Alnmouth community comes together for launch of traditional rowing boat

The Duchess of Northumberland officially names The Pride of Aln and praises 'extraordinary public spirit' behind the project

Pete Bulloch The Duchess of Northumberland launches Alnmouth community boat
The Duchess of Northumberland launches Alnmouth community boat

A traditional rowing boat built thanks to "extraordinary public spirit" has been launched in a Northumberland seaside village.

The 22ft skiff, officially named The Pride of Aln by The Duchess of Northumberland, is the result of more than a year of dedicated work by the community of Alnmouth.

It is hoped the project will help preserve the knowledge and skills of boat-building, once commonplace along the rivers and coast of Northumberland, and lead to the creation of a North Northumberland maritime heritage centre.

Speaking at a launch ceremony at the village beach’s old boathouse, Her Grace said: “I am delighted to support this initiative. This boat represents the extraordinary public spirit of the people of Northumberland, having been conceived, funded and built by local residents for the enjoyment of the whole community.

Pete Bulloch The Duchess of Northumberland launches Alnmouth community boat
The Duchess of Northumberland launches Alnmouth community boat
 

“I am looking forward to seeing people of all ages out on the water enjoying this very traditional activity, as well as seeing crews from other parts of the country attending regattas here at Alnmouth.”

The vessel will be crewed by five people at a time, who can be of almost any age or ability, and there are plans for competitive events to be held against other coastal communities with similar boats.

The launch, attended by more than 250 villagers, also saw a blessing by the Rev Ian MacKarill, vicar of nearby Lesbury.

Pete Bulloch The Duchess of Northumberland launches Alnmouth community boat
The Duchess of Northumberland launches Alnmouth community boat
 

Meanwhile, Alnmouth Community Rowing Association chose to launch the rowing boat from the boathouse - where the launch of the first lifeboat for Alnmouth bay took place in 1851 - to gain support for their proposal to make the building the permanent home of The Pride of Aln, which they will put before Alnmouth Parish Council in December.

A spokesman said: “We are confident that the council will want to see the boathouse returned to its original use, drawing people to the beach and benefiting the whole community.”

Sea trials for the Pride of Aln will take place over the winter and the first team training will begin in the spring.

For more information, visit alnmouthrowing.org.

Pete Bulloch The Duchess of Northumberland launches Alnmouth community boat
The Duchess of Northumberland launches Alnmouth community boat
 

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