The Galgael Trust is based in workshop premises at Fairley Street, Ibrox, which comprise 11,000 square feet of offices, reception area, external yard and extensive workshop space.

The Trust works and offers services in the following areas:

  • Craft - GalGael has a growing range of craft products on sale. These can be purchased at our online shop.
  • Timber - Galgael holds stock of both air dried and kiln dried Scottish hardwood timber. 
  • Bespoke Furniture - Galgael Associate Makers can design and build one off pieces of furniture.
  • Boat Building - GalGael is involved in community boat-building as well as private commissions. 
  • Firewood - All this work with timber means Galgael usually has plenty of firewood. 
  • Events and Marquee - Galgael attends many of Scotland's top events and has a 20 x 8 marquee for hire.


GalGael’s 30ft long Orcuan was built in 2001 and is an interpretation of the historic galleys of the West Coast; the Birlinn, Scotland’s traditional Gaelic longboat. These boats were effectively banned by the repressive Statutes of Iona, 400 years ago. Once they would have provided the main form of transport in a mountainous island region – linking the constellation of settlements on the West Coast of Scotland and beyond to the coasts of Ireland and Isle of Man. Today, Galgael uses Orcuan and its other boats to open sail training opportunities to the local community, linking urban and rural communities and enabling access to Scotland’s unique natural heritage. 

Galgael Trust and the Tall Ship - Anchor & Sail Study

Working in partnership, the Galgael Trust and the Tall Ship plan to extend their teaching in traditional boatbuilding by developing a new programme focussing on the restoration and construction of traditional wooden boats in Glasgow.  Following a successful round one application to the Heritage Lottery Fund, the partnership has been working on the Development Phase, which included a research study in response to the following question:

“What is the current state of the traditional wooden boatbuilding in Scotland? To what extent are boatbuilding skills at risk and what could be done to retain and preserve these skills as well as Maritime Cultural Heritage?”

As part of this study, 52 operators from Shetland to the Solway were emailed an online survey with 49 of these contacts (94%) completing the survey.  The subsequent report, prepared by McKenzie Wilson Partnership (MWP) as part of the second round application to the Heritage Lottery Fund, can be downloaded here.

 NEWS - Voyages for a better future for Alan and Gill

Alan & Bill's lives changed dramatically when they discovered Anchor and Sail, a three-year project run by the GalGael Trust and Clyde Maritime Trust and supported by HLF.

Situated in Govan, once the heart of the River Clyde’s shipbuilding industry, Anchor and Sail is committed to protecting the traditional skills of boatbuilding while rebuilding the participants' own sense of worth.

Thanks to apprenticeships made possible by HLF, two of those people have changed their future – one excited by the launch of a clinker dinghy he has built from scratch, the other on the brink of a career in the film industry.


Out of work since 2006, 35-year-old Alan Matthews felt despondent and worthless, and his long-term unemployment was having a serious effect on his health.

“I was stressed out and depressed. I was seeing a psychologist and he suggested that I shouldn’t be idle so I started doing a bit of joinery and carpentry volunteering, making tables and chairs. I discovered that I had a knack for it and I really enjoyed it.”

Alan moved on to volunteer with GalGael and his natural talent at woodworking was soon spotted, helping him secure an apprenticeship. For the last 12 months he has been building a clinker dinghy, called Annie B, from scratch.

“I have learned so much from putting pencil to paper to do the original drawing, then taking those and translating them into the lofting – full-size drawings for making patterns. I’ve learned how to use lots of machines, such as circular saws, as well as developing fine woodworking skills,” he says.

It’s not just the transferable skills that Alan thanks Anchor and Sail for.

“I suffered from shyness and social phobia: it’s a barrier to work. Working in a team in an encouraging environment, I now have a feeling of self-worth. I feel my life has direction and I have control over it again.”

After several coats of paint and varnish, Annie B was launched on the Clyde last weekend and Alan reflects with pride: “So many people lack in confidence and don’t believe in their own ability. I was one. At Anchor and Sail I see incredible raw talent and workmanship from people who didn’t believe they had anything to give.

“It’s amazing what you can rise to if you are given the opportunity.”


“I was in a bit of a rut, sitting daily at the kitchen table on my laptop transcribing videos,” says Gill. “My focus was solely on earning money but I was doing a job which I wasn’t enjoying and didn’t allow me to be me.”

It was while watching one of these videos that 31-year-old arts graduate Gill was inspired.

“I was transcribing an arts project video about GalGael and I just loved what I saw. I got in touch and was soon volunteering regularly. It was a turning point for me. I began to feel human again. It was food for the soul.”

Gill was taken on as an apprentice and for the last 20 months has been building a West Coast Skiff.

“When I started I didn’t know what a claw hammer was. I can’t really believe I’ve gone from that to building a boat! I’ve learned so much and really enjoyed being able to pass on that learning to other volunteers. It’s given me so much confidence and I’ve realised just how important community is to me. Friends have remarked that I look healthier and happier and I that’s because I am.”

Gill’s new confidence led her to apply for a full-time job with the art department of a film company and is starting work in the art department of a horror movie soon - something she admits she could never have done before Anchor and Sail.

Gill has nothing but praise for the National Lottery-funded project that changed her life.

“I would urge anyone to seize the chance of a heritage apprenticeship. It’s value is way beyond money and it has helped me realise that there are many ways to be rich.”

For these two apprentices, it’s full sail ahead!

Source: Heritage Lottery Fund, 27 September 2016