Pirates of The Nith

On the penultimate competitive outing by the Club, a rowing squad of nine attended the Nith Navigation Race with Chippy McNish and Sprite. Sprite is one of the Club’s three Jollyboats.

Royal West Jollyboat Sprite

There were six boats in the race from five clubs (Royal West, N. Berwick, N. Queensferry, Troon & Carrick). We raced from Glencaple to Whitesands in Dumfries, North up the Nith, with the tide.

In the style of the Heads events boats started by rowing through the start line one at a time where the watch started. The start order was

The Wightman Family from N. Berwick in Speedwell

Ailsa Lass from Troon

Ferry Sonnet from N.Queensferry

Carrick Maid, from Carrick

Chippy McNish


The finishing order was a very different picture.

Within the first mile, of the 5 mile race, Sprite had caught up with and passed Chippy McNish. By the two mile mark it had passed Troon & Carrick. As the river narrowed and the tidal influenced decreased we happened upon the coxed double scull crewed by the Wightman family of N. Berwick. The very relaxed approach by thier cox nearly led to some encounters with over hanging branches, and reminded the crew in Sprite of lazy days spent messing about on the river.

Pressing on, Sprite was rapidly chasing down the powerful crew from N.Queensferry, as the pleasent late summer sounds of Dumfries town centre approached (the fair was in town, you couldn’t hear yourself think). Our cox saw an increase in the N.Queensferry rating as we turned the last corner on the river, and called for more power from his crew. Finishing one minute behind N.Queensferry, Sprite recorded the fastest time over the course and a new course record of 43:15. Finishing order by time was as follows:

Sprite (RW) 43:15
Ferry Sonnet (NQ) 46:30
Chippy McNish (RW) 47:15
Carrick Maid (CCRC) 47:45
Speedwell (NB) 49:30
Ailsa Lass (TCRC) 50:00

Chippy McNish’s crew of M.Paterson, M.B.Henderson, C.Ford, P.Charlsewood(TCRC) & I.Clark turned in an impressive performance, finishing third overall and second in the St.Ayles Skiff category.

The boats then cruised down to Kingholm Quay, about 1 mile back down the course. The crew in Sprite (R. Graham(Bow), K.Graham(2), Capt.A.Paterson(3), A.Graham(Stroke) & C.Campbell(Cox)) stretched her legs a bit further during this trip by practicing racing starts and at one point racing the safety boat. The feeling in Sprite was one of exhileration at the speed and responsiveness of this old, but impressive, racing boat. At one point during the race we were recorded doing 9.9mph, we averaged 7.1mph over the full distance. The fastest skiff did the course in an average of 6.1mph.

At Kingholm Quay, where the boats were to be lifted out by telescopic forklift, there was an opportunity for some interested folks to come out in Sprite. Bob Dawson of Troon commented on Facebook “Nice to be invited to row a boat twice as old as me, feeling priviliged”, he also added “120 years old, held together with copper rivets, fast as f**k”. (Cheers Bob, glad you enjoyed the outing).

At Kingholm Quay we also had the fun of lifting the boats out. In particular there was the scene of a certain Mr.Campbell being hoisted out like Queen Victoria.

Colin & Sprite being hoisted

Prior to the prizegiving at The Swan we had a barbecue and then enjoyed the delights of a knockout conker competition. The winner was a lady involved with the skiff in Annan, she was awarded a Golden Conker. Below is the Convenor of the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association loosing to his daughter.

Go on Robbie!!!!!!

For the full set of photos courtesy of Bob Dawson & Karen Graham follow the link below

Roy Kerr and his team at the Nith Navigational Trust are to be congratulated for thier fantastic organisation of the event and enthusiasm for keeping the Nith navigable. A great day was had by all participants and spectators. Sure to be back next year.

Adam Graham
Hon. Sec.

“Mirror Calm”, Courtesy of Roy Henderson

As you may know, a number of hardy explorers left the Club beach on Sunday morning to find the source of the River Leven. They all returned safely later that day, although a pack of “wild” animals did eat Alex’s lunch.

Ashore near Renton, Roy Henderson

Click on this link to see a large collection of photos taken by Roy Henderson.

On Thursday night last, while waiting for the squad to arrive to load Chippy for our adventures in Maidens, we heard a shout from a small yacht that was tacking near the Club beach.

We thought he was asking about coming ashore with his yacht and went down the beach to shout him off. As I got to the top of the middle slip I could see the reason for him waving and shouting. His tender was washed ashore on the beach to the West of the middle slip. The rising tide was about to push it onto the concrete clunks.

A group of us lifted it to safety and then tried to work out a means of getting it back to the yacht, as he obviuosly needed it to get ashore wherever he was going. At that Campbell McCall was sighted, considering whether to go out for a swim. Never one to avoid a challenge, he donned his wetsuit and rowed the tender out to the thankful yachtsman then swam back to shore with the explanation as to what had happened.

On the yacht’s arrival at the mouth of the Leven he had noticed his tender was missing. He then backtracked down the South shore of the river until he was about to turn back, accepting the loss of his tender, when he noticed it on our beach. His next problem was how to retreive it. Then he saw three guys walk down to the hard and stand chatting. That is how the story started

A crew of 5 took Zebra up to up the Leven accompanied by kindred Kayakers, a fantastic day had by all, special mention goes to Tom Kater who arrived in the morning to have a paddle however the rowing crew was short of a crew member and Tom stepped into the boat, this was the first time Tom had rowed Zebra in 38years.. after a 22 mile row over 7 hours certainly blew out the cobwebs..

Against tough opposition and in very challenging conditions a squad from the Club retained the trophy for the Exciseman’s Chase at Maidens.

The event, organised by Carrick Coastal Rowing Club, involves racing from a tent on the shore at Maidens Harbour, North up the coast to Gashouse Bay under Culzean Castle, about 4kms away. At this beach you exchange a token for Whisky, and can also change crews, before racing back to the tent in Maidens where the clock is stopped.

Start of first leg (Bob Dawson Troon CRC)

Royal West were drawn to leave last of the 7 clubs, approx 12 mins behind the first crew from Girvan. The crew for the first leg consisted of Jim Ford (coxing on both legs), Adam Graham, Mat Henderson, Ian Clark & Robert Dowell. They started strong catching Firth of Clyde within 15 mins and then Troon soon after. The conditions as they headed North was challenging, rowing into 4ft swells, breaking at times. This slightly older crew have had experience of such conditions and this showed as they arrived at Gashouse Bay in approx. 42mins. Only a few minutes behind Girvan and 7 mins behind the North Berwick crew, who had started 10 mins ahead of Royal West.

The performance of the first crew in getting to Gashouse Bay was not matched however by the second crew, who had run up from Maidens. The President at Carrick, a former geography teacher, has offered some map reading lessons to the second crew of Alex Paterson, Colin Campbell, George McCallum and Calum Ford. Thier choise of route differed from the organisers suggested route, handed to them as a map, and took them along the A719 towards Maybole, instead of through the Culzean Estate. They also arrived at the wrong beach initially and were curious why no-one was there. In total thier run took them 61mins, luckily they had left earlier than the boat so arrived at the correct beach with 4 mins to spare.

After a very slick crew change they made up for thier ealier mistakes by taking advantage of the waves on the way back. Passing three more boats, including the local club Carrick inside the harbour, they arrived back with an elapse time of 69 mins. The only boat we did not pass on the water was from North Berwick, however their elapse time was 73 mins, meaning Royal West won the Exciseman’s Chase for the second year in a row. The trophy is on display in the clubhouse bar.

Final times
1st Royal West (1hr 9mins)
2nd N.Berwick (1hr 13mins)
3rd Carrick (1hr 16mins)
4th Cumbrae (1hr 18mins)
5th Firth of Clyde (1hr 19mins)
6th Troon (1hr 29mins)
7th Girvan (1hr 34mins).

Returning into the harbour, passing Carrick CRC (Courtesy of Troon CRC)

After a well deserved rest two shorter races were organised just outside the harbour mouth. One was for junior crews and involved crews from Troon, Carrick, North Berwick and Girvan, plus two composite crews racing in Cumbrae and Chippy McNish. The starts was a little haphazard due to the conditions but did result in a very good race, challenging both crews and coxes. About half way through it was clear the winner would be either Chippy McNish or North Bewrick. Chippy was coxed by Adam Graham with Calum Ford as Stroke, there were also two juniors from N. Berwick and one from Troon. As we neared the finish line the consistancy and timing in Chippy McNish prevailed and a slight lead was apparent. As the horn sounded Chippy had racked up his second win of the day. Again the trophy is on display in the clubhouse bar.

Winning Junior squad in Chippy (Bob Dawson Troon CRC)

Start line of the Junior race (Bob Dawson Troon CRC)

Chippy with Troon in the background (Bob Dawson Troon CRC)

The final race of the day was an adult race made up of randomly selected crews from all of the attending clubs. In Chippy McNish Adam Graham once again coxed, Issy Anderson (N. Berwick) stroked, Mat Henderson (RW) was at three and the Bow pair was made up of two powerful guys fron Cumbrae. Clear guidelines were issued to the crew as Chippy left the harbour for the final time, that no quarter was to be given and that Chippy was to return triumphant again.

Once again the start line resembled more of a starting box. Crews were turned and pointing in the right direction but not all aware that the start was about to happen. The crew in Chippy became aware when other boats started to row. Acting quickly to recover the situation we heading straight for the back of Girvan’s boat. As we took evasive action to go round Girvan, once again it became clear that Chippy and the North Berwick boat were evenly matched. Trying to get clear of Girvan Chippy caught a particularly good wave and surfed into a small lead that the crew then took advantage of to power away to a convicing victory.

There was a brilliant atmosphere back at the slipway as everyone mucked in to get all the boats out and onto trailers. The close proximity of the cars, trailers, catering facilities and admin at Maidens is a good environment for clubs to socialise.

Beach, Boats and a Barbecue (Bob Dawson Troon CRC)

At the prize giving Alex Paterson spoke on behalf of the visiting clubs to thank Carrick CRC for organising another great event.

Today there was a trip up to the River Leven, hopefully we will have a report to post about this in the next few days. Next weekend the Club is competing in the Nith Navigation from Glencaple up the River Nith to Whitesands in Dumfries. It is the intention to take Chippy to this but also the Jollyboat Sprite.

Please be aware that as of Monday 6th October the bar hours will be as follows:

Winter Bar Opening Times

Tuesday 20:00 – 23:00
Wednesday 20:00 – 22:30
Thursday 20:00 – 23.30
Friday 17.00 – 23.30
Saturday 14.30 – 23.30
Sunday 15.00 – 19.30

Adam Graham
Hon. Sec.

The Club looked fantastic over the weekend with the freshly painted exterior, new stairs, boat sheds open and visitors wandering around. Everyone who called in was surprised by our facilities and history. Some were so impressed they took away Membership Application Forms.

Thanks to all the members who provided tours over the two days.

A few hardy souls made the trip this morning to Port Glasgow for some lunch

Members attended two events in Queensferry over last weekend. On Saturday we competed in the Queensferry CRC Regatta under the Forth Road Bridge, on Sunday we joined the Flotilla on the Forth to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Bridge itself.

11 members made the trip over the weekend. Amongst that number six roughing it in tents at Port Edgar Marina and one enjoying the comforts of the Albert Hotel in North Queensferry. The rest came through for the day on Saturday. Although the Club did not make it into the top three in any of the seven races Chippy McNish, coxed by Adam Graham, did get third place with a mixed crew from Portobello, North Berwick and Queensferry.

Sunday was a relatively lazy start after another night sleeping under the very busy existing bridge and listening to the works progress, not far away, on the new bridge. The Flotilla included all kinds of craft from a jet ski up to an oil support vessel complete with helicoptor. There were even two steam powered launches normally operated on Loch Katrine.

The Flotilla made its way up river from Port Edgar to a point just West of Rosyth Naval Dockyard, against the wind and tide. Conditions were at the limit of the boat and crew’s capabilities in amongst the confused water caused by not only the tidal and weather conditions, but also the motor boats and yacht wakes. In the spirit of the Royal West all aboard got on with the job and at the turn were well placed amongst the lead group of seven skiffs, immediately behind HMS Archer, at the head of the procession.

The tide and wind now with us meant we could enjoy the trip back with relative ease. There was friendly banter with the other rowing crews and some of the yacht crews we know from the East Coast. The sight of all the boats following us and the rapidly approaching bridges was spectacular. Never to be forgotten.

Returning to the slipway at Port Edgar Marina all the rowing clubs mucked in to get boats off the water and ready for the journey home for most. Queensferry CRC put the kettle on and we all had time together off the water to review the weekend’s high points.

Our thanks go to both North Queensferry CRC and Queensferry CRC for thier organisation of the weekend and great hospitality.

An extensive set of photos of the weekend can be found on the photo tab or by clicking on the link below.

The winners for August are as follows:

1st – Sandy Disseldorf, £40.00

2nd – Norman Grant, £26.50

3rd – Eric Park, £13.50

The draw was made by Alex Paterson as he loaded Chippy McNish for a trip to Queensferry this weekend.

Application Forms available at the bar or can be downloaded here
200 Club Application Form

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