The filler was sanded, the hull was painted and nail varnish stripes added to foot rests - Skiff John B was back in action and ready for a trip!
On our way up the sun kept shining and the temperature in Aberdeen hit 'taps aff' degrees before dropping down to a 'mibies wear a wind proof jacket' in Portsoy. A selection of tents from the Cowan Corner Shop to Fraser's teeny tiny shelter quickly made up the North Berwick High Street at the camping ground and we even stretched to a little suburban section with rather civilised camper van accommodation, bunting and all!
In the evening we were treated to a most spectacular sunset with 40 odd dolphins playing in the bay. A couple(ish) beers and many good catch ups were had before heading to bed early to rest before a day of competing.
The first regatta day kicked off with 2K races where six seat Shetland yoals, despite being in a different category rowed alongside the skiffs. Team NB came third in the Men's Open and our crew in the Women's Open raced past a yoal to claim first place. It was then time for the sprints where Big John joined forces with the formidable Anstruther ladies in their Mixed 60+ crew and they rowed to second place.
Sadly, it wasn't long after this that the wind started to blow heavily enough to warrant the rest of the day's races to be cancelled but not before Jo and Clive managed to nab a couple of coveted seats in a yoal and join the Shetland crew for a quick spin in the harbour.
Our non-rowing sorrows were drowned in ice cream, rowies, cullen skink, and a beer or two. Sadly the wind kept its stubborn hoolie-gan attitude and Sunday had to be called off all together. We packed up the boat and lingered just long enough to listed to some music, sample some more foods and for Vana to nab a photo with a seemingly random Viking..
..mid posing, Viking to Vana: '..wait..I know you..did you do Make Works*?..I run the spinning mill in Shetland!'
Turns out Vana managed to pick from a sea of people the one hairy Shetlander she'd met 4 year ago while travelling the length of Scotland for a project.
*here's Garry the Viking in less hirsute form
Hoping the weekend was fun even for those who didn't get a chance to row. Captain Jaque certainly made up for it by absolutely and unquestionably winning 'Yellow car' on the journey back.
Big thanks to our hosts for their tremendous hospitality and we hope to see them again soon.
On Sunday we held our first ever Junior Rowing Regatta at North Berwick, the idea was planted about 9 months ago by Robbie, and evolved from an attempt to copy the format we normally use on full regattas, to realising that a looser, more relaxed day might be called for.
A large squad of 11 juniors come down from Deveron accompanied by the wonderfully garrulous Roisin and Shawnee. The energy of the kids belied their 5 hour drive down from the Moray coast.
Gareth, Stuart and Dave (surely by now in demand as a wild Scottish hipster in some Tartan Noir series) towed over Boatie Blest from nearby Port Seton and provided their expert services in coxing the Deveron crews around our races.
Firth of Clyde brought Robbie (Full of power, look out men’s open in a year or two), David and Kate over from Largs.
Eastern came through in Skelf with a couple of crews of boys and girls. Races started with a series of 500m sprints with the following results (Deveron were rowing in Boatie Blest. Blackadder was FOCCRs plus guests)
|Girls||St Baldred||Eastern||Boatie Blest|
|Boys||Blackadder||Boatie Blest||St Baldred|
|Mixed 1||Boatie Blest||St Baldred||Eastern|
|Mixed 2||St Baldred||Eastern||Boatie Blest|
Following the sprints we had a short pursuit race, a la Port Seton
|Semi Final 1||Eastern vs Blackadder||Eastern|
|Semi Final 2||Boatie Blest vs St Baldred||Boatie Blest|
|Final||Boatie Blest vs Eastern||Boatie Blest|
The day dawned windy and wet but who was to know that by the end of the day we'd be sitting on the wall of Portobello prom, quaffing Jacque’s raffle-prize cider in brilliant sunshine. The regatta was attended by 9 clubs and by the start of the first race the rain had stopped and the sun had started to break through.
North Berwick 60+ women took gold in a fiercely contested race.
The 60+ men and 45+ mixed crews secured two more golds. The day finished with two races, an inter-club race where we were allocated places in other skiffs.
This was won by St Andrews and a relay race in which we achieved 4th place catching-up on two boats during the final leg.
North Berwick shared the spoils of the day with Anstruther. Considering our numbers were few we did exceptionally well.
A few of us are still wondering who snaffled Louise’s carrot cake which she left in the gazebo saving for after her race. Several dogs were sniffing around, Duncan left early but apart from that, it's all a bit of a mystery (Ed: Duncan was seen licking his lips as he scarpered, mystery solved ;-) )
Some persona non grata, at the Porty regattaFancied a slice of home bakingAnd followed a scent, to the North Berwick tentAnd there some lay just for the taking Louise,It's an enormous mistake to abandon your cakeand then decide to go rowingAnd thus you found out, that a thief was aboutWho did it? You'd no way of knowing. “I left it right there, at the back, on a chair”This plate of delicious home bakingWas it someone she knew from some other crew?Who thought it was there for the taking. It beggars belief that this cake-loving thiefMade off with the slice Lou was savingOne from NBRC? perhaps it was meBut they certainly ended her craving Jeannie Newcombe
They came on planes, in cars, on boats and jumped on their rental bikes on arrival. North Berwick crews, sporting their natty away-jackets, descended on Woudrichem in style for their first international regatta.
The welcome they found in Woudrichem was overwhelming. A few of us would confess that the prospect of the free camping in a field (following a weekend of - shall we say - mixed weather camping in Achiltibuie) filled them with trepidation. Their fears were quickly laid to rest. The organisers had performed a minor miracle and had transformed the field into a pop up camp site with hot showers and lots of toilets - really impressive. The ferry and towing contingent had kindly erected tents for the late night flyers and were able to fill them in on how amazing the hospitality, area, club house and company were and to point them in the direction of breakfast-with-a-view. They raved about the day of touring and sprinting and the kindness that they had experienced on Thursday. The camaraderie was immediate as old friends and rowing rivals, newer friends - met at the Skiffie Worlds - and the newest friends from the Dutch teams, all bonded effortlessly. Laughter and banter was everywhere. On Friday, we rowed or ferried across the river, helped launch a new Dutch skiff in Gorichem and tested herring and Dutch Gin. Vana, Clive and John I. excelled at net-casting in the evening, others excelled at gin tasting on the fascinating city tour and we all enjoyed a trip to the fisheries museum and ate our fill of delicious fried fish (with a few tiny Heinis).
Undeterred by the distracting range of activities, food and drink on offer, an excellent day’s racing took place in very hot conditions on Saturday. Two km races with an individual buoy turn. The heat provided truly testing conditions and there were some close fought results, with the newer Dutch teams proving to be ones to watch. Somehow, we still found energy to dance the night away on Saturday at the excellent party night and barbecue. North Berwick medals jingled and we were hugely moved to receive a beautiful bronze sculpture by a local artist as best overseas club. The flyers departed early Sunday, leaving the trusty towers and drivers to pack in some last minute experiences of beautiful Woudrichem and its surrounds, before heading for the ferry. There really was nothing more our fabulous hosts could have offered to improve our stay. The haul of beautiful medals and trophies for North Berwick (overall winner, 5 Golds (Women’s 40+,Men’s Open, Mixed 40+, Men’s 60+, <25 Women); 4 Silvers (Men’s 40+, Men’s 50+, Women’s Open; Mixed Open); and 2 Bronzes (Women’s 50+ and Mixed 50+) was nothing compared to the haul of magical memories that we all have to treasure.
Full Results here
In late May eighteen rowers and various children travelled to Achiltibue for the regatta which is probably the furthest for most to travel to but nonetheless one of the most popular in the calendar. The weather forecast was for a dreich day, we were not let down and the club gazebo made life bearable for spectating.
Eleven clubs took part and we were not sure where the competition would come from and whether rivals Coigach, Eastern and Ullapool would come with strong squads, or not. Nerves were settled when we won the first race, the Women 50+. This was followed by a second in the Men 50+ and a win in the Decades category. The all-important points tally was looking good for us but we didn’t compete in the Novice, Men Under 19, Mixed 60+ and Men 60+ so lost some scoring opportunities. We then got back on track with the Women 40+ (2nd), Men 40+ (3rd), Mixed 40+ (1st) and Mixed 50+ (3rd). The Open races are always the most anticipated events and in the Mixed race we came in a close second behind Eastern, a result which was repeated in the Women’s race. The Men were able to reverse the result in their race and came in first in front of Eastern. Probably for the first time every rower went home with at least one medal
The tally for the day put us in equal first place with Ullapool and then Eastern (3rd) followed by Coigach and Avoch.
The evening social event in the village hall was the usual presentations, eating, drinking, chatting, and laughing. A thoroughly enjoyable day for everybody, well organised and welcoming from our Coigach friends.
On the Sunday John I, Lizzie, Vana, Jacque and Sandy went off for a four hour adventure around the Summer Isles, in slightly better weather. Spectacular scenery, navigational challenges and planning further adventures were the order of the day. We’ll be back !
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