When the Catterline Coastal Rowing club’s St Ayles skiff ‘Spirit of Catterline’ visited Montrose Farmers’ Market she stirred memories of the history of boat building in the town
And to the delight of members of Montrose Coastal Rowing, there were reminders of the largely forgotten tradition of rowing clubs.
Montrose Coastal Rowing’s secretary, Fiona Guest, said: “A visitor who came to see the skiff and chat to members of Montrose Coastal Rowing told us about two silver trophies, donated by Montrose Sailing Club to Montrose Museum.
“They were originally made to record race winners for the many rowing clubs of the town. The Somerville Lightweight Challenge Cup of 1897 and the Chapel Works Montrose Challenge Cup of 1874 record clubs as diverse as the Southesk, Coaster Athletic, Sawmills and Carpenters from 1874 to 1926. It seems that like modern Scottish Coastal Rowing, there were four rowers and a cox in most crews and they were rowing boats built in the town.”
Fiona visited Montrose museum to look at the cups with Tom Easton, a Montrose boat builder - one of his salmon cobles is in the collection of the Scottish Fisheries Museum.
She continued: “As a youngster Tom rowed in the Ferryden juniors, who were around later than the clubs recorded on the trophies, but he found his grandfather, William Peattie’s name, engraved as the stroke of the last winning crew of the Chapel Works cup.
Many things have changed since 1926, but Montrose Coastal Rowing is looking forward to reinventing the tradition by building a St Ayles skiff to row for pleasure and hopefully in the occasional race.
“If people would like to find out more about the rebirth of the community rowing tradition in Scotland and hear the latest news about the progress of the Montrose Coastal Rowing skiff project they should come to the free talk by boat builder Alec Jordan of Jordan Boats from 7.30 p.m. on Thursday, March 19 at the Congregational Hall, Baltic Street.
“Alec is a founder of the Scottish coastal rowing project and is the ideal speaker to tell the fascinating story of St Ayles skiffs; in less than a decade since the project began he has seen hundreds of boats, built from his skiff kits, launched all over the world. This is a chance to meet Alec, chat about boats and rowing and perhaps join in with the Montrose skiff build as a rower, builder or supporter of this reinvented tradition.”