Supporting community rowing in Strathpeffer
Strathpeffer and District Community Rowing Club was formed in 2017 to provide opportunities for people in landlocked Strathpeffer to get involved in boat building and in social and competitive coastal rowing. Since its formation, SDCRC has successfully self-built and launched a St Ayles skiff and created a secure storage unit and base at Foulis. These were part-funded with two grants from the EDF Renewables Corriemoillie Wind Farm Community Fund, totalling £4,000.
The skiff was launched in September 2018 and has been in regular use since. The Club attended regatta events throughout 2019 including the Castle to Crane event in Glasgow and Monster the Loch in Loch Ness. SDCRC organised its own regatta at Foulis in August 2019 which was well attended and has held many successful 'come and try' days.
Given the expansion of its membership and the popularity of boat building and coastal rowing as an activity, SDCRC decided to build a second skiff and began fundraising for this in 2019. A second boat was needed to allow more members to participate in the larger national events or mean that one boat can remain at Foulis for local use while the other is taken to events elsewhere. It will also mean that there will be a boat available while the other is undergoing any maintenance and generally provide more opportunities for members to participate in coastal rowing, effectively doubling capacity from four rowers plus one cox to eight plus two.
The Club secured grants from the Cromarty Port Authority and the local Mackenzie New York Villa Trust to purchase the basic boat kit. In order to complete the build, SDCRC required some finishing materials such as paint, epoxy and fittings, as well as the necessary safety equipment (life jackets, VHF radio, etc.). A second trailer was also needed to enable both boats to be transported to events. This is when the group were awarded their third grant from the EDF Corriemoillie Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund (Strathpeffer). The extra £3,000 enabled them to complete the boat build and fit it out.
The three awards from the EDF Corriemoillie Fund over the past three years have helped the group evolve at each key stage of their development, contributing to the build costs of both boats and also helping to secure a storage facility for the Club. This has allowed local residents of all ages to experience boat building and participate in the popular sport of coastal rowing. Membership reached a peak of 70 before the pandemic restrictions on rowing. The fund has also provided funding for the building materials, equipment, and trailer for Grebe 2, which is currently being built.
Without all this support the Club would not have progressed and been in a position to offer coastal rowing to more new members of all ages. All participants have let the Trustees know that taking part in coastal rowing has been of huge benefit both for improvement of physical and mental health. This has been particularly important during the Covid pandemic as rowing has been permitted during some periods and the new cabin has space to sanitise and dry all equipment used in line with regulations."
Tor Justad, Vice Chair SDCRC