Joe Heffernan

From 6 July the Scottish Government is allowing Outdoor Hospitality venues to open.  The Royal West is planning to have a Beer Garden on the Back Green on Friday, 10 July (5-8pm) and Saturday / Sunday 11 & 12 July (2-8pm).

We have high confidence that this will go ahead but check the Royal West Website from Friday to confirm the Beer Garden will be open.

There are special measures being implemented to allow this to take place in a safe way that minimises the risk of COVID transmission.

Important points from the procedures:

  • Social distancing of 2m between different households to be maintained at all times
  • Only RWSABC Members and their household may use the Beer Garden
  • Maximum group size is 4 with a maximum of 3 households in the group
  • Enter and exit the Royal West site using the stairs to the left of the main doors
  • Send one person to the bar to get all drinks (we’ll provide trays) and go in via the West door of the balcony
  • Bring you own pen for writing
  • The person getting drinks is to sign all people in and out (Part of Scotland’s Test & Protect procedures)
  • Pay by card, have exact change or expect to make a donation of the change due to RWSABC
  • Once you have your drinks carry them down to the Beer Garden using the rear stairs
  • Use the hand sanitiser frequently
  • Spray down you table and chairs with the provided spray when you arrive and when you leave
  • Dispose of the plastic cups used in the bins provided

Further details are provided in the document you can read by following the link below.  Please review and understand this document before coming down to the Beer Garden.

RWSABC COVID Beer Garden Opening Procedures V2 <– This is a Link to the Procedures you are to follow to enjoy the Beer Garden.

Remember R.W.S.A.B.C

Read the guidance before you come down
Wash or sanitize your hands, table & chairs when you arrive
Survive your visit to the Club without catching anything
Again, wash or sanitize your hands, table & chairs before leaving
Beat it promptly when you are finished, someone else may want your table
Covid-19 has no cure, so stick to the procedures

Given that people can now travel more than 5 miles for outdoor activities there is a minor update to the Phase 2 procedures for Water Sports at RWSABC.

The most significant change has been the removal of the restriction of people taking their boats away from the Club and returning them.  This is now allowed so long as you wash your craft down well upon returning it to the Royal West.

One other notable change is that while taking your boat out after dark is not allowed multi-day journey from the Royal West are allowed as long as other Scottish Government restrictions are observed.  Note that at present ‘wild camping’ is not allowed.

RWSABC COVID Phase 2 Procedures V4 updated 5 July  <- Click here to download the revised procedure

The updated procedure can be accessed from the Link above.

One other change included in the document is information on space in front of the Repair Shed for Kayak repairs.

The Committee has considered the Scottish Government announcement concerning Phase 2 restrictions related to the COVID Pandemic.

In light of this announcement there have been minor changes to the RWSABC Procedures that were in place for Phase 1.

The only significant change moving from Phase 1 to Phase 2 procedures at the Royal West is that 3 households may now meet compared to 2 households in Phase 1.

If you wish to review the current procedures follow the link below:

 RWSABC COVID Phase 2 Procedures V2      <—- Link to PDF file of the Procedures

The re-opening will be monitored and may be curtailed if circumstances dictate.

This re-opening is for MEMBERS ONLY.


Please read the guidance we have published on the attached. There is a simple message within it

R. - Read the guidance about how many folk and which boats

W. - Wash your hands and the boat

S. - Survive your outing without incident

A. - Again, wash your hands and the boat before you put it away

B. - Beat it promptly when you are finished

C. - Covid-19 has no cure, so stick to the rules

The Royal West Club House is currently closed due to lock down associated with COVID-19. Therefore, the tradition of paper forms to collect information about Members is nearly impossible to implement. Therefore, the Committee has set up an on-line form to collect information from you. If you are currently a Member of RWSABC, you should have received an email on the morning of Tuesday 31 March. This email contains a link to the on-line form.

We know that everyone is under pressure in these exceptional times. Some of us will be experiencing financial problems. The Royal West understands, and we will be sympathetic and supportive. We also know that the Royal West is resilient, and we are going to be around, stronger and better, when this trial has passed. Life will go on.

As life will go on, we hope you will remain part of the Royal West family. Unlike most families we need to ask you to reapply each year.

If you can’t find or accidentally deleted or have changed email address or just want to get the email again, please send an email to our Subscriptions Convener and she will forward you the email with the link to the on-line form.

The email address of the Subscriptions Convener is

The Committee requests that you pay your fees this year. If enough people were to decide that they will not pay fees until things are back to normal, then much of the success we have recently experienced will be undone.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to complete your 2020/2021 Subscription Form. Once the current situation has passed we are going to celebrate so loud they’ll hear us in Helensburgh.

We hope you and yours are keeping well.


RWSABC Committee

This year is the 7th year that Open Water Swimming has been an organised activity at RWSABC in the modern era.  When I first joined the Club and became the Convener, I was confident that there would be at least 10 new or existing members who would take up Open Water Swimming on a regular basis in that first year.  This year we have reached that milestone. My apologies for taking so long to reach this milestone.

Organised Open Water Swimming activities takes place on Thursday and Friday evenings during the season.  Like other activities in the Club there are also many ad hoc outings throughout the year.  The first organised session in 2019 was on 18 April and the last one was on 13 September. On most evenings there were 4 to 6 swimmers.  I have reviewed the book where club member’s “book out” and I have counted 142 “excursions” between 1 January 2018 and 31 December 2018 with 531 swims by individuals. Compared to 2018 the number of excursions has decreased by 3% and the number of participants decreased by 5%.  Discussing this with other swimmers I attribute this to extended holidays of some stalwarts and other swimmers not aiming for specific goals during the year.

To encourage members and the public to try open water swimming there were ‘Social Swims’ in June, July and August.  These events had between 16 and 25 swimmers in attendance.  At some there were children accompanied by their parents swimming.

The 2019 RWSABC Clyde Swim from Kilcreggan took place on 3 August.  There were 31 participants.  Conditions at the time of the swim were excellent with a light easterly wind. The water temperature in the Clyde at the time of the swim was 15°C.   Swimmers left Kilcreggan around 1 hour before high tide at 2:15pm and the last swimmer arrived at the RWSABC Beach at 4:20pm. Twenty six of the swimmers were swimming in wetsuits and the rest were swimming in just their swimming costumes.  The 2020 RWSABC Clyde Swim has been scheduled for 8 August but this is under review in light of Coronavirus.  If the swim goes ahead in 2020, we are going to make a concerted push for more junior swimmers between the ages of 12 and 16 to participate.  The last Clyde Swim where a ‘Junior’ swimmer participated was in 2015. With regards to the 2019 Clyde Swim I extend my gratitude to all who helped on the day, especially the kayakers who provided safety cover.

On New Year’s Day 2020 there was a swim at the Boat Club where the public were invited to participate.  It was attended by around 50 swimmers, some went in for just a dip but others did “proper” swims. It was a reasonable day and it is estimated that there were over 100 spectators watching the event from the Club House or The Esplanade.  The Club House was open and RWSABC provided hot drinks and biscuits to participants and spectators.  My thanks to Adam Graham who arranged for the Club House to be open and the kayakers who were down to provide safety cover.

I consider that this season has been successful.  The highlights in my opinion is that Open Water Swimming is becoming more popular among members.  In addition, it is beginning to attract new members specifically for Open Water Swimming.

I thank all the other committee members for their assistance and support throughout the year.

Joe Heffernan – Open Water Swimming Convenor

Erskine to Paisley

(Words provided by William Bell)

I am having difficulty in getting my neighbours in Erskine and work colleagues at Renfrew to believe that 16 paddlers from the Royal West paddled from Boden Boo at the Erskine Bridge to under the Piazza in Paisley on Sunday 15th March 2020. Well here is the proof!

The 16 paddlers at the start of the trip 

The paddle on the River Clyde between Erskine and Paisley was most interesting passing many historical landmarks. The paddler on the right hand side, Ewen Chisholm, is responsible for all aspects of this trip, including excluding the weather.

The Scherzer rolling lift bascule bridge over the White Cart Water at Renfrew. This is the only remaining lift bridge in the country – and we paddled under it.

An interesting spot for a picnic on the banks of the Black Cart just down from the piazza.

The 150-foot-high Titan cantilever crane at Clydebank with a capacity of 160 tonnes. If we had rafted together it could still have lifted all of us at once, even after our picnic.

In all honesty, this was a very enjoyable and interesting trip, and one which should be added to the Royal West Touring Calendar.

Many thanks to Hugh Kerr, Paul Edgar and Stacey Hearl for the photographs and a special thanks to Ewen Chisholm.

There has been a change to the speaker for the final Winter Talk on Wednesday 11 March. Our own Colin Campbell will now give a talk titled ‘Introduction to Tides’. This talk will be the last in this year’s series of talks so be sure to come along.

The annual Inspection of Boats which took place on 16th February, provides the RWSABC Committee an opportunity to review and celebrate the year with past Vice Presidents of the Club, the wider community and invited members of the Club.

The wider community this year was represented by Peter McCarthy – Lord Lieutenant of Renfrewshire and his wife Jean, Inverclyde Councillors Graeme Brooks, Liz Robertson and David Wilson. Bill Tomlinson, had been the Club’s lawyer for many years also attended. Bill has been a great friend of the Club has offered much practical and useful advice over the years.
When space permits we like to invite members along who contribute to the Club’s success. The Club is fortunate to have three of its very own ‘Royal Photographers’ who take photos at the Club’s various sporting events. Alex Workman (who unfortunately couldn’t attend on the day) Karen Radford and Derek Charles Keatley.

An invitation was also extended to Ewen Chisholm who has been providing Rescue Boat cover at the Club for over thirty years and has also assisted with provision of safety cover at the past three ‘Castle to Crane’ races.

The event started around 10.00hrs and was presided over by the Club’s Vice President Heather Scott. Heather provided an overview of the past year highlighting some of the important events and accomplishments of the Club such as the continued increase of participation in the various water sports on offer at the Club and the growing and diverse uses of the Club’s facilities.

The Sporting Conveners then gave their own individuals reviews of the year and 2019 was a year that warranted special praise. The kayakers could celebrate the training of new coaches and improvement of skills and competence amongst the novices. The rowers highlighted the World Skiffies results and their successes at the Castle to Crane race. Open Water Swimming looked back at a successful Clyde Swim and growing participation and community engagement with the New Year’s Day Swim and Dip. Sailing highlighted how they are attracting new participants with their popular Come and Try Sessions.
There was then a speech from the Lord Lieutenant Peter McCarthy and Councillor Liz Robertson said a few words and promised to ‘Come & Try’ rowing this year.

The Guests were then given a tour of the facilities which provided an opportunity for the Committee to better explain and illustrate all the good things that take place at the Boat Club. This year Councillor Liz Robertson brought her diary with her to discuss and arrange to go out for a practice session with the rowers.

The Inspection of Boats then ended with a lunch for everyone at the Tontine Hotel.

Clockwise from the top Left – Photo 1: Peter McCarthy (Lord Lieutenant of Renfrewshire) and Heather Scott (Vice President RWSABC), Photo 2: Marie Paterson (Treasurer RWSABC) tries a new RWSABC paddle board on dry land, Photo 3: Karen Radford and Karyn Donnachie – (RWSABC members), Photo 4: Liz Robertson (Inverclyde Councillor) and Heather Scott, Photo 5: A Group photo of the meal at the Tontine

Clockwise from the top Left – Photo 1: Liz Robertson, Ewan Chisholm (RWSABC member), Karyn Donnachie, Photo 2: Marie Paterson and George Carson (RWSABC Social Convener), Photo 3: At the meal at the Tontine, Photo 4: Gordon McKenzie and Norman Campbell (RWSABC Past Vice Presidents), Photo 5: Liz Robertson and Heather Scott, Photo 6: Karen Graham and Karyn Donnachie, Photo 7: Al Black (RWSABC Past Vice President) and Bill Tomlinson (Former lawyer for RWSABC), Photo 8: Graeme Brooks (Inverclyde Councillor) Karen Graham (RWSABC Rowing Convener), Al Black and Bill Tomlinson

As in 2017 and 2018 a review of Sporting Participation at RWSABC has been completed for 2019. These results can now be shared via a report and spreadsheet. The first pictures below summarises the main findings of the sporting participation review for 2019. In addition to sporting participation a study of the usage of the RWSABC Building was also undertaken. The second picture shows the main results found for Building Usage. If you wish to download a copy of the report it is available at

A Review of Building Use and Sporting Participation 2017 to 2019

Sporting Participation 2019

Building Usage in 2019

Ewen Chisholm is planning to offer a ‘Mystery Paddle’ on Sunday 15 March. See the poster below for more information.