Meet the Scots who are all at sea – and loving it

On a chilly, drizzly Sunday in January, I found myself tucked up in layer upon layer of fleeces and waterproof gear, half lying/half sitting in the bow of a rowboat on the Firth of Forth.

I could hear the water lapping at the sides of the boat as four powerful rowers worked in unison, guided by the commanding voice of the cox as we glided through the water, at a fair pelt I must add.

This was my first experience of the ever-expanding world of skiff racing.

What started as a project involving the people of Anstruther, has now reached 70 coastal communities across Scotland (and that number is still rising). The phenomenon has also spread to other corners of the globe like Tasmania, the US and New Zealand.

The clubs, which often have several skiffs, compete regularly in regattas all over the country where friendly rivalries are put to the test.

Keen to discover how it all took off, my search brought me to Anstruther where the story of the St Ayles Skiff project began back in 2009.

Members of the Scottish Fisheries Museum in this Fife village approached boat kit manufacturer Alec Jordan to run a boat build in the museum’s boatyard with students from Adam Smith College.

Read the full feature in the current issue of Scottish Field, out now.