Skylark Volunteer Trainee Awarded Certificate for 150 Hours Building a Community Skiff 

The Dumbarton-based Skylark IX Recovery Project has presented a longstanding volunteer trainee with a certificate in recognition of over 150 hours of effort and commitment to building a community rowing skiff.

Skiff building skills training for those recovering from addictions at Alternatives West Dumbarton Community Drug Service is a core programme for the Skylark IX Recovery Project, which cares for the ‘Dunkirk Little Ship’ Skylark IX.

James joined the Skylark IX Recovery Project’s Boat Building workshop, which is led in partnership with expert boatbuilders at Archipelago Folkschool and based at the Scottish Maritime Museum (Denny Tank) on Castle Street, Dumbarton, during Lockdown.

The Skylark IX Recovery Project hopes to use two skiffs to establish a Rowing Club in Dumbarton next year. The town has a rich history of community rowing. Last century, it was home to a successful rowing club and hosted a number of high-profile racing events until interest in rowing declined in the mid 1920s.

Jae Bradley, Boatbuilding Project Manager at the Skylark IX Recovery Project Boat Building Workshop, says:

“James has bowled us over with his commitment to our skiff building programme. He has become an invaluable member of the team and it has been wonderful to see how much his joinery skills and confidence have developed since he first picked up tools.

“As James has learned more about the heritage and story behind Skylark IX, he has also become a terrific ambassador for the Skylark IX Recovery Project sharing our news with Museum visitors and folk in the community passing by and popping their heads in to see how we’re getting on.”

Receiving the certificate, James adds:

“It’s been really good being part of the process of building this skiff. It’s been an enjoyable time in my recovery. It’s given me something to work towards, got me coming in to meet new people and just basically given me a sense of purpose.

“I can also show my kids the skiff. They can see this boat sailing about and when they grow up and look into what their dad has been up to, they can say he’s built this wee boat. The skiff build has all been documented. It tells a story and I’m part of that story!

“It’s been a really worthwhile project. It’s good that through the skiff, people are learning more about Skylark and her history with Dumbarton too.”

The Skylark IX Recovery Project’s skiff training programme has been made possible by the generous support of The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The Skylark IX Recovery Trust recently announced ambitious plans to build the Spirit of Skylark Centre in the grounds of the Scottish Maritime Museum (Denny Tank) in Dumbarton.

The new immersive heritage experience and boatbuilding centre will ensure a permanent home for Skylark IX, which is listed on the National Historic Ships Register and believed to be one of only two ‘Dunkirk Little Ships’ from the World War 2 Operation Dynamo surviving in Scotland.

Those interested in joining the Skylark IX Recovery Project’s rowing club next year can register their interest by emailing [email protected]


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