Since launching in November, Forfar’s community skiff has been a popular weekend activity for those wishing to take up the oars.
The 22-foot five-person St Ayles skiff has welcomed around 60 people since its launch four months ago at the town’s country park.
Now volunteers have teamed up to construct a second boat to cope with demand from locals as the town’s loch enters a new era of water activities.
Laura Bell told STV News: “I saw it on Facebook, and it was all very friendly, we’re going to be here, just come and have a go, and I thought I’d love to have a go, so I did.
“The best thing about it has been all the people, regardless of their length of experience whether it’s been years’, months, weeks.
“They’re keen to get you involved and let you understand every part of it, and you catch the passion really instantly.”
The first skiff is named the ‘Greg Luckhurst’ in honour of the local businessman who passed away in 2021.
His family donated the funds for the construction of the traditional rowing boat.
Members of the town’s rotary club, men’s shed and sailing club joined forces to bring the new activity to Forfar Country Park – and they’re doing it all over again as skiff number two starts to take shape.
Forfar Rotary Club member Tim Hale said: “When this came up, I thought this is just what I want to do, it’s a few hours in the morning, two or three days a week and it’s putting something back into the community.
“As it’s proved it is a great community project because people who have never been rowing before in Forfar or surrounding area are now coming down on a Saturday and Sunday and enjoying it.”
The loch has a well-established sailing club located on the inch and it’s here the skiff rowing will be managed.
They hope by adding new activities to the list it will open the doors for further opportunities on the loch.
Forfar Sailing Club’s Tony Walker is optimistic, as he explained: “At present, we’ve got a very small group running the sailing club but the number of ‘Skiffies’ we’ve got now are going too far exceed the number we’ve got sailing and it brings a new life to the community on Forfar loch.
“We’ve got canoeists, we’ve got windsurfers, we’ve got paddleboarders, we’ve got radio sailors, a real good selection.
“But the new Skiffie community is completely original.”
With one labour of love already making quite the impression, it’s hoped the second will be ready for life on the water by the summer.
Sarah Ramage from the Skiffies said: “The club is definitely growing and it’s growing organically, people are telling their friends about what a great time they’re having in coming along and so I see the club developing with the social aspects, social rowing.
“We’re still going to have those open sessions where people can come along and try rowing for free before they commit to joining the club.
“I would encourage anyone to come down and have a turn.”
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