing their community-built wooden skiff, the Carrick Maid in the Rowing Regatta races on the sun-kissed waters of Glenarm Bay in County Antrim.

Conditions on the water were perfectly smooth as the Carrick Maid lined up against various styles of rowing boats including the St Ayles skiff from Anstruther and a number of fibre glass Irish gigs and Celtic longboats. Although the Carrick rowers did not make the podium this year, they were pleased to finish all races with good humour still intact.

Carrick Men’s Over-50s team took on the morning challenge of the 6k Challenge Race round the Black Rock and still had enough energy in reserve to enter sprint racing later in the day.

Alex Kelly the cox said, “As well as steering the boat, I had to keep the crew in good spirits as the going got tough during the course of the longer race.”

This fantastic day ended with a friendly fun race as rowing teams exchanged boats to try their hands rowing a different craft. The Glenarm Rowing Club and The Dalriada Committee deserve to be commended for this well-organised and thoroughly enjoyable event.

The Dalriada Festival is Northern Ireland’s biggest cultural and heritage event which draws thousands of people to participate in a range of activities including coastal rowing.

Carrick Coastal Rowing Club members train twice weekly, launching at Maidens Harbour.

The intention is to increase investment and promote a love of rowing, especially for young people in Maybole and the wider Carrick area.

Carrick rower Philippa Baird explained, “The number of girls taking up the sport is now matching the number of boys involved. Regattas include races for all age groups and for mixed crews.”

St Ayles Skiff Coastal Rowing is a fast-developing sport in Scotland, with opportunities to participate in regattas all around the Scottish coast and beyond.

Anyone who would like to try rowing can arrange a with Carrick Coastal Rowing Club, just contact

Carrick Coastal Rowing Club are fundraising at Maybole Charity Shop from Friday 16th August 2013 until Saturday 24th August 2013. Please donate goods to sell or come along and buy.

David Wilson, Rhona Anderson, Fergus Forsyth, Henry Anderson, Alex Kelly, Philippa Baird and Les Austen; Members of Carrick Coastal Rowing Club at The Dalriada Festival Rowing Regatta, July 2013