Setting sail on life-changing cruise

Cashback for Communities and OYT Scotland set sail with young people from Midlothian
Cashback for Communities and OYT Scotland set sail with young people from Midlothian

Ten young people from Midlothian recently took part in a life-changing five day boat trip funded by money from CashBack for Communities.

The group set sail on the Ocean Youth Trust Scotland voyage to spend five days exploring the waters of the Upper Clyde before returning to James Watt Dock in Greenock.

The first-time sailors took on all the challenges of sailing the 70ft yacht, Alba Venturer. They learned to navigate and steer the boat, hoist and drop the sails, tie knots and cook for the whole crew.

One of the shipmates, Gary McNally (16), from Loanhead said: “I feel really grateful to be given this opportunity.

“Meeting new people is something I wasn’t good at before and after this trip I feel more confident in myself and my future.

“I feel like I have known these people for years. This has really been the best five days of my life so far!”

Nikita Crombie (15), from Newtongrange, said of her experience: “I now know that if I try, I can achieve what I want to do.

“After this trip I feel like a different person and that I can work well in a team.”

Another of the crew, Bradley Markie (17), from Dalkeith, added: “I feel alive and wide awake. This voyage has changed me for the better.”

All members of the crew received the Royal Yachting Association’s Start Yachting Level 1 Award, the SQA’s Level 3 Speaking and Listening qualification.

Nick Fleming, Chief Executive of OYT Scotland said: “Our voyages offer young people a truly unique and life-changing opportunity.

“Over the course of a very intense week, living together in close proximity, they not only learn to sail, they learn leadership skills and how to work effectively as a team.

“This group have been a clear example of all that this programme aims to achieve in every participant.

“Our sea staff, comprising both professionals and volunteers, understand how to get the best from each individual.

“This results in young people often being able to achieve things they never imagined they were capable of and changing their outlook on what the future could hold.”