Collieston club take to the water

The Colieston community boat under construction.
The Colieston community boat under construction.

An Aberdeenshire village is celebrating the launch of a new community boat.

To mark the occasion, Collieston Offshore Rowing Club’s traditional craft took to the water for the first time on Sunday.

The skiff was launched successfully at the weekend and named 'Admiral RedSocks'  by Rosie Malcolmson, a much respected Collieston lady, who has worked, lived and raised her family in the village

The skiff was launched successfully at the weekend and named 'Admiral RedSocks' by Rosie Malcolmson, a much respected Collieston lady, who has worked, lived and raised her family in the village

It was hand built in just under nine months during the winter and spring and will be rowed by 
community crews.

The 22ft St Ayles skiff is based on an Iain Oughtred (Skye) design and is similar to the Fair Isles skiff.

Club events co-ordinator Karen McGonnell said: “In just under nine months, an enthusiastic group of Collieston residents have come together and built a 
community boat.

“Since 2009, an original idea from the Scottish Fisheries Museum to re-introduce the skiff has seen numerous small coastal communities commit to purchasing a kit, building a boat and representing their communities in skiff racing around the world.

“Collieston’s boat is likely to be skiff number 65 in this incredible story.”

The boat will be named Admiral Redsocks after one of Collieston’s most famous residents, Rear Admiral Steve Ritchie, Hydrographer of the Navy, who died in 2012.

Karen said: “Steve was renowned for his energy and love of life, and his penchant for red socks.

“The building and naming of this traditional boat will serve as a community’s fitting testament to his legacy and memory.”

The rowing boat takes a crew of four and a cox. Such is the enthusiasm for the skiff racing phenomenon, boats have been built as far away as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA.

The Admiral Redsocks will be brought to Portsoy this weekend (June 28 and 29) for the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival.

Karen said it was hoped that skiffs from North-east coastal communities, 
including Portsoy and Catterline, will take part in Collieston Gala Day on August 2 for the inaugural 
Collieston Regatta.