- Published on 07 July 2015
Taking time out from tending blistered bits of body to write up our report of an amazing weekend hosted by Islay Rowing Club. The mere fact of travelling by ferry lends an air of adventure to any expedition and this was no exception. We were treated to a most beautiful two hour cruise under blue skies from Kennacraig to Port Ellen in the south of Islay. Our accommodation for the next three days was “The Nest” a recently refurbished traditional Islay house which was just ideal. On Friday evening we made contact with our hosts in The Islay Hotel to run through the itinerary for the next couple of days. Racing was planned for Saturday and recreational rowing for Sunday, so an early night would have been a good idea!
Saturday dawned dampish( Hissing down with thunder and lightning!) but luckily the serious business of racing was planned for early evening so we took advantage of the time to stretch our legs on the path from Port Ellen to Ardbeg via Laphroaig and Lagavulin! It was amazing to stagger across so many famous names contained within so few square miles!
At 5 we donned our red gear and sallied forth to uphold the honour of NBRC. However, Islay Rowing Club had other plans and we put names in a hat to form teams taken from both clubs. This proved to be enormous fun and, as always, it was really interesting to see how other clubs set up their boats and to pick up tips from their style of rowing. We had ladies’, men’s and mixed racing in three of the five Islay skiffs: Lily Bheag, Bluebell and Bonnie Anne. Competition was fierce, and hugely enjoyed by all of us.
We rounded off the evening with a barbecue on the harbour side where huge amounts of Malteser cake were consumed by the author and friendships cemented.
To our utter delight, recreational rowing on Sunday seemed to involve rowing from one distillery to the next, sampling a range of Islay Malts as we went on our merry way!
Phil’s face was split from ear to ear by a huge cheesy grin which grew steadily wider as the day progressed! Against all the odds, we managed to row back to Port Ellen where the endless hospitality of our hosts saw us leaving the Islay Hotel each bearing a bottle of Islay Malt Whisky!
We had an unforgettable weekend and our thanks must go to Islay Rowing Club for their friendship and hospitality which epitomised the true spirit of Coastal Rowing.
- Published on 28 June 2015
Great day out at South Queensferry where the scenery and home baking are hard to beat Big up to the novice crew of Tracy, Mrs Medium, Ann and Clive who had to pull 16 stone of cox around and still win their race in a very competetive lineup. Placings for mixed , mens and ladies over 40 whilst our open ladies were a victim to some over zealous reading or lack of reading the rules by some of the younger clubs.
Order was restored by the imperious men's open crew romping home coxed by our delightful ladies captain putting the whippersnapper back in their box. There was a mix up race after but the author was stuffing his face with cake after a self imposed fast in the name of weight saving.
- Published on 22 June 2015
A Midsummer Night’s Row – By Alan B., Cameron, Clive, Elisa, Finlay R., Issy, Jo, Karen, Mel and Sheena
“Four oars will quickly steep themselves in night;
Four rowers will quickly dream away the time;
And then the skiff, like to a silver bow
New-bent in heaven, shall behold the night
Of our solemnities.”
Those five lines set the scene for our Summer Solstice adventure on the 21st June 2015. At 3.30am ten not-too-awake NBRC members met at the Dinghy Park to prepare Skiff John B. and Blackadder for the club’s first ever Midsummer Night’s Row.
At exactly 4.00am the two boats left the sleepy shelter of North Berwick harbour and headed towards the Craig. A guillemot nearly joined Skiff John B.’s crew, but decided at the last second that it wasn’t up for this kind of morning exercise and took off without a glance back. On the “dark side” of the Craig, two enchanted crews watched the sun rise through a layer of clouds and felt the mystery of summer approaching.
The fearless journey of the Don Quixotes continued into the teeth of a building sea. The intrepid wanderers sought shelter in the lee of the Lamb and, after a fiery exchange of views with a lobster pot, the boats rafted and rode to a single anchor.
After feasting on Manna and honey wine (okay, coffee and cakes) our heroes were ushered by the winds back towards the safety of their homeland. After defeating a final tempest on rounding the Craig on the last leg of the journey, the expedition made it safely back to shore.
It was 6.00am, and the town was still sound asleep.
- Published on 21 June 2015
Saturday 20th June dawned bright and breezy when a team of NBRC die-hards ventured to Granton Harbour for a different type of Skiff race. Although one of the larger clubs, our team was the only one where our runner ran twice, and our rowers...rowed twice. All other clubs had multiple runners and rowers.
9 Skiffie teams were soon sharing notes and swapping anecdotes from previous ventures: you know, the cameraderie we share is the envy of many other sports. The friendship and common love for this thing that we do is pure magic. It started with a yacht race from Granton to Newhaven, Claire being our 'baton' on yacht (a fancy name for a boat with a lid) Silver Lining (Hi-ho); on arrival the runners raced back up to Granton. Claire arrived a creditable 3rd, ahead of many other fancied runners. We cast off and raced around the Skiffie course, managing to keep our third place. Claire then jumped off, and raced back to Newhaven (what sadist thought this one up?), and re-joined Silver Lining (....and it's hi ho silver lining and away we go...).
Guess what? Yup, the yachts raced back up to Granton. Sadly, during this part of the race, Silver Lining (and it's hi-ho etc) got an 'override' (Google it if you want!) on a winch and lost lots of time, and places. At that point, the competition became a bit less frantic. We formed a procession around Granton harbour, and this was the starting order(with 2 boat lengths between each skiff) for the final leg; a longer Skiff race, finishing back at Granton.
Worthy of note, we made up one place. More significant was, the 'Anstruther girls' moved up from LAST position to 2nd (almost catching the eventual winners Cockenzie/Port Seton) in a race of some 2k. The way the girls row that skiff made everyone else seem pedestrian.
There followed a super feast, and vats of liquid refreshment. It was indeed a great day; we were pleased to finish 6th, and our thanks go to Newhaven and Royal Corinthian for hosting a very enjoyable day.
- Published on 14 June 2015
Well the day dawned very overcast and dreich. The thought of putting on layers and layers in mid June was not high on my agenda after the summer weather of last week. But trying to keep positive it was Sunny Dunny we were heading to. We had our coxes briefing crowded into the cadet hut, with all the fabby cakes on display, whilst Skiff John B was launched in the harbour and rowed over to the pontoon. We pitched our flag and set up camp with a fantastic view of the race course and out of the wind. Coffee and cake on board we all waited for our turns on the water.
The men's and women's open were first up, and with quite a swell was pretty challenging at times. NBRC managed to win both. Then our fantastic newbies, you all deserve a huge pat on the back, a hard race to the first turning buoy, where there was quite a bit of barging about and possibly some strong language too. And gals you did amazing in the straight to the second turn, passing one boat after another. To be pipped at the finish line for third place by one second. So huge well done, and a great welcome into the skiffies world. We didn't have a full 60+ team so Sandy managed to jump in with Porty, he must have finished because he was back on shore, but no idea what place. Rob coxed our 35+ ladies, his first time coxing races, fantastic job and steered them home to a win. Out 35+ men were caught in a tussle with Dunbar, and squeezed home ahead of them for 3rd place. Our 35+ mixed team was truly awesome posting fastest time of the day (Ed's contribution :-))
By this time the swell had gone down a bit and the sun had also made an appearance, the pooh buoy being the final race of the day, our mixed crew of Lizzie, Louise, Medium and Rob rowed with style and power to take that race.
Fantastic day all in all. Not sure how many times I ran up and down the hill to harbour, think I saw most teams in, any excuse for cuddles. Great craic, cakes, racing and wow what super trophies, and thanks weather too.