The Black Isle/Avoch/Cromarty Regatta

With so many names and no postcode provided for the location, arriving at the right place, at the right time, for this regatta, was a wee bit challenging for some.

Despite this, 17 rowers, three partners and five children successfully made their way North. Most stayed at the temporary camp site overlooking a lovely sandy beach in Cromarty. All got their tents up and down in the dry, which was excellent given the weather on Friday afternoon and on Saturday. The B roads over the hills from Inverness to Cromarty provided a beautiful drive over rolling countryside followed by the surprising sight of 5 or 6 mothballed oil rigs in the bay. Nigg, where oil rigs were once constructed, was across the water. Beside a huge oil rig, the sight of massive wind turbines in construction, provided a visual illustration of changed times and priorities.

Fourteen clubs entered this regatta. A spare boat was provided representing "The Rest of the World". For the most part, the racing was very competitive for medals, , and at times contentious, with two port turns, and several races involving many boats arriving at the first turn, at more or less the same time. The umpires were challenged, as were the coxes and rowers. The cacophony of sound as 5/6 boats reached the mark at about the same time was an unforgettable experience.

Rowing conditions on Saturday were sweet. That may have been because the relentless rain calmed the waters. It was special Scottish rain, which does not seem that heavy at first, but after a few hours leaves you soaked to the skin. Happily she sun came out in the early evening in time for the outside disco at the camp-site, which was hugely enjoyed by all participants, as was the chat at the camp site before and after the disco experience. Many stories were shared and there was much hilarity too.

NB put in many good performances over the week-end collecting a bucket full of medals in the process. Among others there were notable performances fromĀ  the 40+ mixed and 60+ men. Both crews won convincingly. There were also notable and impressive performances from "minor" clubs including Orkney (50+ women), and Helmsdale (60+ mixed). Avoch juniors also performed very well. Eastern were consistently competitive and lifted the best club trophy, which was beautifully crafted by a local artisan. NB finished second overall, and Ullapool third.

The Gold Medal for pitching and breaking camp efficiently goes hands down to Vana. Some of us took hours. She took minutes. Medium may still be there now trying to take down his tent if Louise had not helped him. To be fair, Medium and Phil spent time changing Issy's wheel following the discovery of a punctured tyre, which was much appreciated.

It was another great week - end with the Skiffing community, enjoying lovely hospitality, and great times with old friends and new, in a beautiful location. Special thanks to our Captain Jo for keeping us organised (many clubs were much less organised!), the towers without whom we would not have been able to enjoy the event, and the organisers and caterers at Cromarty. Our coxes also merit special thanks. It was not an easy course to cox. The BBQ, tea and cakes tent, was relentlessly busy, at times in trying conditions. The folks serving us were consistently cheerful and provided a fabulous cake stall too. The cake with gin and tonic icing may have topped the bill.