Saturday 24th September
Lewis organised a days training for a group of 5 of the club paddlers in blustery force 3-4 conditions off Farlie.

 Lewis put the group through various skills of close quarter manoeuvring. 

let hope these guys can move on to the assessment once they have cracked open water rolling (lets hope we can access a local pool for winter training

Maritime conections  of Troon  will be providing a RYA VHF opperators  course at the Club

This is a one day vhf radio course and simply tends to be known as the VHF Course. The course/exam leads to the new Short Range Certificate (SRC) and covers the new Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS course).

Course Dates  12 of November 2011

9.00 am – 5.00

Cost  £80  (this includes the RYA exam fee) Payable on booking your place on the course)

12 places available

To book your place on the course please contact Dave Marquis 01475522053

Place may be available for non club members

The weather on Saturday was variable, if you were in Greenock, however a small band of members from the Club took a wander to Carrick Castle on Loch Goil and managed to stay in the sunny & dry weather zone for almost the entire day. As rain spread from the Argyll Hills East over Inverclyde and North over Dunoon & up towards Loch Goil the crew in Chippy McNish avoided all the showers other than 10 minutes as they rowed out of Loch Goil and back into Loch Long at 16:00.

The day had started badly with blustery weather in Greenock at about 07:30-08:00, some of the younger members of the crew apparently questioned if the trip would be on as they got out of bed at an unearthly time on a Saturday morning. By the time the crew met at the Club the weather was fine. Chippy McNish was launched and packed ready for a day trip to assess the suitability of the skiffs for long distance cruising.

In the crew were Heather Scott, Skye, Calum Ford, Alec Stewart, Alex Paterson & Adam Graham. They are pictured above enjoying a break at the Knockderry Hotel.

We left the Club at 10:05 and were off Knockderry Hotel by 11:15. We were all so engrossed in the discussions in the boat and the views that we nearly rowed right past the hotel. It was a comment from Heather that brought us to our senses and led to a brief stop to assess the suitability of the hotel for the forthcoming Closing Cruise. It definitely sells beer and looks comfortable. The staff were also very helpful and welcoming, even with us in wet shoes and trackies.

The next objective was Ardentinny, this took us about 30 minutes. It only took this long as we had to give a wide berth to a freighter and its accompanying tug as they came down the loch. we rekindle old relationships with the beach and sailing club shed at the activity centre. All is still there but there are curiously two dragon boats at the top of the beach now. A check was made on the hotel, it is closed at the moment but looks as though someone is doing some work on it and the external appearance is not shabby.

We lunched on the beach before heading off for Carrick Castle, our ultimate goal. As we continued up Loch Long we were being constantly observed by MOD Police launch at Coulport and the watch towers. Stories abounded about who might be watching and listening to every word we were saying. There was even speculation about the true identities of some slow moving sea birds floating nearby.

As we rounded the corner into Loch Goil there were very light rain showers near the opposite shore and these generated some fantastic rainbows, see below. This phenomenon continued for the next 2 hours. This was also where we saw the first of the seal that were to follow us all the way back to Knockderry.
We landed at Carrick Castle about 15:00. As a lot of you may know the hotel has been demolished and is now a site awaiting development. There are no shops left open in the village and the castle itself is signposted as Private Property. It is still a lovely spot, as can be seen in the photos below.

Leaving Carrick Castle at 15:45 we rowed out of Loch Goil past numerous rainbows and finally got caught in a rain shower. This shower lasted about 10-15 minutes and stopped just after the cables cross Loch Long. Following a route intended to keep us well away from Coulport we headed South, once Alex took the helm we cut the corner slightly and ended up about 20 yards off the pier as we pasted the gatehouse. Our spirits were kept high by thoughts of a stop at Knockderry but as the return trip was without the benefit of the tide and wind it was much slower. The stop at Knockderry was not going to be feasible and we pressed on for the Club.

In the second hour heading South, as we crossed the bay towards Cove Sailing Club, idle banter in the boat ceased. Hands and butts were sore. Muscles stiff when crew changes happened. All were looking forward to a shower, hot food and a beer. As we moved from Loch Long to the Clyde the waves were from the South West, forcing us onto the shore. We quartered the waves, making for Gourock rather than the Club. When we got to about mid-channel we turned for the Club and could use the waves to partially surf back.

Arriving at the Club just after 19:00 we had completed the trip down from Carrick Castle in a little over 3 hours and the whole 24mile trip in 9 hours. Approximately 6 hours of that time spent on the water. We were welcomed back by family, Chippy went away quickly and everyone went home happy and tired.

The skiff is light and easy to handle in comparison to a Heavy Four. It moves quickly and has plenty of space for spare oars, all the equipment you might require for a long trip and a dog. However the five man crew means that you typically row for 60 minutes and have 15 minutes coxing. That 15 minutes is spent steering, trying to do anything else, like eating or pouring a cup of tea, can be awkward. Think the skiffs are ideal for 2-3 day trip but would have to think hard about anything longer.

Proposed date is Saturday 1st October.

Weather permitting
Leave beach at 10am and head for Knockderry Hotel beach.
Arrive there between 11:30-12:00, picnic lunch on the beach/hotel lawn/hotel lounge (maybe some football)
Leave Knockderry about 14:00
Back at Club about 15:30-16:00
Boats away for the Winter, shower, bar

Phone in takeaway food and have a social gathering of members, kids and all.

If conditions too bad for trip to Knockderry
Impromtu teaching session with skiffs
Scratch regatta off the Club beach with a mix of members from each discipline in the skiffs
Tea, coffee and biscuits in the shed
Picnic lunch in the Club lounge
Boats away for the Winter, shower, bar

Social gathering of members in the lounge, kids and all.

Club’s RIB will be out on the day to provide safety cover as we cruise to Knockderry, there are plenty of yacht mooring there belonging to the hotel.

Anyone interested in taking part should post a comment below or contact Adam Graham.

The Club will be holding a Halloween Party on Saturday 29th October.

Details can be found on posters in the Clubhouse or by printing off your own.

Members and guests welcome.

Below is a link to the poster

halloween poster

A group of 10-12 year olds marked the end of their first season rowing with a Fun Night at the Club. There was a Rowing & Club related quiz, then a scratch regatta using the St Ayles Skiffs.

From Left to Right are Katrina Bryce, Andrew Graham, Ruairidh Smith, Kyle McPaul, Anna Kane & Rosie Kane. During the first night of kayaking in April Katrina, Andrew, Ruairidh & Anna asked if they could also row. Time was set aside before the senior outings for them to learn to row and they have been attending every week since.

They were initially taught to row in the Club’s pairs, this let them get used to the rowing action without having to be too concerned with timing. It also let them gain in confidence and knowledge about how the boats. They were taken through the basics of signing boats in & out, carrying & laying down oars, getting in & out of the boats, launching/recovering boats from the beach and club slipways as well as terminology we use at Royal West. They were also given a target of taking part in a race at the Club’s Regatta in July. This proved a major driver for them.

The pair of Ruairidh and Anna won the race on the day but the fact that the four of them were ready and able to race pairs at the Club three month after taking up the sport is a great indicator of their eagerness about all things Royal West.

After the regatta they pressured the coaches to let them try a St. Ayles Skiff, they took to this like ducklings to water. On their first outing they were in time and in control very quickly. There is a bit of competition for the strokes seat, this will need to get ironed out in the Spring.

Kyle started to row in late August and has quickly learned the terminology, he will gain in confidence and understanding of technique during the winter outings and in the Spring next year. Anna’s sister Rosie should also be able to join in more then.

All the Juniors were presented with Basic Rowing Awards. These recognise that they have all demonstrated their understanding of Fixed Seat Rowing as we do it at Royal West. There is no nationally recognised award scheme for participants in rowing, however the Club coaches felt that the effort and level of competency achieved by this group during the season should be marked in some way. As Royal West is a major influence in Fixed Seat Rowing on mainland Scotland maybe we should be creating such a scheme.

In the Rowing/Club Quiz Anna won with 23/23, the rest of her crew got at least one wrong. Embarassingly the 16-17 year olds who took part in the quiz came last.

We should not forget that Calum, Alec & Scott (see below) volunteered to make up numbers in the scratch regatta and should be thanked for this. They are also part of a group taking the St. Ayles Skiffs away for the day on Saturday to assess them for cruising. The trip leaves the beach about 09:30 and will aim to get to Ardentinny, if not Carrick Castle, before returning to the Club. They have also competed for the Club this year at a couple of events, most notably a demonstration event at Strathclyde Park during the Scottish Rowing Championships.

A big THANK YOU needs to go out to the mums & dad who bring the juniors down to the Club on a Monday and Thursday nights, regardless of the weather, so that they can participate in kayaking or rowing. We hope to see you all at the forthcoming social events, where you can come down without the juniors and let your hair down.

To all coastal rowing clubs

Queensferry Rowing Club would like to open the invitation to our annual Ceildh to all members of the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association. The Ceildh will be held on 7 October 2011 at the Loan, South Queensferry, from 8.00pm to 11.30pm. The caller will be Sheila McCutcheon and the band will be Freeland Barber and Kevin McLeod. Tickets are £8 and it will be BYO booze.

Kind Regards

Secretary Queensferry Rowing Club

Member clubs of the SCRA have been invited to organised trips over the next month.

One is being run by Dunbar CRC on 25th September from Berwick to Paxton House. Please look at the SCRA website for details.

The other is being run by Cockenzie & Port Seton RC on Sunday 2nd October along a stretch of the Tay starting at the Perth rail bridge slip and ending at the Tay Bridge.

Anyone interested should contact Adam Graham

The 2nd Annual Oban Sea Kayak Race took place on Saturday 3rd September.
The organisers state “the field this year was very competitive and was reflected by the range of racing boats and the finishing times.” As well as the serious boats there were plenty of flash winged paddles on show.
George McCallum was representing the Royal West and came in 9th with 2:18:53, beating his target time and coming 2nd among standard sea kayaks. This is an excellent result, and although it’s a great effort by George, it won’t surprise anyone to hear that he’s determined to do better next year!

George at the end of the race

George was fairly closely followed by 2 of our GKC friends – Chris Bell 11th in 2:20:45 and Andy McManus 12th 2:22:54.
More photos and further details are available here:

The club’s rowing fleet was in action on a number of fronts over the weekend, competitively, socially and promoting the club within the local (and not so local) community.

On Friday Birdie Bowers travelled to the Viking Festival in Largs to form part of the exhibition of products and services provided by The Trust in Port Glasgow ( Birdie will be on display until the Festival closes on 4th September. We have been invited to publicise the Club and Scottish Coastal Rowing, Ian Clark & John Glover are arranging to do during the week. A full programme of events is available at

On Saturday morning a group left town with Chippy McNish for North Berwick to compete in their regatta. The grim weather forecast for the day did not materialise and the crew took part in two events, Men’s 35+ and Men’s Open. The course was over 2 nautical miles from just off North Berwick harbour wall NW to Craigleith, clockwise round it and then South back to North Berwick. At times the swell was 5-6 foot and you could not see the rest of the fleet or the shore. The combination of scenery, swell and race length, all wrapped in a comfortable blanket of safety, made for some very exciting racing regardless of where you finished in the results.

A report and photos from the event can be found at

The full results are available at

In the Men’s 35+ the club came in 4th in a field of 7, in the Men’s Open we came in 7th in a field of 11. As can be seen in the times for the Open event the battle for 6th, 7th, 8th & 9th was hotly contended, far more so than 1st-5th. There was 12 seconds separating four boats after a 2 mile race. There was only one second between Royal West and Portobello.

North Berwick was the last SCRA regatta of the year, although there are some events and invitational races being planned.

On the way back from North Berwick Chippy McNish stopped over at South Queensferry to help resurrect a traditional race between South and North Queensferry. On Sunday afternoon a crew from Queensferry RC ( ) in Ferry Lass and a composite crew from Royal West & Queensferry RC in Chippy McNish raced from the Hawes Pier, under the rail bridge, on the South side to the old railway pier on the North. The event formed part of a Harbour Day Festival in the North and was being used to promote the formation of a rowing club on the North side.

Conditions were well within the capabilities of the boats and crews but the safety cover provided by the RNLI was welcome as the wind against tide was generating waves that varied from 2-5 feet. The crossing took about 30-35mins and was won by the local crew in Ferry Lass.

Burgers, coffee and cake were taken at the Harbour Festival. We were joined by the team from Anstruther who had stopped over on their way back from North Berwick to cheer on the crews.

The RNLI Lifeboat provided safety cover for the crossing South to North was called away on business prior to the return crossing. The return was more direct as the boats headed for Port Edgar marina under the road bridge. The conditions had eased slightly due to the tide having turned but the crossing was still exciting.

Once the boats were safely back ashore at Queensferry RC the tea and biscuits were broken out again and we were joined by some of the Anstruther team for a chat and debrief about the whole weekend. It was a fantastic example of the friendliness and spirit of the SCRA community.

There was also rowing activity back at the Club over the weekend. It is forty years since they’ve all been together, but on Saturday six ‘old codgers’ met up to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the longest row in the Royal West’s history.

In 1971 the ‘lads’ as they were then rowed in the Zebra from the club in Greenock to Skye and back, a round trip of some 400 miles. This time the trip was the somewhat less arduous pop across the Clyde to Kilcreggan to the local hostelry where they replaced lost fluids and blethered about old times.

“We had a great afternoon,” said Roger Graham. “We had never been together in the one place since these days and we thoroughly enjoyed it. It was difficult to get us all in the one place at the one time as we are spread all over the country, three of the boys coming from down South. In many ways it was like old times.

“Most of us were involved in several long rows at the time, including one to Ireland and another to the Outer Hebrides when we tried to get to St Kilda, but bad weather intervened. The Skye row was the longest as it turned out, probably because the weather was a bit better that year.”

“We would like to thank the club for their support in preparing the boat, and also to those who helped the old men up and down the slip with the boat.” While we all agreed that age has only leant us a certain distinguished air, we could not argue that a few pounds have gone on here and there, and I don’t mean at the Bookies.

“There was a suggestion that we ought to make it an annual event. That will be the Wizard annual, or the Beano I think.”

The ‘Lads’ in the photo above are (from Bow to Stern) Roger Graham, Colin Campbell, Sam Brown, Dugald Carmichael, Ian Cameron and Ian MacDonald.

Roger has agreed to speak on some of his Long Rows at a forthcoming SCRA coaching event at Royal West on the last weekend of October. More about that event will be posted on the website and Club notice boards.

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