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Rowing the skiff

Loch Broom
[57.90925571256551, -5.205234824356214]
Mandy Haggith

The following poem (and pieces of poem-ish writing) was written using the words and phrases of project participants in meetings and interviews, some online, some in person, in response to questions about their experiences of swimming, paddling and sailing around the coast of the northwest Highland Geopark area (i.e. the north coast and west coast…

On a typical Wednesday

we’ll go down the jetty after school 

with wellies and life jackest

get the boat out,

footrests in, pegs for the oars. 

It’s fun.

The cox shouts. The bow works hardest. 

The stroke at the stern

sets the pace, leads the speed, keeps the time. 

The two middle seats

are where the power comes from. 

It’s fun.

We’ll do exercises, starts, turns, sprints

sometimes go right across the loch.

In races it’s competitive. 

We always get blisters.

But when we’re practicing

it’s just good fun.

Obviously if we had an engine

we wouldn’t have to work as hard

but it wouldn’t be the same. 

We’ve accomplished something

and we’re really good friends. 

It’s fun.

(With thanks to Ania Lintern, Lexie MacAskill, Bronia Adrian and Laila Inglis, from the Ullapool Coastal Rowing Club and congratulations on their successes in various national and international rowing competitions)