The Oban Times

Seil skiffie Sue helps or­gan­ise coastal row

- By Kathie Grif­fiths kgrif­fiths@oban­ Sports · Cambridge · United Kingdom · Orkney Islands · East Coast · Oban · Facebook · Fenton · Gretna · Argyll · Crinan · Glencoe · Glencoe · Fort William · Fort William · Gretna F.C. 2008

For­mer Cambridge Blue and Great Bri­tain rower Sue Fen­ton from Seil is co-direc­tor of the first re­lay ex­pe­di­tion at­tempt­ing to cir­cum­nav­i­gate more than 1,800 miles of the Scot­tish coast­line in an open­top boat.

Fund­ing of more than £11,000 has come from the Year of Coast and Wa­ters events fund man­aged by Even­tS­cot­land, beat­ing off stiff com­pe­ti­tion from other ap­pli­cants, and the rest is be­ing matched by St Ayles’ Skiff en­thu­si­asts and crowd­fun­ders, all adding pulling power to the chal­lenge that could in­volve around 350 skiffies and their four oared boats from up to 70 clubs as far apart as Gretna to Orkney.

‘If the tides and wind are with us, then it’ll be a dod­dle but we’re not elite ath­letes, just com­mu­ni­ties of all ages con­nect­ing with each other and our coastal her­itage.

‘It’s go­ing to be fan­tas­tic! Each sec­tion, with all its dif­fer­ent clubs, will have a start and fin­ish date so it’s up to the crews when they do it. It gives them wig­gle room for in­clement con­di­tions. Each crew will have about 10 miles to go,’ said Sue.

Work­ing out safe pas­sages and por­ing over mar­itime charts is a huge part of plan­ning ahead and when land gets in the way be­tween ba­ton-han­dovers, eco-savvy or­gan­is­ers have come up with a wa­ter­tight plan.

‘The East Coast goes in a straight line but the West Coast gets more com­pli­cated. We are go­ing to try to link the off­shore clubs by us­ing sus­tain­able trans­port – horses, run­ners and bi­cy­cles to pass the ba­ton on,’ said Sue. Out on the wa­ter, skiff crews will also be turn­ing film­mak­ers cap­tur­ing footage on GoPros for a film des­tined for ocean and out­door fes­ti­val screens and will also be do­ing their bit to save the planet – tak­ing wa­ter sam­ples for mi­cro-plas­tics.

The am­bi­tious re­lay, start­ing from Gretna in April and end­ing six months later at Loch Tum­mel, will be part of the Year of Coast and Wa­ters 2020 cel­e­bra­tions and marks the 10th an­niver­sary of the Scot­tish Coastal Row­ing As­so­ci­a­tion (SCRA).

May will see the start of the Ar­gyll sec­tion, with the Mid-Ar­gyll Row­ing Club com­ing through Cri­nan then up the coast to Oban, tak­ing in Craig­nish. They hope to have a skiff ready by then, said Sue. Other clubs in that sec­tion in­clude Seil, Lu­ing, Oban, Mull, Iona, Tiree, Ap­pin, Glencoe and Fort Wil­liam.

The ex­pe­di­tion’s progress can be fol­lowed on a ded­i­cated web­site and RowAroundS­cot­land Face­book page.

 ??  ?? Sue Fen­ton pores over the mar­itime charts.
Sue Fen­ton pores over the mar­itime charts.
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