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Plockton High pupils working to preserve traditional boat building skills launched their latest creation on Saturday (15 May) as part of the open day for the Plockton small boat sailing club.
A replica of one built in Letterfearn on Loch Duich, the new boat has been built entirely from timber supplied by the local Forestry Commission Scotland team in partnership with the Fernaig Community woodland trust.
A good crowd of people of all ages from the village turned up to watch the newly built boat piped to the waterline by fellow pupils from the school’s traditional music centre.
The new boat – and another that has been restored by adults at the night school classes – were toasted with whisky before they were launched to loud cheers.
Stuart Findlay, for the Commission in Inverness, Ross & Skye, said:
“We’re really pleased with the success of this project. It’s a bit of an unusual one for us but it’s been great to work with the school and wider community and to see these beautiful boats take shape.
“We were more than happy to provide the timber for these enthusiastic craftspeople to learn how to work, shape and form the wood to create what really are works of art.
“We’re also helping the school raise their own trees in the school grounds that maybe one day will also contribute to keeping these skills alive.”
Milled by the Commission’s hard wood marketing team in West Argyll, larch oak and ash timbers were passed to the pupils who then set to work under the expert tuition of boat builder, Mark Stockl.
Jamie Kean, Head of Technical Studies at Plockton High, said:
“I am hugely encouraged at the response we have had to this course – both from our own pupils and from the adults at the night classes.
“There is a really strong desire in the community to learn and preserve these skills and I am constantly amazed at the degree of ability and the level of enthusiasm of the people involved.”
The team are already looking for a commission for next year so anyone who is interested in having a boat made or repaired should get in touch with Jamie at the school on J.Kean@plocktonhigh.highland.sch.uk
For more information about the project visit www.am-bata.org
Notes to Editors
1) Forestry Commission Scotland serves as the Scottish Government’s forestry directorate and manages the 665,000 hectare national forest estate. The Commission’s woodlands are making a difference to the well being of Scotland’s people and their communities. Local woodlands act as a catalyst for communities to meet up, get involved with projects and volunteering, or simply enjoy the many walking trails, bike rides and peace and quiet that forests and woodlands can offer. www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland
2) Adults attending the night school carried out repairs to a dingy, donated by retired wildlife ranger, Eddie Fraser. The restored dingy now carries Eddie’s nickname, Knockie Fox.