After the rigours of the Tyne on Saturday, we needed a refreshing row to relax, and were not disappointed as it ticked all the boxes.
Clive, Jo, Phil & Sheena took Zev, and were accompanied by skiffs from Dunbar (x2), Eyemouth (remember SeaBreeze?), and a really enthusiastic team from Amble. The tide was under us all the way up to Paxton, and Zev made rowing easy, outpacing the other Skiffs effortlessly. The only hiccup was the need to walk for a few metres as we neared Paxton; the shallows were in evidence yet again.
The planning was well organised this year, the two rescue boats did all that was required, keeping their distance but always on watch. The start was timed until there was plenty of water under the various bridges.
But the scenery and the wildlife; it was stunning! Everyone from both sides of the border was welcoming, and yet again friendships were made in the name of community rowing.
Watch out for the team from Amble: they are a great bunch with a well made skiff of which they are very proud. They are keen to learn from others and will be a force to be reckoned with.
What is it about this rowing lark?
We get up really early, socialise as late as possible, go through the pain barrier, scars, blisters and bruises to show for it, be really competitive, enjoy coffee and scones, saunter out to the bass in company, drive miles for regattas, camping? All in the name of FUN
On Saturday 20th September a small number of NBRC set off for Newburn on the Tyne river, ENGLAND. This all started with a wee chat over refreshments at Portsoy, and the Row Family Robertson Crew +1 was out and rowing again, after our success on the Nith we decided with missing it in name of Tiger cup, we'd go for it. With a bit of toing and froeing on our arrival to get cars and trailors to the finishing line at Tynemouth, over a 1 1/2 hour round journey, those of us left enjoyed the bacon rolls and cake to keep the time going. We had timed the drop off perfectly for briefing in the super wee club house.
34 crews took part in the 25 km race, 7 of those were skiffs, fancy dress to which we hadn't quite got ourselves sorted for, party boats, Frog on the Tyne, gondoliers, nurses to name but a few. So with our start time of 1440 fast approaching, we made our way to the slip way to launch Skiff John B, we were in the second wave to start off with a Celtic Gig, and 2 other skiffs, the Wee Michael from Newhaven and St Ayles, Anster. We set off at a great pace and tusselled with Wee Michael for nearly an hour to keep our lead. They had obviously been practicing their changeovers, which were seamless, and when Eli and Fin changed we did lose some ground, the dulcet tones of Wee Michael’s cox pulled ahead. Still we pushed on and quickly came across the nurses in the Byker boat from the first wave. It seemed no time at all before we started going through all the bridges in the centre of Newcastle, still no sign of our Zev ahead of us. There were quite a few folks around cheering us on our way downstream, Phil had a wee bit of a row to warm up, giving the tiller onto Sheena, we then changed Eli and Fin back over again and rammed in more Mars bars to give us extra energy. So being back to our original seating plan on we pulled, by the time we started getting into the more industrial part of the city, the slidey seats started passing us thick and fast, you know they never look very happy? Maybe something to do with their seats, we got the very occasional encouragement but not anything like our skiffies.
We then became aware of a lot of boats up ahead and ribs with visi jackets on-board, we were all being stopped by the river police to allow the ferry to leave port, damn... still no sign of Zev. We all bobbed about and got some chats, quickly getting chilly and stiffening, also blisters starting to burn, we tried some stretching in the boat to keep us going. After half an hour we were all set on our way. How were they going to sort this out for times? Had anyone taken an order of which boat stopped when? So back into focus, not easy to get those stiff muscles back working again. Passing some huge tankers, the skiffs were all slowly left to fight it out at the back, it seemed hours before we passed the finishing hooters at North Sheills, we still had to row round into the bay to keep clear of another large tanker coming in through the harbour wall, then navigate over towards Tynemouth Rowing club where a very organised landing and stowing boats was executed. The music was loud, burgers cooking and cider flowing, it wouldn't take many of those to get you wobbly, it was now well after 6, we'd been on the water for 4 hours, probably rowing hard for 3 of those, although I’m not sure what the times will be like. Prize giving, Our lovely Zev getting fastest fixed seat, Clive’s face just showed so proud, Anstruther got best fancy dress with Frog on the Tyne and faster male fixed seat too. And I got the top raffle prize a bottle of Bowmore whiskey, so NBRC did actually do pretty well, flags and bubbly too.
Packing up the boat zapped the rest of our energy we then had to trail through the city again to retrieve the Robertson car. Ian was certainly quiet on the way back, he did enjoy his mars bar experience too though. By the time Louise and I dropped JB at the harbour the town clock was striking midnight, Cinderella needs to get home before her legs and hands fall off.
A fantastic day, long, but so worth it, just seeing the look on Clive’s face to win, well worth organising and doing again.
North Berwick sent a young team with some level headed [Ed: "old"] mentors down to Maiden's in Ayrshire.The event was planned to be a two day one, with a junior regatta on the Sunday. However before the teams were recruited the ambition was reduced to a one day event with the excisman's chase (an 8km time trial out and back along the coast) in the morning and a junior sprint in the afternoon.
Blackadder got to meet six skiffs for the clyde. She found herself lining up against skiffs from Troon, Royal West, Girvan, Cumbrae, Firth of Clyde and host club Carrick.
The outward leg of the Exciseman's saw Cameron Robertson join the senior collegues Robbie, Claire and Issy with coxain Rachael. Conditions were fairly three dimensional. Crews set off at roughly two minute intervals, with one crew member (usually the youngest one) running from race control with a contraband token. The crew then raced along the coast trying to keep the breaking waves to starboard, and the Isle of Arran to port. Cox Rachel picked out the change over beach, which was just to the North of Stunning Culzean Castle. Starting second the NB crew quickly overhauled Girvan, and left the rest of the fleet fairly far behind.
Time for finding contraband. Cameron took his token and was issued with a bottle of whisky (surely against some licensing law somewhere). He brought it down to the boat as crew members swapped round. Robbie moved to cox, Rachel to a rowing thwart, Issy changed seats but kept rowing, Steve and Mel jumped aboard and we were off again into a sharp breaking sea. As we got further along the coast, passing the incoming crews, the waves were massive. Really huge. But the crew were heroic, and Blackadder looked after us. We surfed down the last section into the harbour, then powered through the now flat water before running up the beach, and sending Mel up with the whisky to stop the clock. About one hour and thirteen minutes rowing. Now to wait the return of the other clubs, and check out there times, keeping our fingers crossed. Oh so close, but the all male crew from Royal West beat us by a gnats baw hair [Ed: "small margin"]. Oh well, second was an honorable result and we accepted it with grace.
After lunch we had the sprints. Juniors first and a first race for Christy, Adam and Eliza, who were joined by our experience 12 year old Connor. Who could beat such a fabby foursome. No one without a North Berwick rep in their crew it would seem. Six boats lined up for the start (largest ever entry for a junior race?). Our North Berwick youngsters were second, beaten by Skiffy McNish, crewed by Cameron and Mel, with rowers from Royal West and Troon. All exciting stuff and an excellent start to racing for our new Juniors.
Finally we had a scary mixed bag sprint with a couple of Trooners joining Blackadder, who came in second to Chippy for the third time in the day. Again the consolation was that Chippy had a red shirt in him again, this time our Issy.
So well done rowers and coxes, enjoying the challenging conditions and enjoying the chance to row with Clyde crews.
A small but perfectly formed group of rowers from NBRC travelled West to Otter Ferry on Loch Fyne for a little get-together/friendly race against Mid-Argyll and our friends at Cockenzie and Port Seton.
Having travelled over on Friday afternoon we awoke on Saturday morning to find the East Lothian har had followed us. Fortunately there was no rowing planned until after lunch because we couldn't see our own feet in the fog. But by lunchtime the har had burned away and the sun was shining.
What a beautiful setting, next to a pub, by the lochside. So we had a series of 2 mile races out to a buoy, around the local dolphin (I kid you not) and back. NBRC ladies set a storming pace to get the first win, followed up by the NBRC men also taking a win. Our mixed crew split the home team and a strong C&PS boat who won the third race.
After that effort and with a pub on the beach it was too much to resist a quick shandy before heading back on the water for some mixed crew, mixed club, pot luck sprints which our own Skiff John B - with a mixture of rowers for each of the clubs, won.
But this was a weekend for relaxing, socialising, and enjoying the stunning scenery and weather, the racing was kind of secondary.
A great weekend.
NBRC travelled to Amble on the Northumberland coast last Sunday to take part in a low key ‘Regatta,’ also attended by Gosforth Community Rowing Club and Blyth Community Rowing Club.
The event was organised as more a social event which also hosted TV cameras filming for the ‘Tales of Northumberland’ series fronted by celebrity, Robson Green. He had previously been involved in the construction of the Amble skiff which had been launched only a week before. The idea was that we would all take part in a race, which in the event was a bit stage managed and focused in on Robson rowing in the Amble skiff. Endless shots were taken from cameras in ribs and a drone helicopter buzzing overhead. Our crew of Sheena, Sandy, Alan B, Jacque and cox Phil had an easy job keeping in front of the newer clubs. Jeannie and Mel supported our rowers by taking photos on shore and on the water.
The whole day was very successful particularly on shore with Robson spending time with all the rowers with lots of chat, laughs and about a million photos and selfies. We also met and socialised with the other clubs and looked forward to meeting again at future events. We particularly noticed that Amble would be a perfect location for an adventure row either up the river to Warkworth Castle or out to sea to Coquet Island.
[Ed: Apologies for earlier confusion, apparently it's a local fisherman called Robson Green, who is a favourite with our ladies]
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