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Cullen Sea School

The Cullen Sea School is the first major project of the Three Harbours Association, a registered charity (SC042834) that represents Cullen, Portknockie and Findochty communities.  

The construction of the Cullen Sea School, run by the Three Harbours Association (3HA), is now complete – and will be a hub for all things related to small boat sailing and water sports, offering a small boatbuilding/repair workshop and storage yard, male and female changing and showering facilities, a kitchen area and instruction/meeting space (available for rent to other clubs and businesses) – and the facilities include provision for the disabled.  The Association is grateful for funding from CCF, the European Fisheries Fund and support from the Moray Council.

The School is glad to announce the recent award of vital additional development support from the CCF, a mixture of capital and revenue funding amounting to £96,000.

This additional funding will be used to buy 2 safety boats with trailers, 1 completed mirror dinghy and construction kits, an additional St Ayles skiff kit and trailer, canoes, kayaks,  paddleboards and buoyancy aids which will be available for instruction classes as well as hire by tourists and locals wishing to sample water based activities. It is anticipated that local water based events will be a regular feature over the coming seasons. During the winter months, boat building/repair will continue as an important activity and evening classes will be arranged to fit with local demand.  Our dedicated website is also under development. 

A St Ayles skiff, generously funded by the Baxter Foundation, is already under construction and will be ready for the coming season, along with other small sailing craft.

An important component of the School will be the development, in conjunction with Buckie High School, of an SQA accredited wood working course designed to help to stimulate interest in and preserve fast disappearing traditional boat building skills. It is heartening that we already have two young BHS volunteers, Liam and Finlay, who never miss a boat building session.

The boatbuilding project is being led by Portknockie based professional boat builder Bert Reid. We are delighted to have the help of enthusiastic experienced and trained boat building volunteers; Willie Henderson (Cullen), John Wilson (Buckpool) and John Smith (Buckie) who initially trained in the former shipyards in Buckie. Neil Innes (Findochty) and George Craigen (Banff) also bring their experience from the recent building of the Findochty St Ayles Skiff,’’ Morag’’. We are fortunate to have this cross community support. At present the sessions take place on Tuesday mornings, (9.30 am), Tuesday evenings (6.30 pm) and Saturday mornings (9.30 am).

The knot tying evening sessions, run by expert knot enthusiast Ian Flaws, have started and are currently scheduled for Wednesday evenings (7.00pm). An evening class for those wishing to have certificated VHF ship-to-shore radio training is scheduled for March. Courtesy of the Deveron Club there is an important opportunity for those aspiring canoeists and kayakers to learn the basics in the pool at Banff over the winter months. It is planned that other courses will be established to suit local demand.

The building of the first Cullen Sea School skiff “Mairi” is well ahead of schedule and will be ready for the coastal rowing events of the coming season.  A band of prospective rowers was identified nearly two years ago and we now need them and all others interested to re-affirm their interest and make contact with the Sea School Co-ordinator. We have a number of volunteer trained sailing instructors, and safety boat handlers but welcome additional trained volunteers.

To ensure long term sustainability is a major challenge and we need wide ranging and diverse community support, and not only from sailing/boating enthusiasts.

If you would like to know more about the project, have helpful suggestions, wish to join our list of volunteers or be part of what is already happening or planned, please get in touch with Katalin Urquhart, Sea School Co-ordinator by e-mail katalin@cullenseaschool.co.uk or phone 01542 840830.

Visit our Facebook page for updates on our activities: www.facebook.com/cullenseaschool

Contact Details

Ashley Mowat
Cullen Sea School
1 Portlong Road
AB56 4AG

Tel:  07809537844

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This project was part-financed by the scottish goverment and the european community moray leader 2007-2019 programme.