A TEAM of a dozen volunteers has spent more than 700 hours putting together something the whole community can enjoy.

Inspired by the success of the Annan to Bowness-on-Solway Bell Raid, residents in Old Anthorn - which is on the south side of the Solway Firth - decided they wanted to be involved.

Based in a barn at a farm in the village, the team received their flat-pack skiff in October 2018. After receiving the wood - which was eight metres by four metres in size - the next job for the group was to turn their barn into a workshop.

“When the flatpack arrived, we thought ‘is that it?,’ explained one of the volunteers in charge of building the boat, Lyn Lewis.

“I thought, ‘is that really going to make a boat?’, but there are other things you have to source.”

Since then, the volunteers have spent two hours every Monday night putting together the boat, which they hope to use in the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association’s RowAround Scotland.

The event is a relay, which sees open rowing boats race around the coast of Scotland. It will see 70 member clubs from across Europe take part in the race, with Annan Harbour Rowing Club among those to compete.

The group at Anthorn hope their boat will be completed in time to take part in the relay as part of the Annan team in March.

They also hope - in time - they will be able to participate in the annual Annan Bell Raid, which recreates the raid in 1626 which saw some men from Annan steal a bell from Bowness - which was regarded as the maximum insult in those days.

“It is a community thing,” explained Malcolm Coates, 70, volunteer and Bowness-on-Solway parish councillor.

“Some people are members of the parish council, some are members of the Bowness Community Group, everybody has mucked in.

“They have come over from Annan (rowing club) and have been down to help us and we will be working with them in the future.”

Lyn Lewis, a volunteer who has helped in the creation of the boat, said: “We want to get people involved and get them in the outdoors.

“It is something that can appeal to people of all ages.

“Obviously we need to get a team together but that is not what this is about, we want to get people involved.

“This boat has a long shelf life and we want people to see it and take up rowing.

“If we look after it - it won’t sit in the wet - if it is stored appropriately, we could have 100 years out of it.”

The youngest member of the team of builders is 14-year-old Alf Fosker.

“It’s my granda’s barn and it is something to do.

“I’ve been down every week pretty much.”

A name for the soon-to-be-completed boat has yet to be determined.

“We want to get local people and the school involved with the name,” said Malcolm Coates.

It is estimated that each of the regular volunteers has spent more than 100 hours in the barn building the boat.

“It is a great thing to be involved in, two and a half hours each week.

“We’ve had more people involved gradually each week working on it.

“I have never built a boat before.

“This is very impressive, even people who have built them before have said so.

“Four people can row in them, eight people can technically. It will be mostly be four people.”

The team of volunteers will then choose their favourite name for the boat, which is numbered UK 232.

Finishing touches are now being added to the skiff, with the project expected to cost between £4,000 and £5,000 once complete.

Funding has been gathered from a combination of Bowness parish council and fundraising by volunteers.

“You come down here every Monday and you think ‘Oh my, we have built that’,” said Mike Pennington, 53.

It is hoped that the boat will inspire the next generation of rowers to take up the sport and bring the local community joining together.

The volunteers are immensely grateful to their friends at Annan Harbour Rowing Club.

“Annan have been brilliant,” said Lyn Lewis.

“Their group has been over whenever we have got stuck and have brought their expertise. Our intention at one point is to have about 15 people turning up to row and learn how to row.”