War of the Roses 2015

On Saturday April 25th a group of 8 daytime and Masters rowers went to Bradford ARC to take part in the War of the Roses, a scratch regatta involving clubs from across the Northern, North Western and Yorkshire regions – from Hull and Runcorn to Talkin Tarn and Hexham. The event has become a firm favourite with the daytime rowers following a memorable first visit last year.

The format is unique, with registered participants arriving from 11am to be issued with crew numbers, find their crewmates and discuss tactics in time for racing to commence at 1pm. The organisers attempt to allocate crews of mixed sex, club and ability to take part in a knockout in 4+s followed by a similar competition in 4x+s but with crews reallocated. This leads to general mayhem but is great fun, incredibly sociable and a great way to make new friends.

The Northern Region was well represented with a sizeable contingent from Hexham, Durham and Tees. Races take place over a short but picturesque course on the River Aire, adjacent to the Saltaire World Heritage Site, using committee boats with a rapid turnaround of crews between races so no adjustment of foot stretchers is permitted. For added variety one of the 4+s is stroke-rigged and the other bow-rigged.

The day concludes with an Eights challenge between crews drawn at random to represent the White Rose of Yorkshire and the Red Rose of Lancashire, from whence the name is derived.

With 31 teams taking part Durham fared well in both the sweep and sculling formats with representatives in each final, and Vaughan’s crew beating Colin’s in the sweep final.

Gerry was delighted to be selected for the Red Rose crew in the 8s race only for them to be defeated comfortably by a White Rose eight consisting of 7 women and one man. Of course it’s less about winning than about taking part, but don’t tell Bradford that as the historic rivalry between Lancaster and York is still very much evident!


Bradford provided a plentiful supply of cakes, soup and bacon butties as sustenance throughout the day, until 7.30pm when it was time to retire to the splendid Victorian clubhouse for the traditional curry supper. It made a change for Gene, who can usually be found in the kitchen at DARC, to have the opportunity to take part without having to prepare the meals. After a convivial evening it was time to wend our weary way home, definitely a winning formula worth replicating.

More photos here.