It was with some disbelief that, following what had felt like incessant storms since Christmas, and the concomitant impact on training, that the trend changed and a forecast emerged that looked like it would smile on the Inverness Winter Head. And so it transpired that the sun shone and the wind puffed gently, in a largely helpful direction. With over 300 entries across all boat classes there were many smiles at the weather we laid on. Some of the biggest smiles seen belonged to our Novice women’s 8+ who enjoyed overtaking two student crews on the way down the course to come away with the medals in their event. The crew included some rowers that had not raced before but their performance really showed the benefits of a committed crew and regular coaching.
Inverness entered a total of 11 boats and many of us gained valuable experience and a taste of what is required to be competitive. Now time to start building towards the summer regatta season.
The weekend of the 20th-21st of November saw our normally quiet canal abuzz with rowers and boats sporting kit and insignias from across Scotland (& one from England). Despite a mixed forecast luck, and sun, shone on most of the divisions and a larger than expected entry of over 560 boats enjoyed fine conditions for racing. For a number of IRC members this was their first taste of racing, which is great for the club. IRC also saw success in a number of categories, having wins in each division (Novice 1x Steven Andrews: Vet 2- Robert Gordon & Dave Rothwell: WR2 2x Sara Brennan and Laura Evans-Smith: R2 1x Steven Andrews: MixMas 4x including Tom Baker). Edinburgh University Boat Club claimed the overall Head of the Caledonian Canal prize with an impressive entry of quality crews. Thanks must go to all of the volunteers who helped make the race happen as well as Highland Campervans for their sponsorship. Caley Marina, Scottish Canals, The Storehouse and Gael Force Marine also offered valuable support. We are very much looking forward to welcoming clubs back again for our Eights Head in March.
We are really happy to announce that Highland Campervans have kindly offered to sponsor our Fours & Small Boats Head which is fast approaching (20th & 21st November). As well as providing financial support for the event they will be providing a camper van to act as the race control.
We are excited to have released the details of our Fours and Small Boats Head which will run on the 20th and 21st of November. The details can be found over on our events site and we are looking forward to seeing old faces and new over the weekend of racing. Fingers crossed we get some great weather like last time!
After a nearly two year wait, Inverness Rowing Club returned to racing in a club regatta! Due to the COVID-19 pandemic competitive racing across the country has been hampered so it was with eager anticipation that the club gathered for a day of friendly side by side racing on the Caledonian canal.
Two teams were organised, red and green. To include everyone crews were formed from a mixture of our recent learn to row cohort, juniors and our more experieced members allowing racing in singles, doubles, quads, eights as well as coxed tub doubles for the beginners. Races were run over sprint courses of 250 and 500 meters.
It was a closely fought battle but after the initial races both teams were equal with five points apiece. The final race was a head to head “meeting of the VIIIs”, where the reds and the greens met in a side-by-side spectacle with three separate events of 250m, 250m and 500m courses. To say the final race was eventful would be an understatement! Both teams had significant set backs including near collisions, steering issues and catching crabs; but after determined efforts from both sides the final result was called a draw.
It was fantastic to see so many faces, both new and experienced, on the canal banks and the day brought everyone together after such a long time away. Many thanks to Dave Rothwell for his meticulous planning and also to my fellow team captain, Heather Gordon, for her fantastic organisation on the day.
We’ve not been back in crew boats long but with the various lockdowns there has been a steady stream of enquiries about joining the club from both experienced rowers and complete novices. This has seen us run introductory sessions for 6 potential new members and our first taster session attracting 11 people entirely new to rowing. Hopefully we will see those that attended move on to our 6 week learn to row program. They couldn’t have been provided better conditions to give it a go!
That’s our IRC Intra-Club ‘Virtual’ Head completed! We had 21 entries from 16 members, a great response. Well done everyone who entered a time!
We plan to run another Intra-Club Virtual Head in February to give you target to train towards, and a chance to improve on the times submitted. Hopefully we will also see a few more members returing to the water.
Here are the results (feel free to rank by any metric you choose):
Thanks to everyone that took part and a special mention to thoose that took the opportunity to race the head course for the first time or in a new crew. Great effort!!
Former IRC member Dick Ruane, with the help of Jim Flood, has donated his oars to Lake Victoria Athletic Club, which is predominantly a rowing club, based in Kisumu, Kenya. Adam Cartier, who co-founded the club in 2011 passes on a huge thank you as they are in great need of equipment and these blades will be well used by the members of the club and the Kisumu community.
November is when we would usually welcome clubs from throughout Scotland, and the UK, to our Fours and Small Boats Head. However, under current restrictions it has not been possibe to run this event. However, with the prospect of no racing for the foreseeable future we thought we would organise an Intra-Club ‘Virtual’ Head.
This will run throughout November, during which you can submit your head course time here. Club members can enter in as many different crew configurations/categories as they want and for those less keen to get back on the water, the head course can be completed on the erg or you could run the course.
Setting a base level time can be a great way to gauge if your training and drills are working and as such, we plan to run a similar event in February so as we can compete against ourselves and see what improvements we have managed. There may even be a prize for most improved.
The course can be found on Strava, which provides a really simple way record your time.
Of course a wide range of prizes will be available for the different categories such as the adulation of your peers, tremendous sense of satisfaction and achievement, etc, etc 🙂
We look forward to receiving your times which will be collated and posted to the members area as they come in. Good luck and enjoy your race!
Safety points: you should remember that even after the canal is closed to cruisers (7th Nov.), occasional boats will be coming upstream and so you should stick to your side of the canal, and not take the racing line. If you are not confident with your steering you could consider asking someone to bank party.