ROWING, PADDLING AND SEA SKILLS TRAINING FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
Young People Take to the Water
The Strangford Lough and Lecale Partnership provided training in Castleward Bay, Strangford Lough over two days to teach young people paddling and sea skills, the youngsters were taught practical paddling using Canadian Canoes, and St Ayles Skiffs. The training was provided as part of a Young Sea Dogs; Turn of the Tide project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and was delivered by Clearskys. The project is about getting people out on the water that might not otherwise have an opportunity to do so. There was a combination of great fun, of “having a go “ whilst learning about safety on the water, with a message of good practice, sustainability and the concept of the long term guardianship of the Lough, to kick start an interest and introduce young people to some of the possibilities available around the Lough.
The St Ayles Skiffs used for some of the rowing training, have been built in communities around the County Down Coast to develop coastal rowing as part of the Strangford Lough and Lecale Heritage Management Strategy to develop heritage tourism and community well-being and prosperity. Skiff builders and rowers from various communities were there at the training to help and encourage the youngsters to get involved with skiff coastal rowing.
Strangford Lough has been selected by The Scottish Rowing Association (SCRA) as the venue for a major Community Coastal Rowing World Championship “Skiffieworlds 2016”. The event will be hosted by the Strangford Lough and Lecale Partnership (SLLP) working closely with SCRA with the support of the local councils. It is expected that competitors from as far away as the United States and Tasmania will participate. Caroline Nolan, SLLP Manager said, “The paddling and rowing training for the youngsters has been a great success, they have all enjoyed themselves, we are hoping that some of them have been bitten by the bug, and will carry on rowing, and will compete in next year’s Skiffieworlds championships” .