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Arran Coastal Rowing Club are planning to get back into the water for some competitive rowing when they stage a mini regatta later this month.
Five west of Scotland teams will be taking part in the regatta at Lamlash Yacht Club on Saturday June 26: Royal West (Greenock), Troon, Prestwick, FOCCRS (Largs), Cumbrae and Arran.
It is the first since 2019 after last year’s event was cancelled.
The following week the Arran club will be taking part in the RowAround Scotland 2021 event after receiving the baton from Troon Rowing Club at the regatta.
Weather permitting club members will be rowing from Lochranza to Ardrishaig where they will meet up with Isle of Seil Club and row through the Crinan Canal.
RowAround Scotland 2021 is a blended, re-imagined circumnavigation.
Planned for 2020 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association (SCRA), the pandemic forced a rollover of the baton relay until 2021.
As rowing in skiffs was only permitted to start in Scotland on May 17 this year, the planned launch in Gretna in March was missed and the first four sections of the 13 section RowAround were postponed.
The RowAround will finish at the SCRA’s AGM in October, at Loch Tummel.
The Isle of Seil club will lead the circumnavigation by rowing the nine nautical miles to Oban today (Friday), if the weather allows.
The coordinator of RowAround is Sue Fenton, who is also convenor of the Seil club.
Seventy mainland and island coastal rowing clubs will join in, as and when they are able, as many have had no sea-time for more than a year.
Many of the regattas and events associated with the RowAround have been cancelled or postponed yet again, because of the uncertainties of changing Covid regulations and restrictions.
Sue said: ‘Hybrid, collaborative events may be possible on a much smaller scale but local sensitivities will be paramount. We will work with communities around the coast to ensure that they will welcome us.’
The circumnavigation track on the website map (www.rowaround.scot), initially broken, may eventually become a continuous line by October, as all the elements are spliced together.
Each club will also undertake a citizen science microplastics project in their own home waters using a specially adapted trawl behind the skiff.
The samples will be analysed by the Scottish Association for Marine Science at Dunstaffnage, near Oban, and will provide a unique dataset from Scottish waters.
The Arran club hope to do this mid-week following the regatta.
Paul Bush OBE, director of events at VisitScotland, said: ‘We are delighted to be supporting RowAround Scotland as part of Year of Coasts and Waters 20/21.
‘With its spectacular coastline and inland waters, Scotland provides the perfect stage for this coastal rowing event.
‘The Virtual RowAround, completed in 2020 and on the RowAround website, buoyed us all up over the long winter and introduced clubs, their particular navigational hazards and the stunning coastal scenery. We are all looking forward to getting back on the water together.’
The RowAround event is supported by the Year of Coasts and Waters 20/21, co-ordinated by Event Scotland; the project is also supported by NatureScot, through Plunge In! The Coasts and Waters Community Fund.