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Come and try - young rowers take to the River Ayr

It was a day of excitement and learning new skills as young people from across South Ayrshire took to the River Ayr in coastal rowing boats, single seat sculls and canoes for the very first time.

Those taking part were school pupils and GE Caledonian apprentices working towards their Duke of Edinburgh's Award and students from UWS who were keen to explore the meandering waterway.

The free rowing and water sports event was led by South Ayrshire Council in partnership with Scottish Rowing, University of West of Scotland, Ayrshire coastal rowing clubs and the RNLI.

Rowing is a great way to enjoy nature and get fit and active at the same time, however those taking part also heard about the RNLI's 'Respect the Water' campaign aimed at tackling drowning. Thankfully there were no issues for our adventurers as expert instructors were nearby to lend a hand and all safety equipment was provided.

Tess Crooks who goes to Belmont Academy said: "It was a fun and enjoyable day, I would like to do more and get to learn new skills on the water".

Ryan Matthews an apprentice from GE Caledonian said: "It was a very enjoyable experience and good training for my DofE Gold canoeing expedition later in the summer. It also made me realise the fitness required for this type of activity and how I need to get fitter.

Councillor William Grant, Children and Young People Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council said: "South Ayrshire has outstanding natural resources available to everyone. This is a great way for young people to explore nature, increase their confidence and learn new skills at the same time. We need to respect all our waterways but rivers should also be enjoyed and the young people taking part clearly had a great time thanks to the expert supervision."

Vincent McWhirter, RNLI Volunteer Community Safety Officer said: "We have 45 miles of coast line from Barassie to Ballantrae with four main rivers and numerous lochs all of which are very attractive but can also be potentially dangerous, so it was really worthwhile to teach the young people new skills and at the same time learn about the hazards but in a fun way."

If you are interested in taking up rowing, you can contact

Ayrshire Coastal Rowing Clubs:

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