Sun, Sea and Sand

If the damp and windless conditions had proved a challenge toBeach coaching with Topper Fleet on Firth the sailors and beach volleyball players in North Berwick last week, Friday’s (5th August) blistering sunshine and stiff breeze was the antidote that made for a triumphant end to a week long celebration of seaside sports.

12 local children signed up for a five day course of beach volleyball, led by Emma Girot, each morning on North Berwick’s East Beach.  The beach volleyball formed part of East Lothian Council’s summer activity programme. 

Meanwhile, 350 topper craft and their young sailors flooded the seaside town to take part in the prestigious Topper Nationals.  A topper is a single-handed dinghy, raced by Juniors and the event was hosted by East Lothian Yacht Club.

Friday’s blustery conditions allowed the Toppers to catch up on lost time and complete the programme of scheduled races.  As the fleet majestically traversed the Firth of Forth, the East beach welcomed yet more young beach volleyball novices for one final afternoon session. SVA are grateful to members of the local volleyball club – the Bass Rockets – who took time out to support Emma’s coaching.

Among the participants was Gustav, on holiday from Denmark, whose mother declared that after 2 weeks in the UK, the beach volleyball experience was ‘by far the best activity of their entire holiday’. 

The event also provided an ideal opportunity to showcase the Sea and Sand series – a collaborative project managed by SVA and the RYA Scotland.  Eighteen invited guests, among them representatives of Sportscotland and East Lothian Council, were introduced to the synergies the project is exposing, the shared values of seaside sports people and the development potential in sporting facilities and communities located along our coast line. The guests then took a tour of the sporting activity on show, got some sand between their toes and finally sampled a burger alongside the hungry beach volleyball participants. Our particular thanks also to Hamish Barbour and Andrew Scott of the ELYC, who cooked up a storm on the club BBQ.

CEOs from SVA and RYAS with Sportscotland Chair, Louise MartinMargaret Ann Fleming, CEO of Scottish Volleyball said, “It has been interesting and refreshing to work so closely with another governing body. The Sea and Sand project is providing insights into how beach volleyball fits into seaside communities.  It was great to demonstrate the sports working side by side against such a stunning backdrop and I hope our guests from the area could see the benefit of including beach volleyball in their development plans .”

The next Sea and Sand event will take place in Troon on 17/18 September as part of Scottish Windfest.