Glorious sunshine welcomed us to Porty regatta, a really stunning setting with beach views extending far and wide, as well as the familiar and much loved silhouette of The Law in the distance.
The Mixed Novice kicked off the competition winning Gold, which seemed to set the tone for the day! We took home a whopping 6 gold medals, 1 silver and 2 bronze, with the Mens Open setting the quickest time of 8 minutes 43 seconds out of our crews. There was also a relay race which I believe caused much carnage and hilarity across the board.
Conditions were favourable for most of the day, with wind picking up slightly after lunch causing many boats to drift quite considerably off course and veer off their buoys, in turn causing confusion for some boats as well as making their course lengthier. Luckily our coxes are steel and it would take a lot more than a bit of wind to put us off course!
Food was exceptional with fresh made to order rolls, some potato and chorizo dish which had most people salivating from the beach and some delicious home baking on offer.
We had a new member join us on Saturday, a hairy hound called Belle, who provided much love for our team between races. She will be available for future events hopefully sporting a North Berwick Rowing Club bandana! All in favour of a dog entourage? Aye!
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 from 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.
There was a severe weather warning in place, however it was sunscreen that was the order of the day on Saturday, in industrial quantities. Our crews were rather unused to the presence of a giant yellow orb , emitting a heat some rowers compared to that experienced in Woudrichem. Rowing in the sunshine, amongst fellow enthusiasts was altogether a very positive way to spend a Saturday. The rowing wasn’t too shoddy either! Competition was fairly meaningful, in that 9 strong clubs had entered the regatta, but it was NB that lifted the splendid trophy in the photograph. A serious rush of endorphins followed all the rows and it was especially pleasing to see the joy amongst our young women, who are now, most definitely, no longer novice rowers. A wonderful team effort.
The results reflect the changing wind and tide conditions, the earliest races were staged in windless conditions with flat water, later races were slightly more sporty.
As always, rowing in Andy’s race made us appreciate the quality and build of our own skiff, however the lighthearted nature of this race means that acquaintances are made with representatives from a variety of different clubs.
Our hosts were exceptional in their welcome, the four ladies in the quaint little tearoom were worked to the point of exhaustion, producing excellent catering (raspberry and chocolate brownies, to name but one) to suit all palates and never tired of filling up our water bottles. We look forward to returning their superb hospitality at our own regatta.
Monday evenings 6:45pm is junior rowing, open to any s3-s6...learn to row, get some exercise, see some wildlife.
Try 3 sessions for free, then annual subs for juniors are £20, no special equipment needed.
The temperature on leaving North Berwick was a balmy 13.5 degrees Celsius, however this was not mirrored over in the West, where, for the first several hours, warm clothing was not only desirable, but essential. The welcome team NB received however was warm and welcoming, as we have come to expect from our friends in the West.
North Berwick acquitted itself with aplomb and commitment and enjoyed enormous success on the water, despite some underwear malfunction and poorly scheduled toilet breaks. Although we were a few days late for a pod of Orcas, we were treated to close ups of several porpoises, less close up (thankfully)views of a passing submarine and a significant wake from a pilot boat, which made for a very exciting finish in one of the races.
Sufficient points were scored to secure the return of the silver salver to the club for another year. Other highlights were observing the Cowan boys at play, completely absorbed in the business of gathering industrial quantities of seaglass. It is with great interest that we anticipate the arrival of a unique piece of art, with which to embellish our boat house!
Once again, great rowing, excellent company and cameraderie and wonderful organisation, thanks to all who made it another joyful regatta!
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