‘Viking’ boat set to hit the water

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A “VIKING” rowing boat is poised for its debut in waters before the end of the month.

Environmental campaigner Bob Latimer commissioned a boat builder to construct the traditional St Ayles skiff, a wooden rowing boat designed to hold six people.

Work is now nearing completion, with the boat set to be delivered to its new home in Whitburn in three weeks.

Mr Latimer hopes the people of Whitburn will volunteer to row his boat in a competitions staged by the North East Maritime Trust.

The Latimer ‘Ledja’ – the Viking word for fast a sailing boat – has been made at Boulmer in Alnwick, Northumberland, by fisherman Jeff Matthews and volunteer Ray Angus. Mr Latimer had originally planned to launch her first in Whitburn, but recently had a change of heart.

He explained: “Jeff has had a successful liver transplant and Ray has had open heart surgery.

They have put so much effort and devotion into the project

“They have put so much effort and devotion into the project I have agreed to launch it first at Bolumer. That seemed only right, they have done an amazing job.”

Mr Latimer, who is recovering from a knee replacement operation, added: “I’ve also got a traditional signwriter from North Shields, Paul Robinson, to put the symbol of three fishes on the boat.

“His work is really unique and out of this world.”

The venture is very much going back to the future, as many years ago there was believed to be an annual Cobble Race in Whitburn, which Mr Latimer is hoping to revive.

Bob Latimer on Whitburn Beach, concerns over sewage

Bob Latimer on Whitburn Beach, concerns over sewage

Twitter: @shieldsgazpaul