We are a rowing club involved in recreational and competitive rowing and are a member of the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association which has grown rapidly since 2009 with many clubs around Scotland and across the World. Most of our rowing is done in the St Ayles Skiff which is a seaworthy, clinker built, fixed seat rowing boat, for four rowers and a cox. We have three of these which were built, and are maintained, by members of the club.
- We offer local on-water activities to suit a variety of preferences, ranging from race training to pleasure and social rowing. Members also enjoy opportunities to participate in regattas and other events throughout Scotland and occasionally further afield.
- We construct and maintain our own boats and equipment; membership will afford you access to skilled amateurs who can teach you rewarding boat building and maintenance skills.
- We are committed to maintaining the highest standards of competence and safety in coastal rowing; members are encouraged to develop valuable skills in boat handling and seamanship and continue the rich nautical heritage of North Berwick.
On Friday morning we packed up St Baldred and headed up to Loch Tummel, the Cowan car plus Jax (the pine martens) and the tow car, Simpson Wallace and Ann, (the otters) ready to compete in the Freshwater Sprints with South East Region. Little did we know what a journey it was going to be..
The pine martens got a message on Google maps to divert round about Loch Earn, which we decided, she knew best, we had no idea where we were, but every corner was a wow, the colours and countryside were spectacular. Fabulous driving by Simon and co driven by Lizzie, like being in a rally car, but much safer. The otters stuck, literally, to the M90/A9 and experienced huge tail backs, road works, flooding you name it…at least they had a boat if it got too deep.
We were all booked in for the 2 courses put on by the SCRA, one on course laying and the other for umpires. Pine martens arrived about 15 mins after they started, and seeing the bath tub motor boat leaving the shore, I was glad I wasn't on that. We heated up, ate and drank plenty of hot drinks, whilst the teaching continued on land, ably put on by Stuart, Ralph and Andy, who were all very patient and with great model boats a white board and coloured pens, what more do you need.
Otters arrived an hour and a half later, after an epic 5 hour journey, but in time for the umpires course which was really informative. After the course we set off for our accommodation, the Loch Rannoch Highland Club, a spectacular 25 mins drive away. Built on the side of a steep hill, the apartments were very well equipped, clean and spacious with amazing views over the Loch, if you wiped the rain smattered enclosed balcony windows. Lizzie, Simon and Jax were staying in a Pine Marten apartment whilst Claire, Sandy and Ann were in an Otter apartment.
Otters were on dinner duties so pine martens settled in, played hunt the duvet and packed up our food to head up the steep hill for an evening of hilarity and chats round the table, a great opportunity to relax.
Saturday dawned very wet, blowing a gale, but we layered up, packed every set of waterproofs and cosy footwear with a backup set too, and had a beautiful drive back to the sailing club where all the other regions were arriving. It was a brilliant spectacle of colours on the shores as well as the countryside.
After breakfast rolls we were ready to row. Racing was fast and furious, 500 metre sprint to a starboard turn buoy and 250 back to finish at the starters hut. The hooter ringing out in the valley as each region passed the finish. It's a great opportunity to row with others, but styles and coxing can be quite different and challenging especially over such a short course. It is all down to tight turns and belting it back as quickly as possible.
We put all our umpires’ course work to the test looking at all the different roles both on the water and on shore. Being on the safety boat was actually great fun, watching for any infringements, crossing of lanes and tight turns. We coxed, rowed and managed plenty of chats, catching up with long term skiffie family members all helped along with food a plenty in the sailing club.
North and West took the overall prize but we did get gold in the 230+ mixed with a mainly NBRC crew too, lovely medals. Well done.
Claire, Ann and Sandy stayed on for the SCRA AGM, while Simon, Jacque and Lizzie headed back to get ready for an evening of mulling over all we'd learnt, and how to put it all into practice. Exciting times ahead in our skiffie journeys. Also managed to enjoy the rugby finals too, and delicious food.
After a hearty breakfast we packed up and headed back to pick up St Baldred, changing to the Cowan’s towing, a pleasant journey home to a very wet NB. We would highly recommend sprints, great fun, good rowing and an opportunity to socialise. Some do just drive up for the day but also so good to stay over and enjoy our last regatta of the year to the full.
Other pictures of the weekend can be found here
Bring on winter training, 2024 regattas and heading onto the Worlds 2025
Skiff John B, Blackadder and skur Euphame had a grand morning out to Fidra island on Sunday 24th September.
Their excited contents, in the form of 14 NBRC rowers, met at 8.45am to prepare for the outing.
We finally all got out onto the water at 9.15am. A rising tide took us further into the Forth, Fidra-bound and a falling tide swept us back out of the Forth home to North Berwick. Perfect planning by our coxes, Jacque, and Phil. We did have to put some effort into the rowing as there was a wee bit of wind, but as the wind was coming from the south, we were able to stay close to the coast and avoid the bigger gusts that were evident further out into the Forth.
Blackadder, with 5 onboard (Jacque, Tracy, Jude, Rachael, and Adam) were a touch ahead, slipping through the Lamb archipelago! No signs of the resident seals there but plenty of Shags and some Black Backed Gulls. There were Guillemots still around too, the ones we saw were looking healthy, which is encouraging. Gannets were swooping overhead and diving in to catch fish. Skiff John B had 6 onboard (Phil, Sandy, Jen, Lynn, Sheena, and Claire C) which allowed swapping of rowers and coxes. Euphame had Amanda, Ann, and Duncan M onboard also taking it in turns to cox and row.
Blackadder with a little more time managed to row right around Fidra before all 3 vessels got into the harbour, tidied all the oars away, tied up together and all rowers safely disembarked.
We walked up the steep pathway alongside the disused lighthouse track, which was once used to haul supplies up to the lighthouse. The lighthouse was built by the Stevensons and became operational from 1885. It became automated in 1970 and is now operated by Forth Ports plc. Slightly above the lighthouse, at the top of the island, we had wonderful views over the Forth to Fife and towards Edinburgh and the Forth bridges. This was where we were able to have our picnics (which mainly consisted of coffee/ tea and cake) and chat.
The sun even tried to come out. Looking out towards Fife we caught sight of a minke whale, which was feeding not too far away. It came up a few times but a few of the party frustratingly didn’t manage to spy it. Our return was a little more challenging as the wind had increased, but the sea conditions remained good and with the falling tide we all arrived safely at North Berwick, just before midday.
Although, with autumn/winter fast approaching, our intermediate, newbie and regatta training evening outings cease – we can still get out in the daytime and enjoy being on the sea and having adventures along our beautiful East Lothian coast and islands. Watch out for the emails, sign up and enjoy!
More pictures of the outing can be found here
On Saturday 16th September 5 NBRC members, along with 11 other boats, participated in the annual Tweed/Paxton House Picnic row. It was a wet Friday evening packing up with Tracy, Sandy, and myself, we were all hoping for drier row as we headed down to Spittal to meet the other boats. Saturday dawned pretty damp and dreich, but after checking in with organisers Paul and Rob we were squeezed in to Robbie’s (very kindly lent) car, joined also by my daughter Steph, who has only rowed a handful of times, but she put on her game face to join the eager team. We all kept cosy on the drive to Spittal where Claire C joined us after making her own way over.
On arrival it was a bit blustery but we were greeted by lots of happy faces and warm welcomes. Everyone pitched in to lift skiffs over the dunes to the beach, making ready for the off, stowing away all our snacks and layers! With flags flying in the breeze, 12 beautiful boats launched awaiting the tide to push us upstream.
Going under the three Berwick bridges we were waved on by pacers by. We passed a couple of slidy seat boats, they didn't look as happy as us! We could feel the pull of the tide helping us on and even though this was not a race, we did row through the others boats from the back of the fleet. It was good to keep Sandy happy! The Tweed is a lovely river and there were so many swans, which I have learnt is called a bevy, there were also gaggles of Canadian geese wondering where we'd all come from! The banks are peppered with lots of old fisherman's huts, which have been refurbished since I was last on the tweed, it is so pretty.
We did hit a patch of shallow water but no one had to get their feet wet, this time, we had just gone too fast for the tide! After an hour and a half rowing we rounded the last bend and we could see a small crowd awaiting us on the beach at Paxton house. All the skiffs were pulled up and we laid out picnics to replenish our hunger. Some folk ventured up to the cafe, others lazed on rugs enjoying the blethering and keeping a watchful eye on the boats in case they floated off in the heightening waters!
After restoring our energies we packed up and headed off for the much quicker decent. We switched coxes and positions and sped off back with the tide, soon heating up again. We were blessed with no rain for the return leg, landing back at Spittal beach after about 45 minutes of rowing. Everyone mucked in to load the boat back up, many hands make light work! All of the rowers said fond cheerios and we all thanked those who had put together a great row. We headed ack to NB for a speedy dismount and unpack. It was a super day, I would highly recommend others to participate next year. what a super day. Thanks again to my team mates and Robbie.
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