“Once more round the Black Rock”

A squad from the Club headed over to Glenarm on the Antrim Coast last Friday to participate in the Dalriada Festival Regatta again this year. They were joined by crews and skiffs from North Berwick, Anstruther, Portobello and Port Seton this year.

There was a very warm welcome awaiting them on Friday afternoon from the Events Team at Glenarm. Old aquaintences were renewed with Elaine Nelson and her husband of Glenarm RC and Fiona Hamilton & Barry Kirkpatrick of Cairndhu RC. Stevie’s friendly approach to bar management in the Bridge End Tavern was also greatly appreciated.

All the crews met at the coxes briefing on Saturday morning. As well as the Scottish clubs listed above there were the local clubs of Cairndhu, Glenarm, Carnlough and Foyle RC. The Dalriada Challenge race was to be over 6km. Straight away from the harbour mouth then turning South along the coast for approx 1.5km. The course then turned North across Glenarm bay for 3km towards the Black Rock. At the Black Rock the course turned South again before sweeping West back into Glenarm bay to finish at the mouth of the river.

Excitement was rising as the crews got organised and launched. Some of the skiffs are in the photo below milling about the start.

Royal West, in Birdie Bowers, started at the back of the group of 5 skiffs, starting 1 minute behind Port Seton.

Rounding the Southern marker bouys, at the end of the first leg, Royal West had reduced Port Seton’s 1 minute head start by approx 20 seconds. As the race headed North towards the Black Rock this lead was further reduced with every stroke. As the two crews approached the Black Rock Port Seton seemed to over shoot and Marie Paterson, coxing Birdie Bowers took the inside line. Seeing his mistake the Port Seton cox turned sharply, it was only through Marie’s mastery of the boat and her crew that a collision was avoided.

With spirits running high now the Royal West crew made a decisive move as the skiffs left the Black Rock. They pushed past Port Seton as the skiffs swept West into Glenarm Bay.

Royal West comfortably beat Port Seton. The final results amongst the skiffs were as follows:

1st Portobello (Mens crew)
2nd North Berwick (Mixed Crew)
3rd Royal West (Mixed Crew)
4th Port Seton (Mixed Crew)
5th Anstruther (Ladies 50+ Crew)

Royal West got a Silver Medal in the Mixed Crew category of the Dalriada Challenge race

The afternoon saw a series of sprint races in Glenarm Bay. Portobello had brought along a Junior 18 squad you competed against the Irish Universal Boats, see below:

The light weight and speed of these boats mean that our skiffs cannot compete on a level basis. However the Junior squad took part against them to get an experience of the tension and rigors of racing. They were awarded medals for thier participation.

Adam Graham and Alex Paterson of Royal West made up a composite crew with Anstruther & Glenarm to race in the Mens Sprint. Unfortunately they finished just outside the medals. In the Ladies Sprint Adam Graham coxed the Anstruther crew to a Silver medal. They were only just beaten by a much younger crew from Portobello, who had not taken part in the earlier 6km race. In the Mixed Sprint the Royal West crew again finished just outside the medals.

On behalf of the visiting Scottish clubs young Andrew Graham of Royal West presented Elaine Nelson of the ACRA with a painted oar.

Activity was not all focussed on the water. There was time for fun with a trip to the play park. Karen Graham, Heather Scott, Marie Paterson & Adam Graham on the swings.

Sarah Graham making a new friend.

And participation in the fancy dress parade through the village. Sarah Graham is proudly waving the Club flag.

The weekend was rounded off with a free barbecue, music and a firework display.

All of those who travelled from the various Scottish Clubs have expressed thier thanks to the Antrim Coast Rowing Association for a wonderfully well organised event. Not just on the day but in the run up to it also. We expect to be back next year and there is also talk of the event making it across the Irish Sea in the coming years, to the other side of the ancient realm of Dalriada.

All photos by The Patersons or from the Dalriada Festival Facebook page.