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Displaying items by tag: Scotland

#PowerFromTheSea - The next big renewable energy turbine farm could be underwater off the coast of Scotland, as MailOnline reports.

Scottish firm MayGen has big plans to install a £51 million (€65.2 million) underwater turbine project to harness the powerful currents of their country's coastal waters.

This new project, earmarked for Pentland Firth at Caithness in the far north of mainland Scotland, follows separate plans to install the world's largest tidal power facility in the Sound of Islay.

MayGen - which has just won an award for its parent company Atlantis Resources for its "significant contribution" to the marine renewables industry – says its state-of-the-art technology is "on a par with wind turbines" in terms of productivity, but would be hidden from the view of those who find the larger land-based wind farms unsightly.

The Pentland Firth project will be the new design's proving ground, with hopes that it will generate power for nearly half a million homes upon completion in 2020.

MailOnline has more on the story HERE.

Published in Power From the Sea

#Coastguard - Last month's Belfast Coastguard understaffing concerns have been echoed across the North Channel in Western Scotland, with the SNP adding its voice to the chorus of disapproval.

As Glasgow's Evening Times reports, Belfast's repeated staffing issues - the station was manned below risk-assessed levels on eight separate occasions - compounded problems already identified at Aberdeen, which was understaffed for more than half of all shifts in December.

Both stations are charged with protecting the entirely of the mainland Scottish coastline, on top of Belfast's duties for the whole of Northern Ireland.

The SNP's Stuart McMillan has cited both station's staffing records as evidence that the decision to close the Clyde coastguard station in Greenock, northwest of Glasgow, was ill-advised.

These concerns come as Ireland faces its own coastguard consultation efforts that threaten to undermine "30 years of progress in marine safety".

The Evening Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes
Tagged under

#MarineWildlife - BBC News reports that three killer whales from a community of orcas off the Scottish west coast have been spotted off the country's east coast for the first time since scientists began monitoring the group in the 1990s.

Mark Hosford of the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust described the sighting as "a really exciting development".

He added: "The west coast community is thought to be the only resident population of orca in the British Isles, and understanding their behaviour and movements is crucial to the conservation of these remarkable creatures."

The group's normal range includes Scotland's north and west coasts to the west coast of Ireland, and is thought to comprise just nine older whales - which are also believed to be genetically distinct from other orcas in the North Atlantic, showing much closer similarity to Antarctic killer whales.

As reported on Afloat.ie earlier this year, marine wildlife experts fear that the group is now on the "brink of extinction".

Published in Marine Wildlife

#RNLI - Stranraer RNLI's lifeboat was dispatched by Belfast Coastguard on Friday evening (7 June) to rescue men from a stranded personal water craft on the rocks at Corsewall Point.

The men had been travelling on the water scooter across the North Channel from Ballycastle in Northern Ireland to Campbeltown in Scotland and back - a round trip of some 130km - but ran out of fuel on the return leg, and drifted to Corsewall on the north point of the Rhins of Galloway.

The RNLI Stranraer lifeboat launched at 5.20pm from Lady Bay and 20 minutes later arrived on scene, where they discovered that two of the men were cold and one had an ankle injury - although a conflicting report via the Belfast Coastguard says only two men were found.

The men were transferred safely on to the lifeboat and taken to Dally Bay, from where they were taken by road to Stranraer Accident and Emergency Hospital.

But as BBC News reports, they were beset by further problems on their return trip to Northern Ireland later that evening, when the private vessel on which they were travelling also ran out of fuel and had to be towed to Red Bay in Co Antrim.

Belfast Coastguard confirmed to the BBC that the men had been travelling on their water scooter with "no navigational aids" and that "they could not get a signal from their mobile phone".

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#maritimefestivals – The fascinating story of an ancient agricultural crop and how it played a key role in the maritime industry will be brought to life at Scotland's leading celebration of nautical heritage and culture.

A display and demonstration on flax – described as Britain's forgotten crop - will be one of the main attractions in the craft tent at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Traditional Boat Festival later this month.

Crowds in excess of 16,000 are expected to descend on the village of Portsoy on the Aberdeenshire coast when the festival, now in its 20th year, takes place over the weekend of June 22 and 23.

The demonstration will be led by Flaxland, a group of flax growers and producers who featured in the BBC television show, Wartime Farm. They will be showing members of the public how the fibre was used in a huge variety of maritime products, and will reveal how they have even been able to build a boat made from flax fabric.

Flax growing in the UK is believed to date back to the Bronze Age and grew popular due to the versatility of both the plant's stem and seed. As well as being used in oil and in cooking, flax can be used to create everything from clothing to paint.

Roger Goodyear, chairman of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Traditional Boat Festival, says organisers are delighted to welcome Flaxland to the event for the first time this year.

"The festival is one of many events taking place across the country for the Year of Natural Scotland, so it seems entirely fitting that this natural product with such a rich history in the UK should play a key role in this year's celebrations," he says.

"Authentic maritime and craft skills have always been an important part of the festival, and this year we will once again play host to a very diverse range of crafts men and women who represent the very best in traditional skills."

In addition to Flaxland, visitors will be able to learn splicing for beginners thanks to the maritime studies department of Orkney College, try a pottery wheel and watch a basket weaver in action. Younger visitors will also be able to take part in a workshop teaching basic knot-work, and the very popular Living Traditions tent will be making a return appearance.

The festival is a key event in the Year of Natural Scotland – a partnership between the Scottish Government, VisitScotland EventScotland and Scottish Natural Heritage which aims to showcase the country's unique natural environment.

For more information about the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Traditional Boat Festival and to buy tickets visit www.stbfportsoy.com Updates about this year's festival are also available on Facebook and Twitter – search for @STBFestival. An adult day ticket costs £8, children aged five to 18 and concessions are £5. Adult weekend tickets are priced at £12 and children and concessions at £8. There are also family tickets available which allow entry for two adults and three children for £25 for a day ticket and £35 for a weekend. Children under five go free and there is no charge for parking.

Published in Maritime Festivals
Tagged under

#Diving - With the Lusitania back in the news, Ireland's wealth of interesting diving sites are bound to draw attention this summer.

But it's worth remembering how dangerous an activity wreck diving can be - as Gizmodo reader Magicguppy relates in a special column for the tech news website.

He recalls his first ever shipwreck dive in September 2006, to the remains of the Rondo beneath the Sound of Mull in western Scotland.

"Used as a passage for shipping for centuries, it had a certain reputation for wrecking ships — even in 1935," writes Magicguppy, who goes on to depict in vivid detail how the ship went down, not to mention how the danger persists today for those who want to get close to the wreckage:

"The surface current swept my dive buddy and I towards the buoy. I turned and saw it gunning down on me. Grabbing the rope under the buoy, I signalled to my buddy.

"I knew that we had to get down below the current, and if we let go, even for a second, we wouldn’t be able to fight the current and get back onto the rope. My buddy agreed: Time to dive."

Gizmodo has much more HERE. But be warned - some of the gruesome descriptions in this story are not for the faint of heart!

Published in Diving

#Coastguard - For Argyll in Scotland reports that Richard Newell has resigned from his post as rescue co-ordination centre manager at Belfast Coastguard.

The news comes some weeks after the command base took on extra responsibility with the permanent closure of the Clyde coastguard station last month.

Britain's Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) confirmed to the website that Newell resigned from his position around two weeks ago - and that he has assured the agency that his decision has no connection with the streamlining plans being undertaken across Britain's coastguard network.

However, For Argyll alleges Newell had made it known locally that "if he considered the future [of the coastguard service] was becoming dangerous, then he would go".

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, campaigners for the Clyde coastguard station in western Scotland were taken aback by the early transfer of helicopter dispatches to Belfast and Stornoway in November, ahead of the base's permanent closure on 18 December last.

More than 30 jobs were lost with the scrapping of the Clyde control centre at Greenock, with much of its role now being taken up by the Belfast command centre at Bangor across the North Channel - a change to the original plan for Scottish stations to share the load till 2015.

Published in Coastguard

#CoastalRowing - News comes from Scotland of an intriguing new coastal rowing craze that sounds like something from a Swedish furniture store!

As the Guardian reports, a traditional Scottish fishing skiff design provided the inspiration for the new flatpack coastal rowing boat, which began life as a prototype project for the Scottish Fisheries Museum four years ago.

Since then the St Ayles skiff concept swept like a wave across the UK and beyond - and examples of the DIY kit row boat, which is handmade in Fife, can be found as far afield as Australia.

Many of those international rowers are expected to converge in Scotland this simmer for the coastal rowing world championships off Ullapool.

The Guardian has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Rowing
14th December 2012

Mike Balmforth FRIN 1941-2012

#mikebalmforth – With the death on 2 December of Mike Balmforth, Ireland and Scotland lost a powerful voice for leisure sailors.

Mike was born in Belfast and learned to sail on Strangford Lough. He became a deputy editor of Yachting Monthly in the 1960s, and went on to be boatbuilder, sparmaker, yachtbroker and chandler, and marine author, editor and publisher. He edited the Clyde Cruising Club's Journal and founded The Yachtsman's Almanac and Welcome Anchorages.

Mike co-founded the Scottish Boating Alliance, which allowed marine leisure interests to speak with one strong voice to Government. His knowledge, vision, administrative skills and ability to inspire trust gave him and the SBA great authority, and the model he developed has been recommended for marine leisure development planning in Ireland.

He was a member of the Irish Cruising Club for 46 years, and made a major contribution as a director of the Club's publications arm and co-author of Cruising Ireland.

He had many boats of his own, but his masterpiece was his beautiful Dawn 39 Greenheart, which he fitted out himself from the mouldings. With his family – all dedicated sailors - he cruised Scotland, Ireland, France, Spain and the Baltic.

Mike is survived by his wife Alison, sons Robin and Des, and three grandchildren.

NBK

Published in News Update
Tagged under

#COASTGUARD - Campaigners for the Clyde coastguard station in western Scotland have suffered a blow with the news that all calls are now being routed to Stornoway and Belfast as of last night.

BBC News reports on a document leaked to the Coastguard SOS Campaign, which outlines that while the Clyde station itself is scheduled to close on 18 December, control of aerials (ie helicopter dispatches) to the stations at Stornoway and Belfast was on schedule to be completed by yesterday evening (Friday 16 November).

Campaigner Dennis O'Connor said this move meant that "Clyde will cease to exist operationally" from last night.

He also described it as a "direct challenge" to concerns from the Transport Select Committee in Westminster that the closure programme had started early with the closure of Forth coastguard in September "despite assurances that the replacement system of operation would be fully tested before any closures took place".

However, a spokesperson for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said that the handover period "has been planned for some time. All the staff have been informed well in advance."

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the scrapping of the Clyde control centre at Greenock will see the loss of 31 jobs, with much of its role being taken up by the Belfast coastguard at Bangor across the North Channel - a change to the original plan for Scottish stations to share the load till 2015.

Published in Coastguard
Page 6 of 11

Coastal Notes Coastal Notes covers a broad spectrum of stories, events and developments in which some can be quirky and local in nature, while other stories are of national importance and are on-going, but whatever they are about, they need to be told.

Stories can be diverse and they can be influential, albeit some are more subtle than others in nature, while other events can be immediately felt. No more so felt, is firstly to those living along the coastal rim and rural isolated communities. Here the impact poses is increased to those directly linked with the sea, where daily lives are made from earning an income ashore and within coastal waters.

The topics in Coastal Notes can also be about the rare finding of sea-life creatures, a historic shipwreck lost to the passage of time and which has yet many a secret to tell. A trawler's net caught hauling more than fish but cannon balls dating to the Napoleonic era.

Also focusing the attention of Coastal Notes, are the maritime museums which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of historical exhibits for future generations.

Equally to keep an eye on the present day, with activities of existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector and those of the energy exploration industry.

In addition Coastal Notes has many more angles to cover, be it the weekend boat leisure user taking a sedate cruise off a long straight beach on the coast beach and making a friend with a feathered companion along the way.

In complete contrast is to those who harvest the sea, using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety poses an issue, before they set off to ply their trade at the foot of our highest sea cliffs along the rugged wild western seaboard.

It's all there, as Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied to the environment from which they came from and indeed which shape people's interaction with the surrounding environment that is the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

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