Scottish Coastal Rowing Project - Troon


The aim of the Rowing Project is to provide a relatively inexpensive entry to the sport by using a design which can be built by the communities who will be rowing the boats, rather than buying completed boats from professional boat builders, now known as the St Ayles Skiff. The Scottish Fisheries Museum is supporting this initiative to restart the intercommunity boat building and rowing competitions, which for many years was a strong feature of life in the coastal communities of Scotland.

This project has been taken forward by a Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Award Development Officer who has developed the initiative in the South Ayrshire coastal communities, including schools and communities in Troon, Maybole, Girvan, Ayr, and Prestwick.

Boat building participants met every day Monday to Friday for 5 months to build a St Ayles Skiff, which is a 22ft rowing skiff.

Participants include school pupils doing their DofE Skills section and retired members of the community. Fifteen older adults (aged 55 – 75 years) participated during the boat building process, and twelve younger participants (with an age range of 15 – 17 years) took part. They were recruited by an open advert in the local press and talks at school.

The Troon project now has an active club of 45 members ranged between the ages of 16 – 75 years.

Benefits for the Community

  • Empowerment
  • Closer relationships built between schools and local community
  • A positive impact on health and wellbeing
  • An increase in knowledge and new expertise
  • An increase in understanding and respect between the generations

There is growing excitement about the future use of the boat in competition and regattas planned for the coming year. The club first regatta is in Troon on June 8th 2013 with the first World Championship in Ullapool on 9th – 14th July 2013.

Benefits for the Younger People

  • Benefits of cross curricular work
  • Duke of Edinburgh’s Award
  • An increase in confidence, self-esteem and teamwork
  • New skills & knowledge

Benefits for the Older People

  • Empowerment – The participation and involvement of local communities empowers individuals in all aspects of the project
  • Enables older people to reconnect with young people in the local community
  • Increased levels of confidence, self-esteem and mental wellbeing

The joint work with young people has encouraged adults to take a “buddy” role in supporting young people’s involvement in the project, improving intergenerational links, understanding and respect.

Funding & support

  • Sponsorship from Boyd Tunnock – Tunnocks Biscuits and South Ayrshire Council has enabled wood and materials for four boats to be purchased
  • A local boat maintenance company offered the use of a boat shed to build the boat


School pupils kept track books and verbal discussions with the retired members of the new club

What changed as a result of the project?

The impact of the national project has been felt all round our coastal communities and has now gone all round the world with communities in England, Netherland, America, and Australia. Communities are building boats with the intention of visiting Scotland to meet people from other backgrounds, communities, age groups and participate in events and regattas next year.

Within Scotland, interest has developed in the media regarding the project with BBC Alba documenting the project in Stornoway. The Times and Scotsman newspapers have also produced articles on the project. Locally a club has been formed in Troon, Maidens and soon in Girvan when they launch their boat in June.

The interest in the project is increasing in Ayrshire with schools and community groups visiting the Troon boat shed and making enquires about replicating the project.


Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

Next steps

The Children and Community Directorate (Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Team) in South Ayrshire are taking this project forward by promoting and developing this initiative in all our coastal communities with schools and communities.

A new boat will be built later this year and club members are organising a Troon regatta for all clubs in Scotland to enter. The club is attending the first world Championships in Ullapool in July.

Interest in the project has come from other agencies that are looking at the wider positive impacts in terms of mental health and life skills benefits.

Local Priorities

South Ayrshire Council is a leading provider of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award through excellent school and community partnerships. All partners have worked co-operatively in the best long term interest of young people and adults involved in the project and this has created a template of good practice which will be rolled out to all of our schools and communities in South Ayrshire.

This project contributes to the Scottish National Performance Framework (NPF)

Scottish NPF Objectives

This project contributes to the following NPF objectives:

  • Smarter will focus on improving literacy, numeracy and attainment and on raising and realising ambition for all
  • Healthier will enable people to live longer and healthier lives

This NPF objective could also apply:

  • Safer and Stronger aims to help local communities to flourish and become stronger, safer places to live
  • Wealthier and Fairer will support activities that address inequalities and enhance skills, employability and job opportunities. It builds on the characteristics of solidarity, cohesion and sustainability to ensure that all of Scotland has an opportunity to flourish.

Scottish NPF Outcomes

Our young people are successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens: To enable children, young people and (subsequently) adults to thrive from an early age, and make a positive contribution in the 21st century.

We live longer, healthier lives: Securing longer healthier lives for the people of Scotland will always be a top priority for governments and individuals alike. There are significant challenges which can only be addressed by everyone in Scotland working together, pursuing this goal through improving lifestyles and life circumstances, and a shared ownership of an effective NHS.

We live our lives safe from crime, disorder and danger: Communities and people can only flourish and reach their potential when they are protected and they feel safe.

We have strong, resilient and supportive communities where people take responsibility for their own actions and how they affect others: Being part of a strong community gives us the support we need locally. It minimises crime, antisocial behaviour and their social and economic costs.

We realise our full economic potential with more and better employment opportunities for our people: If everyone has the opportunity to work, improve their skills and make a positive contribution to the nation’s increasing prosperity, we will create a wealthier, fairer and smarter Scotland.