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Moray Firth relay a grand day out for skiffs as part of RowAround Scotland event, with a plastic trawl for citizen scientists


By Louise Glen

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Row Around Scotland - crews from Fortrose, Avoch, Ardersier and Nairn take part. Fortrose Coxswain John Baraclough (centre) and crew. Picture: Callum Mackay
Row Around Scotland - crews from Fortrose, Avoch, Ardersier and Nairn take part. Fortrose Coxswain John Baraclough (centre) and crew. Picture: Callum Mackay

Rowers took to the Moray Firth to take part in a recent relay challenge as part of the Year of Coastal Waters.

Teams from Nairn and Ardersier, as well as Avoch and Fortrose on the Black Isle, took part in the national event – which, locally, saw boats cross the Inner Moray Firth before handing off to other skiffs for the leg from Ardersier to Nairn via Fort George.

The Row Around Scotland 2021 initiative was organised by the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association, with 70 member clubs taking part in all. The event was a bid to help join up communities, as well as to promote the delights of Scotland’s wonderful coastline and waters along the way.

Berny Welsh (62), from Nairn Rowing Club, said: “The crews of skiffs Ester and Dulsie rowed 16.5 km from Ardersier to Nairn on the Moray Firth on Thursday, July 8.

“Not the best weather to start with, but it ended on a high as the wind dropped and the dolphins came out to welcome us home.

“The Ardersier community did us all proud, laying on a fine spread and with an enthusiastic crowd, to welcome the three skiffs from Avoch and Chanonry and send off the Ardersier and Nairn crews on our longest row to date.”

He continued: “There was also a citizen science aspect to the challenge. As part of the row we were also gathering water samples for one kilometre of the journey.

“The sample will then be sent to SAMS (Scottish Association for Marine Science) in Oban for testing.”

Mr Welsh, who has been rowing for two years, said being part of the skiff community in Nairn was a “wonderful hobby”. He said: “It has been a tough time over the last 18 months, and it was liberating when the restrictions eased and we were able to get back out into the sea. There is nothing quite like it.”

Sandra Hogg, a member of Chanonry Rowing, who rowed from the north side of the firth to meet the Ardersier and Nairn team, said the baton transfer had been a “great day out”.

She added: “Then Avoch rowed up for the baton transfer before we all rowed across to Ardersier for a great welcome with sandwiches and cake!”

READ: Cash sails to Ardersier boat builders


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