In the beginning….
When you are lucky enough to live right by the sea in one of the most beautiful places on the planet and you realize it and are glad of it on a daily basis, you look for new ways to work it and own it and, to use a late 60s phrase, groove on it.
So when I read Adrian Morgan’s invitation in the Ullapool News for volunteers to join him and some boaty, rowy, competitive pals in helping to build a modern, Iain Oughtered take on the mouthwateringly elegant and streamlined Fair Isle Skiff for the purpose of competitive rowing and fun, I thought mmm hmm, I’m up for that.
Procrastination along with raw enthusiasm being my forte tho’, I missed the boat -they had a syndicate up and running by the time I emailed my interest. Ah well.
But wait a minute.
Achiltibuie rules, as the kids here often say.
And rocks. (The boat.)
We can do this here in Coigach on an all-ages, everyone-welcome, community basis. Yes!
A few posters later -asking for rowers, builders and helpers for a community Skiff to be called perhaps ‘Coigach Lass’ I thought….. and suddenly I had around 30 names, enthusiasts, from ancient mariners to cabin boys (plenty women too) and from all the airts of Coigach.
As Kevin P said to me at the very first get-together of an enthusiastic core of Coigach Lass volunteers, “This project is going to grow arms and legs.”
And when we had all agreed that despite the cost… and questions over where she would be stored once built… and wouldn’t she be needing a trailer… and all the fundraising ahead, we were all comforted and heartened by the boat-building shed’s proximity to the bar…perfect! Oh yes absolutely perfect we all agreed, imagining ourselves working on the boat through chilly winter evenings then straight up the hill for a warming dram…
So. The Coigach Lass is on.
(Photo by Chris Firth Bernard. Clockwise from left: Alison Hitchings, Ron Raine, Nick Clooney, Ali (Beag) Macleod, Ron Davidson, Iain Muir, Craig Chipperfield(half hidden), Kevin Peach, 4 local youngsters, Di Wilding (back view), Lesley Muir.)