Coastal Rowing

Coastal Rowing

Down Coastal Rowing was set up by SLLP working with the PSNI in 2014 to revive traditional boatbuilding and coastal rowing as part of a wider effort to regenerate communities through their maritime heritage.  

It has been a phenonmenal success with more than 10 community boats (St Ayles skiffs) built and clubs established. Strangers became friends and teamworking has forged relationships across and between communities. There is also healthy competition and each community holds training and competitve activities year round.

The rowing has also brought people into contact with the area's landscape and wildlife and they in turn have helped to look after it, taking care not to disturb seals and birds and taking part in shore clean-ups.  

The Wrolds championships, Skiffieworlds were held in Strangford Lough in 2016, hosted by Strangford Lough & Lecale Partnership (SLLP) working closely with the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association (SCRA), and with the support of local councils and communities along the County Down Coast.

The St Ayles class has spread very quickly  with 130 boats across the world, and numbers growing all the time, 

Winners of the Narrows Challenges Trophy- 2014 Killyleagh, 2015 Strangford, Dundrum 16, Dundrum 2017 

Get more information on the project at or on facebook

Download the Coastal Rowing Leaflet here.

In February 2015 BBC Countryfile filmed the boat building and rowing in the village of Ardglass. Presenter Helen Skelton got involved in rowing the Kircubbin boat 'Black Kneb Vixen'.

Down coastal rowing was established by the Strangford Lough and Lecale Partnership (SLLP) with the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). It was approved by the Down Rural Area Partnership (DRAP) as part of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas, supported by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, and Down District and Ards Borough Councils.


Latest Coastal Rowing Project News

  • World Championships Come to Strangford Lough

    Strangford Lough, County Down, Northern Ireland, has been selected as the venue for a major, international coastal rowing event, "Skiffieworlds 2016"; it was announced today, by the Scottish...

  • The Narrows Challenges 2015

    The Narrows Challenges 2015 will take place on the morning of  Saturday the 13th June as part of the Strangford Lough Festival.  
    The Elite race at 10am is for each clubs...
  • BBC Countryfile Film Skiffs in Ardglass

    BBC Countryfile came to Ardglass to film the St Ayles skiffs that have been built in communities around the coast from Donaghadee to Dundrum, Helen Skelton was filmed rowing Kircubbin's Black...

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