Category Archives: Club News

Club News and Announcements

River and path reopen

Contractors appointed by the Environment Agency were on site last weekend to effect a semi-permanent repair to the sluice gate at the Corn Mill which it is hoped means the weir will do its job as well as if not better than before. The river is therefore open for use again.

More good news is that the Council has completed the repairs to the riverbank following the landslip at Pelaw Wood in 2013 that led to the closure of the riverside footpath. The path is now open again with a new tarmac surface meaning that coaches will be able to go right up to the club on the far side of the river.

Two riverside paths form part of the National Cycle Network and the Weardale Way, linking the city centre and Old Durham. The reopening is in part thanks to the lobbying and peripheral work of volunteers from the Friends of Pelaw Wood.

The history of the restoration project is charted on the Durham County Council website.

River Closed – Weir/Sluice gate has failed

Overnight on 27th/28th June the sluice gate at the old mill adjacent to Durham School Boat House appears to have failed. The river level has dropped around 20cm overnight.

As such no Durham ARC crews are allowed to go afloat until further notice. Once the river levels have stabilised we will be able to assess the river and determine which parts are still deep enough for use. More importantly we need to identify any submerged objects that are now likely to cause damage.

Continue reading

Intermediate Sculling Programme (Women’s and Men’s Masters)


To develop skills in fine single sculls aimed at:-

  • crew scullers who want to develop single sculling skills/enhance their ‘boat-moving’ ability
  • those who aspire to race in a single scull in the future

Minimum requirements:

  • to have sat in a fine single scull
  • you will need access to a single scull (some of the club’s fine sculls will be available)


10 x 3 hour sessions in 2 blocks with practice time in between

Dates: Block 1: 3 introductory sessions 27th June, 30th June and 4th July – PRACTICE BREAK –  Block 2: 7 sessions August  1st 4th 8th 11th 15th 18th 22nd including at least 1 full day session

6 to maximum of 8 places available; Priority for those who can commit to all or most sessions. There will be a small per session charge which will be used for future single sculling resources.

The programme will be run by Andy Jaggard, together with one or two other experienced single scullers.

To express your interest, and for more detailed information on the content of the programme and the approach please talk to me, or email:

Honour for Club stalwart

Durham Amateur Rowing Club Chairman Barry Hudson has been awarded the MBE for Services to the Community and Rowing in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Barry is a long-standing member of the Club which he has served in many capacities for over 50 years.

Born in Sidegate in Durham City in 1945 Barry was educated at St Margaret’s C of E Infants and Juniors and Durham Johnston Boys Grammar School before training as a Chartered Surveyor as articled clerk to Geoffrey Wood at J.W.Wood and Son, Durham and was then employed in the Civil Service as a District Valuer for 40 years.

As a boy the banks of the River Wear were a “playground” and he soon found his way to the Durham Amateur Rowing Club where Rowing became a lifelong interest. On becoming a Member in 1959 he first tasted victory coxing a four stroked by future DARC President Bill Parker.

In 1967 he took on his first Committee role as Club Treasurer and soon afterwards became club representative on the Durham Regatta Committee, later becoming a Town Representative, a position he still holds.

As Treasurer he organised the first Wear Regatta, later renamed Durham City Regatta, and became the first Regatta Secretary. A major project at the time was the building of a new Boathouse on the Club’s move to its present site.

In 1971 he became Vice Captain and soon afterwards Club Captain.

After being elected a Life Member in 1974 he moved away to pursue a Civil Service career, joining Newark Rowing Club where he served as Regatta Secretary until 1976. He then moved to West Yorkshire and joined Bradford Amateur Rowing Club.

He qualified as an Amateur Rowing Association Bronze Level coach in 1978 and in 1983 became an ARA Umpire (a role he continues to carry out), moving back to Durham in 1984 and continuing his membership of Durham ARC and the Durham Regatta Committee. His next roles were as Press Officer from 1987 to 1989, and in 1990 Assistant Secretary. In 1991 he became Club Secretary, a position he was to hold for 25 years until 2016.

During his term as Secretary he acted as Project Manager of Durham ARC Building Project (1997-2007), culminating in the opening of the new £1 million Boathouse in September 2007. Responsible for overseeing the funding and development of the new premises he established partnerships with local schools and encouraged the expansion of the Club to all ages and abilities, and the use of the premises by other community organisations.

In 2010 he produced a History Timeline for Durham ARC to mark its 150th year. In 2011 he was appointed a Director of Durham Regatta when it registered as a limited company.

Also in 2011 he received the Durham City and Chester-le-Street Award for Contribution to Sport, the Durham  County Award for Contribution to Sport and the BBC North East and Cumbria Award for “Sporting Inspiration”.

In 2012 he was appointed Trustee of a new charity the “Wear Education and Water Sports Centre” based at Durham ARC, as well as being awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal by British Rowing (one of 60).

Barry took on his current role as Chairman of Durham ARC in 2016, remaining actively involved as administrator, rower, umpire, and coach.

He is married and has two sons and two granddaughters.

All well on the northern regatta front

As we reach the midway point of the northern regatta season with Wansbeck Regatta this weekend it’s worth reflecting on the state of play of British Rowing’s revised Competition Framework.

There has been a 50/50 split between those regattas adopting the old system and new system, including some in the fortunate position to be able to host a day of each. Chester-le-Street and Durham City (Sunday) were bold and embraced the new ranking index system, Wansbeck and Talkin Tarn have declared their hand and will follow suit. Tees and Durham City (Saturday) chose the cautious approach, adopting the old points system. Hexham will do likewise on June 3rd.

Tyne Regatta also decided to play safe by sticking with the old BROE system, only to find entries in short supply and cancellation unavoidable. The reasons are unclear – many events with few entries in each was a determining factor.

Durham Regatta is also hedging its bets by adopting the old system on June 10th and the new one on June 11th.

Feedback suggests that in the regattas so far staged there has been a full entry and a successful outcome. Indeed Chester-le-Street enjoyed one of its best turnouts ever. One of the aims of the Ranking Index approach is to ensure closer racing for all competitors. Scrutiny of winning margins from published results may offer some insight. As an example, 102 out of 262 i.e. 39% of races on the Saturday of Durham City Regatta (old system) returned a winning margin of ‘easily’ whereas on the Sunday (new system) there were 18 ‘easily’ verdicts from 84 races (21%). Closer inspection of a larger sample of data may be necessary to ascertain the extent to which the objective has been achieved.

Come April 2018 every event will run under the new competition framework. We await developments with interest.

One section of DARC enjoying a revival of fortunes is the Senior squad, with the men’s and women’s squads recently combining under the guidance of Phill Tully, the women’s elite coxless quad (Liz Law, Taya Parker, Alison Danforth and Beth Holmes) gaining two victories at Durham City and notably the women’s IM3 coxed quad (Emma Lyons, Ruth Hodges, Emily Hanscam/Taya Parker, Michelle Joubert and cox Christie Lau) winning at both Durham City and Tees Regattas, the same crew devastated after the incident on March 14th when a block of concrete was dropped on their boat, Peter Burdess, as it passed under Baths Bridge, attracting considerable media interest, and causing what was thought at the time to be irreparable damage. Thankfully this was not the case, the crew remained unscathed, and crew and boat were reunited with more positive impact at the two events.

The men’s IM3 coxed quad (Tom Maddick, Joe Owen, Nick Baird, Reece Stockport and cox Becky Jackson) also tasted victory at Durham City Regatta  and there was a further win for Ruth Hodges and Emily Hanscam in a double scull at Chester-le-Street.

European Junior Championships

After 2 years of intensive training with the Great Britain Junior Squad Hope Cessford is making excellent progress, taking part recently in the European Junior Championships in Germany. This follows a successful 2016 during which Hope represented Durham ARC in the Women’s Eights Head of the River Race and at Henley Women’s Regatta, before Hope and Lauren Irwin (Chester-le-Street ARC) won at the Metropolitan Regatta at Eton Dorney and in the Elite Women’s Pair at Durham Regatta (above). The pair then went on to represent Great Britain for the first time at the World Junior Championships in Rotterdam last August.

Hope is the Northern Region’s only representative in a 32-strong GB Juniors squad announced recently. When not with the GB squad she is coached in Durham by Gordon Beattie.

On Saturday May 6th the GB Women’s coxless 4 of Ella Morgan (Henley RC), Mary Wright (Henley RC), Hope Cessford (Durham ARC) and Flo Donald (Lea RC) finished 2nd in heat 2 at the Munich DRV Junior International Regatta, 2 seconds behind winners Germany in 7.30.64, qualifying for the A final on Sunday May 7th where they finished 5th in 7.30.52 behind four German crews. Also on Sunday Hope and Flo were 2nd in 7.48.18 in the heat of the Women’s Pair, two seconds behind the other GB pair of Ella Morgan and Mary Wright from Henley before conditions led to curtailment of racing.

Great Britain then sent a small squad to the European Rowing Junior Championships in Krefeld, Germany on May 20th and 21st, including Hope and Flo Donald of Lea RC, who qualified in 2nd place in heat 2 of the Women’s Pair behind eventual champions Romania in a time of 8.00.25. In the second semi-final the GB pair finished 2nd to Germany in 7.47.57, a result that put them into the A final on Sunday where they finished 5th in 7.56.32. Full results can be found here.

Krefeld is a new venue for international regattas and the European Junior Championships is a relatively new event introduced in 2011 but entries continue to grow, with this year’s regatta attracting 532 athletes from 33 nations. 

The World Rowing Junior Championships take place this year at Trakai, Lithuania on August 2nd to 6th.

Lunchtime pilates sessions

Pilates teacher Jane Rae is offering twice weekly lunchtime pilates sessions to members on Mondays and Thursdays between 12 noon and 1pm at a cost of £3 per session.

Brilliant for improving core strength, posture and the all important ‘reach’ required for rowing. Any member is welcome to join in. When the weather is fine classes are held outside but they are normally held in the Club hall next to the bar.

Enquiries to Paddy Deans at

Hope in GB team for Munich

British Rowing today announced the team to represent Great Britain at the International Deutschen Ruderverbandes (DRV) – German Rowing Association – Junior Regatta in Munich over the weekend of May 6th and 7th. The 32-strong team includes Hope Cessford of Durham ARC.

Around 900 athletes from 16 nations, aged between 15 and 18 will take part in the regatta, organised by World Rowing, with strong contingents from Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic as well as Great Britain.

Hope who is coached at Durham by Gordon Beattie first represented GB at the World Junior Championships in Rotterdam last August in the women’s pair along with Lauren Irwin, then of Chester-le-Street ARC. Hope is the northern region’s only representative in the squad for Munich. Lauren, who now represents Durham University Boat Club, won a silver medal in the women’s four last weekend at the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Regatta in Nottingham.

The Munich regatta takes place on the course used for the 1972 Olympics and comes two weeks before the Junior European Championships in Krefeld, Germany.

Restored scull unveiled at River & Rowing Museum

The final chapter was written in the restoration of ‘J Hopper’ with the unveiling of the finished article on March 27th 2017 at the River and Rowing Museum in Henley.

J Hopper (formerly named Maxwell) is a single clinker scull named after an eminent Hexham-based professional sculler of the 1920s and 1930s called Jack Hopper. It was rescued from the scrapheap and purchased for £50 in 2012 by former Durham ARC off-peak member, and still regular visitor, Roger Bean, who then set about restoring it to its former glory. Much of the ground work took place in the loft of Clive Hole’s boathouse, with Clive’s assistance, recompense for storage coming in the form of whisky.

Roger sought the assistance of former boatbuilder and historian Clive Radley who helped to trace the boat’s fascinating history. Moving away from Durham the project continued, Clive Radley acting as benefactor and putting Roger in touch with Bill Colley who set about completing the restoration to a standard suitable for the River & Rowing Museum.

A re-christening ceremony took place at Richmond on October 21st 2016.

The story is covered in detail in the following 2 blog entries posted to ‘Hear the Boat Sing’ in September 2015 and October 2016.

Richmond-upon-Thames, Part I: A Reminder of the Golden Age of Boating