RowAround Scotland takes a scenic shortcut

Sue Fenton from Isle of Seil Coastal Rowing Club takes the relay baton from the Arran club's Cil Paul ready for the next leg of RowAround Scotland from Ardrishaig Photo: Arran Coastal Rowing Club

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Crinan Canal opened its gates for smaller than usual craft as RowAround Scotland headed for the scenic waterway that boasts being Scotland’s best short cut.

Crews from the Isle of Seil and from Arran rowed and paddled their way through all 14 of the canal’s locks starting out from Ardrishaig and back out into the open sea at Crinan.


Isle of Seil Coastal Rowing Club waves as they leave Crinan Harbour bound for Ardfern.
Photograph: Ann McKillop
A collage of images from the Ardrishaig to Crinan leg of RowAround Scotland via the Crinan Canal.
Photograph: Arran Coastal Rowing Club
Craignish Coastal Rowers out with Isle of Seil cox James Fenton. Photograph: Tim Jones
Arran coastal rowers negotiate a lock.
The Arran team on a picturesque stretch of the Crinan Canal.

Two Arran team took it in turns to row from Lochranza to Ardrishaig via Tarbert with Cil Paul handing over the relay baton to Seil’s Sue Fenton ready for the next stage of the journey in each other’s company down the canal on Saturday July 3.

The expedition in coastal rowing boats around Scotland will involve as many of the country’s 70 clubs as possible. The event became virtual in 2020 because of Covid but is now back on.

On Sunday July 4 Isle of Seil rowed from Crinan Harbour, where they berthed overnight on the Crinan Harbour Association pontoon, to Ardfern. The 14km passage took the crew’s boat Selkie across Loch Crinan, then the inside passage on Loch Craignish, with Island Macaskin and Eilean Rìgh offshore.

The skiff moored at Craignish Boat Club where the community is building a skiff of their own with support from Craignish Community Company and Ardfern Yacht Centre.

Builders of the skiff and others from Craignish Coastal Rowers took Selkie out for try-a-row sessions with Seil’s James Fenton as Cox.

Tim Jones from the Craignish group said  everyone enjoyed themselves and it was ‘a really worthwhile event’.

The circumnavigation event was originally planned to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association (SCRA). The finish will be at the SCRA’s annual general meeting in October at Loch Tummel.

RowAround Scotland 2021 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.