Well done to all who made the effort, North Berwick, Musselburgh and Port Seton, put on our brave faces helping each other out with lifting boats and filling in spaces in others teams too. We had a laugh, tried to keep cosy and at least, got to row.
This was pretty challenging for coxes as well, with huge gusts blowing across the lake, avoiding obstacles and the bank. Brought back memories of sharp mud landings in the past, no names mentioned......
So we had three categories. Men, ladies and mixed. With two boats racing clockwise from separate points chasing round jumps. We raced each team one after the other, getting warmer....
A wee break for coffee then mixed races, very blowy by this stage. But all in all we got to row and chat with rowing buddies. First were Port Seton receiving a night on Foxfalls and a lovely new trophy, NB were second and Musselburgh close behind. Thank you to the awesome, award winning, Foxlake team for hosting and providing beer for the rowers, and to everyone for the support.
Two NBRC members were married at the weekend. We believe this is the first wedding for two people who were brought together through St Ayles skiffs. Both Finlay and Elisa raced for North Berwick at the St. Ayles Skiff World Championships at Ullapool in July 2013, where they found they had more in common than the odd blister and a love of the sea. One year later, at Ullapool Skiff Regatta 2014, Finlay proposed to Elisa. The setting for this proposal was on Skiff John B (one of the three St. Ayles Skiffs, built by north Berwick Rowing Club), sat on the shore on Ullapool beach.
The connection with rowing has continued, so much so that, after the wedding ceremony on Saturday,Finlay and Elisa were rowed from the beach in North Berwick Bay, just down from the Church, 1 mile along the coast to The Glen Golf Club in Milsey Bay, where their reception was held. The vessel used was Skiff John B. They were escorted by a flotilla of North Berwick skiffs: St Baldred, Blackadder and Zev.
The day started with clear blue skies and ended exactly the same way. This writer’s first trip down the silvery Tweed and the conditions were as perfect as they could be which was reassuring after some of the ‘horror stories’ that had been passed around from previous outings!
Our intrepid ‘double crew’ all met up at the start, marvelling at all the skiffs that kept arriving and it began to dawn on us that this was going to be quite a flotilla heading downstream. Thirteen in all and one very jauntily dressed up as a giant fish..maybe we’ll need to think about fancy dress next year?
So off we went, stowaway on board, soaking up the sun and wishing she’d brought her hipflask with her. The ‘Fish boat’ came along aside with five bearded and ‘sou’westered’ rowers..what japes!! One of our crew reminded us that this wasn’t a race ‘but let’s get to Paxton House first’!! Cox Cap’n Red got herself into a comfy sunbathing position and gave out the odd instruction, but only if we fancied..all very chilled.
Under the three bridges and about an hour later we were pulling up (yes, first to arrive!) on the shingly, shiny banks of the Tweed at Paxton. All the other skiffs moored up and there were many happy groups of folk along the riverbank.We dived into our picnics as though we hadn’t eaten for days and found the best positions to catch a few, surprisingly, warm rays. Dr Clare practised some eye-watering stretches (in prep for a course this week) but the rest of us lazed about, throwing in the occasional helpful comment..well, we thought they were helpful! And then a little wooden boat appeared, to add to the magical feel, and a toddler enjoyed what was probably his first time rowing with his Dad. With that as an example, lots of envious little people wanted a go, so three of our crew went out in Skiff ’Grace’ from Gosforth, up to the Chain Bridge..the little ones oo’ing and ah’ing all the way! Rachael felt she was in a scene from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!
But the magical afternoon had to come to an end. The second crew got themselves ready and we waved them off. We decided to have some coffee and cake as consolation in the stunning surroundings of Paxton.
What an absolutely perfect day..could not have been bettered.
On a very calm and surreal morning we headed to watch Cockenzie Power Station twin chimneys be blown to the ground. The weather was so still, with a but of warmth to. Sea was almost glass like. Our two boats mustered with all three Boatie boats, plus Anster and Dunbar. The Port Seton harbour was a mass of activity. Boats were launched into the bay and we all rowed together upwind. The sight must have been amazing from the air, so many drone I'm sure we'll get to see, every type of water craft out in front to watch the sombre end of two iconic landmarks. On the stroke of noon a large bang reverberated through our bodies and they fell into each other with amazing cheers whistles and emotion all around. Another bang sounded sharply after as the engine room at the front went up. We hung around for quite a while after, meeting briefly with Musselburgh and waving to Porty too. What a dust went down towards Port Seton. We plodded slowly back in to harbour, after raising a glass (polystyrene cup) of fizz to our nearly Mrs Robertson, what a way to spend your last weekend of freedom. Thanks especially to our towers Hugh and Craig, couldn't do it without you.
Next stop the Tweed
When most of North Berwick were still tucked up in their beds, ten mad souls dragged themselves to the harbour for the first, of hopefully many, captains' coffee and cake social rows.
The bells were just chiming 8 when we launched into a fantastic morning sea. Going out the West Passage at just after full tide we got our first sighting of the dolphins just off the rocks. Totally amazing. Our two boats followed to The Lamb where we appeared to lose them. On through to Fidra where we landed and climbed to the topmost point. Views were stunning, but I think it's fair to say the cakes were best. You could have heard a pin drop as we all munched and drank coffee admiring the views and the dolphins between us and the shore. After our well earned rest we started our descent. We were trying to ignore Alan as he wandered off for some peace.... but were all surprised when he arrived back at the boats, in a pirate outfit.....strange things happen at sea. What a guy.
It was a bit of a stretch getting back into boats with the tide falling. Boats were backed out again from the little harbour with fantastic skill, and we started the lovely row home. Landing back on the beach as the clock struck 11. A superb morning with an excellent wee gang. Come join us next time, watch for the shouts, where will we go next time??
Captains medium and RED
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