Loch Tummel no picnic this year………

…however Royal West return with Picnic Trophy.

Last Saturday was the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association’s annual Freshwater Sprints Championship and AGM at Loch Tummel Sailing Club. Regional crews raced over an 800m course, with buoy turn, in various categories during the day.

This is the second year the event has been held at Loch Tummel Sailing Club. It is relatively central for the coastal rowing clubs, the conditions afloat will never be too rough to race and the sailing club are very hospitable. Royal West has historical links with LTSC, as our members used to travel to sailing events there, as well as them visiting Royal West.

Royal West provided the largest contingent of the team representing the SW Region. Of the eight attending from Royal West six were women, including the Club’s Bar and Rowing Convenors. Those representing the Club and Regions were Alex Paterson (VP), Marie Paterson (Bar), Karen Graham (Rowing), Adam Graham (Hon Sec), Karyn Donnachie, Karen Radford, Liz McMahon & Elaine Hunter.

Most of the team and their supporters travelled up on Friday night, staying at the nearby Tummel Valley Holiday Park. One member of the team, who could not stay over, travelled on the Saturday morning. As she had never been to this area of Scotland she took a “conscious” decision to do some sightseeing, visiting a number of local villages and hamlets before arriving (finding) LTSC, moments before she was due afloat.

The prediction had been for high winds, the prediction was not wrong. The first leg of each race was into a headwind. This built through the day from about 17-40 miles an hour. It was like rowing through treacle. Once you turned the buoy however it was an easy run back to the finish line.

SW region finished 4th of the 6 regions represented.

For the second year the Association ran the Picnic Class, for single sculled boats. The racing was over a 500mm straight course. This year, on points, Royal West shared the overall trophy with Row Porty. There were five entries in the male & female races and Royal West’s No 16 sixteen was 2nd in both races. Old hand Adam Graham managed to hold off last year’s winner Topher Dawson, but could not better Andres Lesley of Row Porty.

The outstanding performance however was from Karyn Donnachie of Royal West, who only took up sculling the sixteens very recently. The wind conditions were already giving concern to the event organisers when the men’s race took place. By the time Karyn took to the water they had worsened. To add to the difficulty Karyn was allocated the Northern most lane on the course, with the least amount of shelter from the wind, furthest from the shore and closest to the waves, that were growing in height.

Off the start and into the headwind all five boats struggled to gain any advantage, this was going to be a race for those with determination. Within 100m of the start the boat from Ullapool had to call for assistance from the safety boat and GalGael’s entry was rowing but not moving. The North Berwick, Row Porty and Royal West boats were all still in contention at the half way mark when the North Berwick lady started to pull away from the other two. Karyn kept the pressure on and started to generate a lead on the Row Porty entry.

With the team from Royal West and the other SW clubs cheering her on Karyn maintained her lead to cross the line just ahead of the Row Porty boat. Returning to the shore Karyn was visibly elated to not only have survived her first sculling race dry and in the boat, but having come in 2nd.

It was not until later in the day, at the prize giving, that Karyn learned that her determination would bring a new trophy to the clubhouse. Royal West’s two 2nd places won the same points as the Row Porty 1st & 3rd places. Have promised Andres that he can have the Trophy in late April. Think it is only fitting that Karyn enjoys the honour of showing off her trophy in the bar for the next 6 months.

The event was very well attended, over 300 competitors racing and 60 clubs represented.

We are looking forward to a winter of boat repairs ahead of race training starting in the new year ready for next season.