NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Enthusiasts say yole be welcome to sail in our boats

P7 pupil skippers a yole
Image caption Members of the Orkney Yole Association take P7 pupils out on the water in Stromness harbour

A scheme in Orkney is encouraging primary school children to sail a traditional yole.

Until the 1960's the craft were widely used in many isles communities to transport people, goods and even livestock.

A dedicated group have been campaigning to preserve and promote the boats.

Now they are offering pupils from Stromness Primary School the chance to sail the boats, hoping to encourage them to keep the use of yoles alive.

Image caption Pupils assembled alongside the Navigation School pier in Stromness to be fitted with lifejackets
Image caption Then it was out onto the water

Head teacher Neil McIntosh told BBC Radio Orkney it was to give pupils an experience of sailing.

"We're surrounded by water, here in Stromness, and it's a great opportunity for them to find out a little bit more."

Caroline Butterfield - who's just bought "Helga", one of the yoles being used by the pupils - said the boats are built with a wide beam, to give them more load carrying capacity.

She said they would have been used to carry "anything and everything".

"I can imagine even putting some sheep on board", she said.

Image caption Up until the 1960's yoles were used by island communities to carry people, goods, and even livestock
Image caption Experts can tell where a yole was built just from the profile of the craft
Image caption Pupils get the chance to carry out all the tasks on the boat, including steering and hauling ropes
Image caption Ducking as the boat goes about, and the boom swings across

Children who were out for the afternoon on the yoles said they loved the experience.

Menna, Zoe, Ruben and Martha said it was good to get the chance to try something out. And at least once said they'd consider going back for the Yole Association's regular Thursday night sail.

Image caption Willy Tulloch from the Orkney Yole Association is helping with the scheme
Image caption Len Wilson said the Yole was Orkney's indigenous boat

Len Wilson from the Orkney Yole Association said: "The yole is Orkney's indigenous boat.

"It was so important to families in the past. In the isles every family would have at least one yole, and maybe more than one.

"We'd like to see that continue ... and so we need youngsters to be involved."

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