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Tighnabruaich Sailing School 50 years on...

Tighnabruaich Sailing School 50 years on...
Tighnabruaich Sailing School will be celebrating its 50th anniversary this summer at an event during the Kyles Festival at the beginning of June. Fiona and Derek fill us in on the plans.

Many ex-instructors and customers will have fond memories of Robin Stephens who founded the sailing school in 1965 in parallel with the SYHA hostel that was in the village at the time - and where the keen sailors would rest their weary limbs at the end of the day. The school quickly became known as the place to learn to sail on the west coast of Scotland, with the Kyles of Bute providing the perfect setting of stunning scenery and calm, sheltered waters.

In 1999, Robin retired after 34 years at the helm. That’s when we took over, after both working with the sailing school since 1987. With the closure of Tighnabruaich Youth Hostel in 1997, we wanted to provide residential courses for sailors and provide a safe and caring environment for children to stay unaccompanied.

Now located at Carry Farm the school has continued to flourish, offering courses for both adults and children. Adult sailors have the choice of staying in the budget bunkhouse accommodation on site or in one of the comfortable self-catering lodges by the shore. Fiona provides the care for up to ten residential children on a weekly basis during the summer holidays, while another 15 join as day pupils. The children spend all day out on the water sailing, visiting remote beaches for lunch, sailing back to Carry Farm for a quick shower and tea, and then back outside again for evening activities, which usually involve water. By the end of the week, the children head home well fed and cared for, and very tired!

Exceptional instruction keeps the sailors coming back year after year. Generations of families have now worked their way through the RYA syllabus at Tighnabruaich, with word of mouth undoubtedly being the best advertising tool available. Youth courses can now be fully booked up to a year in advance.

We were exceptionally fortunate to have the opportunity to continue the excellent work started by Robin in the mid-1960s. We’re always amazed at the number of people who know about Tighnabruaich Sailing School or who know somebody who learnt to sail here in the early years. It’s always nice to hear their stories and memories of their time in Tighnabruaich, and we’ve every intention of ensuring that the school remains at the forefront of learning to sail in Scotland.

The 40th celebrations in 2005 saw over 70 instructors, past and present, gather together with their families for an afternoon regatta followed by an evening BBQ and get-together. Over the past 50 years, Tighnabruaich Sailing School has attracted such a high calibre of instructors and we’re very much looking forward to gathering them all together and celebrating 50 great years on Saturday 6th June!

Tighnabruaich Sailing School is warming up for a busy season out on the water and is already fully booked for some weeks in July and August. Contact Derek or Fiona on 01700 811717 or email enquiries@tssargyll.co.uk for further details.

Visit: www.tssargyll.co.uk/

Visit: www.tssargyll.co.uk
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