It’s like this all of the time!

Last weekend saw the weather settle and nearly 650 boats ready to race which can only mean one thing – it was time for the Inverness Fours and Small Boats Head.  While what seemed like the rest of the UK was being battered by wind and torrential rain the waters of the Caledonian Canal remained placid, each morning reflecting back a perfect image of the autumnal trees that line its banks, that is until the first lucky boats made their way up to the start of the head course, cutting the water and spreading rows of ripples in their wake. Is it always like this? Well, best just to say we have been lucky with the weather for the head race weekends for some time now.

So, on to the racing. For inverness we had entries in almost all boat classes – must get a coxless four entered to make the full set next time.  And we had success with our novice coxed quad, mixed masters quad and womens r1 pair all picking up medals.  Really great to see some of the newer members to the club earning medals, along with those more experienced campaigners.  Almost more encouraging was the number of Inverness crews which had been making such an effort to get out training.  Now its time to push on and buld on teh settled crews that have formed in preparation for our winter head, and other fun racing excursions to come.

As always the universities and schools had significant contingents racing and it was an EUBC/St Andrew BC mens quad (Patton) that made it down the course in the fastest time of the weekend clocking 14 minutes 40.76 seconds. The fastest women’s boat was a EUBC quad (Jonsson) that raced down the course in 16 minutes 8.15 seconds.

Of course, as always, a huge thanks to all of those that made the weekends racing happen.  It is always quite an amazing achievment and should never be taken for granted just how much work goes in to making it run, particularly with ever expanding entries.

Goings on around the boathouse

For those that are down to our boathouse regularly, you will have noticed a few things going on.  For those that aren’t down so regularly you may expect to see quite a change next time you visit.  The club development plan has been forging ahead with the learn to row sessions, expanding our membership base, and now the next important phase of this plan is really getting underway with the new training/welfare cabins, changing cabins and additional boat storage area arriving soon: a veritable rowing village!

Plan of the facilities under development

To accommodate all of this activity, in the coming weeks the existing containers are going to be moving around and the ground is going to be prepared.  Work on the new training and welfare units should begin in mid-October and be completed by mid-November.  The changing facilities and boat storage area should follow swiftly thereafter.  Any help members can offer will be gratefully received, and a huge thanks goes to those that have taken this project so far and continue to push it forward.

Sunny sprints in Aberdeen

Driving through the early morning drizzle, expectations may have been tempered.  But as we rigged the many boats we had taken down to the Dee and the large Inverness contingent gathered, the sun broke through heralding what would be a great days rowing.  Inverness had entered 29 crews, including eights, fours, a coxed quad, doubles, pairs and singles. Some members were tasting racing for the first time and some were slightly more seasoned competitors.  There were several excellent close-run races which made for some exciting viewing, including our R2 and masters pairs races and the mixed R2 fours, with one of the best races of the day being between two inverness crews!

Inverness also made off with a decent haul of medals with wins in both the open and women’s novice 2x (Harry Ratcliffe & James Luke and Hannah Luke & Rachel Seed), the open novice 1x (Steven Andrews), the open J16 2x (James Luke & Samuel Roxburgh) and the women’s J16 1x (Megan Bromham).  There was such enthusiasm from some club members that rowing wasn’t enough and so some swimming was also thrown in, maybe just to cool down!

Brilliant performance all round: captains, organisers, drivers, coaches.  Lets hope we can take some of these crews on through autumn and to our November Head Race.

Triple Gold Medal Success for Inverness Rowing Club at the Scottish Rowing Championships

A select team from Inverness Rowing Club travelled to Strathclyde Park at Hamilton for the Scottish Rowing Championships at Strathclyde Park last weekend.

Both competing crews did exceptionally well in the Women’s Intermediate Pairs on Saturday, finishing a very strong first (Heather Gordon and Emily Richens) and second (SaraBrennan and Laura Evans-Smith)! Both crews included individuals who had never raced Coxless Pairs before so it was all the more rewarding!

Sunday saw the wind pick up, making conditions on the water a little more challenging for smaller boats – but it didn’t put Laura and Sara off who took the lead on their time trial and followed it up with a decisive victory overall in the Women’s Intermediate Double Sculls final. Heather then rounded off the already successful weekend by taking away another gold medal in the Women’s Intermediate Single Sculls event – fantastic!

Now its back to the canal to take on the learn to row courses.  if you’re interested in learning to row please do get in touch.

Inverness Winter Head: 5th and 6th of March

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.

The victorious IRC Women’s Novice 8+ crew

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.

Full results can be found here.

A great weekends racing at the Inverness RC Fours & Small Boats Head

The calm before the racing begins

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.

Full Results

Pictures by Donald Cameron

IRC Club Regatta – 14th August 2021

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.

May be an image of lake and nature

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.

Judith McManus (green team captain!)

Great to be back running taster and learn to row sessions!

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!

Not bad conditions for introducing new people to our sport! (Photo: Roy Sinclair)