Gill Sherry

Is there anything better than being out on the water on a sunny day? Nicola Burns, Chair of Dunure Coastal Rowing and Water Sports Club, doesn’t
think so.

“That’s what drew me to rowing,” she tells me, “living here and seeing the sea. When the sun’s shining you want to be on the water. Appreciating our pretty coastline from that side is so pleasant. We’re very lucky to live in such a pretty part of the world.”

Nicola has been involved with the club since its inception three years ago. Prior to that she was a member of Carrick Coastal Rowing Club in Maidens.

So, aside from the beautiful views, what are the advantages of coastal rowing?

“The physical exercise, obviously. Fresh air, camaraderie, meeting up with likeminded people, learning new skills, braving the elements… which in itself can be refreshing. We socialise outwith rowing so that’s another good thing. You meet people from all walks of life.”

It also has mental health benefits, Nicola confirms, but like most sports, it’s not for everybody.
“It’s not for anyone who doesn’t want to get wet or cold, but if you’re an outdoorsy type of person and that doesn’t faze you…”

Membership will cost you £40 per year plus a £3 donation each time you row. As a member you are also entitled to use the club’s kayaks. The club currently has 22 members but Nicola is keen to encourage newcomers along.

“There isn’t a lower age limit but we pitch it at 14 or 15. It’s more to do with strength because the oar is quite heavy. It really depends on the stature of the person.”

And what would a beginner need to bring?

“Just a pair of shoes they don’t mind getting wet, a pair of gloves and a drink of water. And layers because I can guarantee that within five minutes of rowing you’d want to be taking a layer off!”

Rowing out of Dunure Harbour is both weather and tidal dependent. However, through the winter Nicola would expect to be out in the boat at least once a week, increasing to twice or more during the summer.

The boat is a St Ayles Skiff, built for fixed-seat rowing for four rowers and one cox.

“It’s called Port Rorie after an outcrop of rock. It was named by the local primary school children.”

Port Rorie, Nicola informs me, has a busy time ahead.

“We have our own regatta planned on May 18th. The main event is a timed distance row… a long, triangular-shaped row.”

Port Rorie will also be present at Dunure’s Festival of the Sea on August 24th allowing those who may be interested in rowing to try it out. This proved so popular last year that Nicola lost count of the number of times the boat went out!

It’s also hoped that Dunure will be invited to take part in the Exciseman’s Chase, as well as competing in Scotland’s biggest open water rowing race, Castle to Crane. Looking further ahead, Nicola has one eye on the St Ayles Skiff World Championships.

“The Worlds are being held in Stranraer next year so we’re hoping to attend that for the first time.”

In the meantime, fundraising is always on the agenda.

“We do fundraising throughout the year. We’ve had a couple of very successful quiz nights. We held them in The Anchorage because they’ve been quite supportive of us which is great. We try and hold our AGMs and meetings in the local pub as well.”

Dunure Coastal Rowing and Water Sports Club is very much a community organisation. It’s also proud to be inclusive and happy to accommodate less-abled members whenever possible.

To find out more, follow Dunure Coastal Rowing and Water Sports Club on Facebook.