A large crowd gathered in a village on the north Northumberland coast yesterday as the community launched its new skiff.
The Pride of Aln was officially launched by the Duchess of Northumberland and Northumbrian dialect poet Peter Atkin and blessed by the vicar of Alnmouth and Lesbury, Reverend Ian MacKarill.
The Alnmouth Community Rowing Association, which is open to local people of all ages, as well as organisations, was formed after seeing groups in places such as Newcastle and Eyemouth who had built their own skiffs for community use.
In September, the group held a celebration event to mark the turning of the boat. For the previous 12 months, the vessel has been upside down while it was being built.
Eventually it is hoped that the group will be able to find a boathouse in which to store the skiff and where tools, photographs and plans from traditional Northumberland boat-building can be displayed, as well as where these artisan skills can be demonstrated and passed on, before they disappear forever.
The association was given a grant of £1,000 from Northumberland County Council’s community chest fund to help with the construction of the St Ayles skiff, as well as a number of other grants.
Anyone interested in joining the group or finding out more can visit www.alnmouthrowing.org