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Coastal rowers celebrate 10-year anniversary with oar-some solstice sunrise

Members of Eskmuthe Rowing Club in East Lothian set their morning alarm clocks earlier than ever before for a sunrise row on the longest day of the year.

The community rowing club launched its two boats, Honesty and Steedie Falconer, just after 4.00am to mark the summer solstice sunrise at 4.26am. The first boat was built by the local community almost a decade ago.

Simon Francis, an Eskmuthe cox and committee member, said: “It was absolutely stunning on the water at that time, with such a sense of peace and solitude. 

“When I suggested the idea, club members responded very enthusiastically and we had 12 people keen to go out – so we had two full boats, with the usual cox and four rowers and a passenger in the back of each boat. We swapped places so everyone had a chance to row on such a fantastic occasion.”

Eskmuthe Club Chairperson Gaynor Allen said: “We do quite a lot of early rowing, depending on the tides, but this was by far the earliest! I’m not usually a morning person but I’m so pleased I got up to see the solstice sunrise.”

The event was part of an incredibly busy year for the coastal rowing club, which celebrates its 10th birthday in August. It will open its new boatshed near Fisherrow Harbour later this year, host a 10th anniversary rowing regatta on Sunday, 13 August and is also currently preparing an anniversary exhibition at Musselburgh Museum.

The Eskmuthe Rowing Club boats, known as ‘skiffs’, are taken out every Saturday and Sunday, all year round (tides and light permitting) and also regularly on week days in the summer months. The club has had a successful start to the competition season, with medal-winning performances at Port Seton, Portobello and Dunbar regattas. 

“We’re enjoying a packed season of rowing, with more interest than ever from people wanting to join the club,”  said Membership Secretary David Lee. 

“We’re off to Newhaven for the Midsummer challenge this Saturday (1 July 2023), then towing the boat all the way to Ullapool to compete in their fabulous regatta on 15/16 July. We then have our own regatta on 13 August and North Berwick on 26 August – and then our 10th anniversary social night. After that, I think we’ll all need a lie down!”