Lass all at sea

CROWDS took advantage of the weather to line Queensferry harbour on Sunday for the launch of the town’s community rowing boat.

After several months of fundraising and hard graft on behalf of John Watson and Malcolm Meikle, who built the vessel, the Queensferry community rowing boat took to the Forth after it was launched by Ferry Fair Queen Holly Taylor.

Large crowds gathered outside Scotmid at The Loan to view the boat for the first time. From there it was transported down to the harbour, led by Town Crier Lyndsay Munroe.

Lord Provost of Edinburgh George Grubb blessed the boat before Queen Holly named the boat “Ferry Lass” and christened it by pouring VAT 69 whisky over its bow. The Earl of Hopetoun, patron of the town’s newly formed rowing club also gave a vote of thanks.

The Queensferry Rowing Project was formed last year in affiliation with Scottish Coastal Rowing Association in a bid to resurrect leisure rowing and racing around the coastal communities of Scotland.

Work on the 22 foot skiff, which cost in the region of £3000, began in September and was completed at the end of February 2011. The boat, which can take up to four oarsmen and a coxswain, will be made available to community groups and take part in regattas over the summer period.

Mike McDowall, project chairman said this week: “It was a fantastic day and I wish to thank everyone who came along to make the event so special. The rowing club members took spectators out on the Forth for short trips throughout the afternoon. They were also joined by members of Anstruther Rowing Club ladies team.”

Mike added: “The boat belongs to Queensferry and is not for sole use of the rowing club, so we are inviting local groups and businesses who want to get involved in rowing to do so.“

The boat will be taking part in a series of regattas over the coming months with events at Anstruther, Portobello, Queensferry (June 26) and Cockenzie and Port Seton.

Membership to Queensferry Rowing Club costs £20 individual, £10 associate and £30 family. For more details contact Mike on 0131 331 2474.