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
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.