Monthly Archives: June 2015

Juniors take the honours at Durham Regatta

Held over the weekend of June 13th/14th Durham Regatta was a high point in the season for the club’s Juniors, winning five events on Saturday and following up with a further three on Sunday.

Saturday saw early wins in Long course events for MJ18 double Richard Matthewson and Robbie Lyons and WJ18 quad Jessica Harris, Lauren McMillan, Carina Sowerby and Katy McDaid who saw off rivals Queen Elizabeth High School in the final.

Hope Cessford and Olivia Brown in the WJ16 double raced up an age group and lost their long course final by ONE foot, Hope went on to win WJ16 singles later in the day. Aidan Rushforth won MJ16 singles. The boys J15 quad also went out by the narrowest of margins of one foot in the semi-finals to the eventual winner. In one of the last races of the day the WJ18 eight of Corinne Hatton, Hannah Iqbal, Alex McMullen, Charlotte Jackson, Ellen Blowey, Sarah Coleman, Georgia McMillan, Laura Phillips and cox Julia Dominy beat Tyne ARC by a comfortable distance.

Sunday was a bit damp in Durham and with racing starting at 8am the Novice boys crew got to race at 8.04am. Rowing well they were beaten by eventual winners Durham University Boat Club. Junior wins were all in senior events. Matthew Abbiss, Jacob Lutz-Nattrass, Richard Matthewson, James Snowball and cox Elise Sanderson covered the long course three times to win Men’s IM2 Coxed fours. Not to be outdone the same crew of junior girls from Saturday entered and won Women’s IM2 Eights.

Two juniors, Tim Hopper and Harry Ward, combined with two of last years juniors (now the under-21 group) Cameron Cutts and Elliot Kay, and repeated their Wansbeck win in Men’s IM3 coxless quads. The boys J15 quad made it into the final but unfortunately in a stroke for stroke finish with Lancaster Royal Grammar School they were eased into 2nd place. Aidan Rushforth in Men’s Elite Single sculls gave a fine performance and the eventual winner from DUBC had to row out of his skin to keep narrowly in front of 15 year old Aidan.

The club’s junior coaches are delighted with the weekend’s performance, particularly as this is a very difficult time with pressures of GCSEs and A Levels. Crews and scullers are now working towards trials for the GB v France match and National Championships next month.

Masters events were affected by the British Rowing Masters Championships taking place in Nottingham over the same weekend but among the wins were Gill Prescott and Helen McMillan in the WMasD 2x and Julian Ringer, Richard Court, Paul Sowerby and John Lyons in the MasD 4x-.

Feedback indicates that the whole weekend was well received, with the Waterloo celebrations being particularly memorable, DARC’s skiff racers and coal trimmers joining the Row2Recovery crew in the parade down the river.

10 medals for DARC at British Rowing Masters

Durham ARC enjoyed considerable success at the British Rowing Masters Championships, which took place on a 1km 6-lane course at the National Watersports Centre in Nottingham over 2 days on June 13th/14th, the same weekend as Durham Regatta. It rained steadily all day on Saturday making for miserable outdoor conditions. Sunday was much drier but with the usual Holme Pierrepoint breeze.

The club came away with 6 gold and 4 silver medals and finished 3rd behind Wallingford and Ardingley Rowing Clubs in the Championship Victor Ludorum with 197 points.

On Saturday the first win went to Gill Prescott’s composite double. She and Loch Lomond’s Eva Rankine posted a very fast time of 4:04.91 to win the Women’s Masters E 2x by an eight second margin. Next was the Women’s C 4x-, another win for Gill Prescott, this time with Helen McMillan in a composite with Berwick RC’s Hilary Cairns and Alison Inglis in a time of 3:42.39.

Then came another medal for a double, this time DARCs Andy Jaggard and John Lund, who surged through from 3rd place to pick up the silver in G 2x with a time of 3:50.52. Andy Jaggard had qualified earlier for the F 1x final but decided to scratch his entry in order to take part in the 2x final. Soon after, John Appleby & Helen McMillan won Mixed E/F 4x- in a composite crew which again included Eva Rankine and also DARC alumnus Tom Bishop. The time of 3:39.82 was well ahead of the rest of the field. Tom represented GB at the 1976 Montreal Olympics in lightweight single sculls and latterly sculls out of Quintin Boat Club. This was an exciting race also involving 2 other DARC quads stroked by George Adair and John Lund but unfortunately without medal success. Saturday’s final victory came in the Women’s E 4x- and again involved Gill Prescott in a composite with Eva Rankine, this time with Joy Skipper from Upper Thames RC and Sarah Payne of Wycliffe College, who finished seven seconds ahead in a time of 3:52.11.

Several of the participants in Saturday’s races then returned to take part in Sunday events at Durham Regatta, with Gill Prescott and Helen McMillan winning the Women’s Masters D 2x and John Lyons securing victory with a Masters D 4x- crew.

On Sunday, with a lot of mud from the previous day’s rain, it was the turn of the sweep rowers to join the fun. There was early success in Women’s Masters A/B/C IM3 4x-. Gold was achieved by the crew of Clare Woodward, June Davison, Jacki Patrickson and Susan Jackson with a respectable time of 3:54.02.

A single crew swap allowed the crew to race in Women’s D IM3 4x-, with Carole McCarthy, June Davison, Clare Woodward and Susan Jackson finishing within 2 seconds of the winners achieving Silver in a time of 3:53.25. The Women’s D 8+ made it through to the final but was unable to achieve a medal. Clare Woodward also raced courageously in the singles event in difficult conditions but finished out of the medals.

Next to go was the F 4+ who were facing up to old enemies Guildford who had beaten them at Nottingham the previous year and also at Henley and looked to be the main opposition. Derby, out in lane 6, had also had success at this level before. A great race followed with less than a length separating the first 4 places, but it was gold for the DARC crew of Tim Baker, Martin Judson, David Walker and Paul Stanley, by half a length in a time of 3:40.61 from Derby who had eased past Guildford to take the silver. There was no time for collecting medals as cox Emma Hocking had to catch up with the Mixed E 8+ racing ten minutes after the F 4+. Andy Jaggard had taken the crew of Sarah Rutter, Gabrielle Moore, John Watkinson, John Appleby, John Lund, Paul Rutter, Helen Adair and Angela Lund up to the start where a cox swap was planned. Emma pedalled like mad on Angie Lund’s bike to get there but the starters were having none of it, so it was Andy who steered the crew to a creditable time of 3:32.62 to take a silver medal.

The remaining race with club interest was F 8+. For the uninitiated F represents an average age of 60-64. Quintin have dominated this event in recent years at Heads, National Vets & Henley Masters. A cracking race ensued with DARC taking an early lead to see it whittled away to a 1/3rd of a length deficit by 500 metres. A surge pulled Quintin back but the finish line approached too quickly. The club won silver just 1.8 seconds behind the winners. Third place crossed the line 12 seconds later. DARC Ages, crewed by John Hill, John Appleby, John Watkinson, Paul Rutter, John Walker, Martin Judson, Tim Baker and Paul Stanley, coxed by Emma Hocking, had covered the course in 3:14.50, a time which was the 6th fastest in all age groups in all events at the championships and would have won silver in C and E eights. To put this further in perspective, the next age band, G, was won in 3.29, a massive 15 seconds slower.

Pictured top – Women’s C 4x- and D 4x- crews L-R Jacki Patrickson, Carole McCarthy, June Davison, Andy Jaggard (coach), Clare Woodward, Susan Jackson

Results summary

  • Women’s E 2x Gold
  • Women’s C 4x- Gold
  • Open G 2x Silver
  • Mixed E/F 4x- Gold
  • Women’s E 4x- Gold
  • Women’s C IM3 4x- Gold
  • Women’s D IM3 4x- Silver
  • Open F 4+ Gold
  • Mixed E 8+ Silver
  • Open F 8+ Silver

Full results can be found here.

The haul of 6 golds and 4 silvers keeps the club well positioned in the rowing world. Congratulations to all who took part!

Scullers ready for re-enactment

Durham ARC scullers took time out for a photo-call prior to re-enactment races, which will take place at this year’s Durham Regatta  between 1.30 and 2.30pm on June 13th.

The re-enactment will take the form of a 9-abreast sculling race in skiffs, giving a flavour of what the regatta was like in its early years.

The transcript below, taken from the Durham Regatta programme of 1836, when the regatta took place in midweek, gives some additional insight.

Durham Boat Regatta 1836

Wednesday June 15

The boats will be manned at 1pm and proceed to Old Durham, where the final arrangements for the ensuing races will be completed, the boats entered and three out of each crew of the 6-oared boats, two out of each crew of the 4-oared boats, and any person entering a skiff, may shoot for an archery medal.

The regatta will commence at 6pm – when the boats will take their respective stations below the Prebends Bridge, with their crews in uniform, flags flying, and attended by a band of music. Shortly after 6 a signal gun will be fired, the band commence playing and the boats, after a short interval, move in procession to Elvet Bridge, where they will halt, the crews rise from their seats and the band play ‘God Save the King’. The band will then return to the Museum, the rowing boats proceed to a buoy fixed in the river opposite Pelaw Wood and shortly afterwards return to the Prebends Bridge, where a race between the 6-oared boats will commence and terminate. The races being concluded for the evening visitors will be invited to take seats in the boats, which will return in procession, accompanied by the band, to and from Old Durham, and reach the Museum at 9 o’clock, when the medals will be presented to their respective owners.

NB. There will be a Ball in the evening at the Assembly Rooms.

Thursday June 16

The boats will be manned and take their respective stations as on the preceding evening, shortly before one o’clock, when a salute will be fired, and the band play ‘God Save the King’, the crews rising from their seats. The boats will then move in procession to Elvet Bridge, from whence the band, after playing ‘Rule Britannia’ will return to the Prebends Bridge, followed after a short period by the rowing boats. The races for the medals between the 4-oared boats will commence at two, and that between the skiffs at half past two. All the races will commence and terminate at the Prebends Bridge. Should the races be concluded at half past three, strangers will again be invited into the boats, which will row in order to and from Old Durham.

The boats will again be manned and ranged in procession at 8pm, and strangers invited to take seats in them, when the whole will proceed, accompanied by the band, to Old Durham, and return to the New Museum at nine, when the remaining medals will be presented to their respective owners. The boats will then arrange themselves in a line across the river, the band occupying a place in front of them, and an exhibition of fireworks commence at a quarter past nine, which will terminate by the ascent of a balloon with carmine lights.

Dates, times and locations may differ from 1836 but it is hoped that a sense of the history of the event can be re-created.

Pictured – back L-R Tony Ewin, Stephen Auster, Gerry King, front L-R Colin Lawson, Colin Jubb

DARC women ready for coal trimmers race

The senior women’s squad have been making final preparations for Saturday’s re-enactment of the Wear Scurry, a feature of the early years of Durham Regatta.

This and other re-enactments will take place between 1.30 and 2.30pm in a break between the scheduled races at this year’s Durham Regatta, alongside the Racecourse on the River Wear in Durham on Saturday June 13th, and will feature a race in punts, one of which has kindly been donated by John Appleby, between 2 teams of 6 rowers and dragon-boaters using traditional paddles.

Originally staged at the first Durham Regatta in 1834 the Wear Scurry was a race in which miners took part using shovels as paddles. It became known as the ‘trimmers race’ due to its popularity with coal trimmers who used their heart-shaped trimming shovels as a means of propelling the boats. Coal trimmers worked in the shipyards packing coal into the hold of ships. The final job in loading the coal was very much ‘hands on’ for the trimmers, who crouched on their knees inside the hold of the ship and began sweeping the coal behind them, into the corners using their custom made heart-shaped shovels – this paddling action was similar to paddling a canoe.

Pictured top – back L-R – Fe Ashton, Heather Tosley, Meghan McCarthy, Louise Peterken; front L-R – Emma Lyons, Claire Adams, Carole McCarthy

More photos here

A further re-enactment will see a 9-abreast race in skiffs between scullers kitted out in traditional attire. Visitors in traditional dress will be invited to join the procession of boats.

Chester-le-Street Sunday League

Following the postponement of 2 of the 3 previously scheduled rounds due to unsuitable weather the Sunday League resumed at Chester-le-Street on June 7th with a good turnout of 15 teams from Tyne, Durham, Tees, Hexham, Talkin Tarn and Chester-le-Street Rowing Clubs.

As Chester-le-Street don’t have stable boats it was the turn of DARC, along with Tyne RC, to provide the boats that are shared by all the participating crews. Clockwork precision enabled a speedy turnaround of trailer after Hexham Regatta the previous day to enable the event to get underway on time.


This was to be the first sweep-oared round of the season. DARC entered 4 coxed fours including a women’s crew, DARC Green, making their debut appearance, who had instant success winning 2 races. DARC Demons (Margaret Richardson, Debbie Jahangiry, Gene Dobson and Maureen Miller) fared best on the day with 3 wins from 4 races.

There were several close finishes in both Open and Women’s categories, raced over a 350 metre course, with competitors and spectators welcoming bright sunshine and the plentiful supply of cakes and bacon butties provided by the host club.

After 2 rounds, Up Tyne Funk (TYN) lead the way in the Open competition with an unbeaten record of 8 points, followed by Darc Desperados with 5 points. In the Women’s competition Tyneapple Chunks (TYN) also have a 100% record with 6 points and are followed by 3 teams on 3 points – Darc Demons (DUR), Hexys Midnight Rowers (HEX) and Great Hexpectations (HEX).

The next round takes place at Hexham in July.

Hexham Regatta

Saturday June 6th saw the roadshow off to Hexham for the latest round of the local regatta season for what is one of the largest events in the northern calendar. Falling near the end of term and the week before Durham Regatta Hexham Regatta attracts a large entry from both club and college rowers, with this year’s entry establishing a new high well in excess of 400, leading to several entries having to be rejected in order to whittle down the number to a more manageable 397.

In addition to 30 crews from DARC the total included many entries from Durham University colleges with a large entry in novice and intermediate eights and coxed fours. As well as transporting boats for its own crews DARC provides trailerage for the colleges, which entails the huge logistical exercise of loading boats for all entrants on to trailers and transporting them to and from Hexham. This year achieved new heights with five trailers fully loaded on Friday night and ready to set off early on Saturday morning in time for the first race at 8am.

Road closures and a forecast of high winds for the next day caused some anxiety and uncertainty, unfounded as it turned out. The decision was taken to shorten the course to 600 metres to reduce delays aligning crews at the start in the blustery conditions, and although the weather did lead to some crews scratching, much excellent racing was enjoyed.

There was a win for the J18 girls’ crew of Katie McDaid, Carina Sowerby, Lauren McMillan and Jess Harris over the senior women’s crew in the final of the IM1 coxless quad. The same crew was victorious in the WJ18 4x-. Other wins for the Juniors included the WJ18 eight of Corinne Hatton, Ellen Blowey, Sarah Coleman, Hannah Iqbal, Alex McMullen, Laura Phillips, Charlotte Jackson, Georgia McMillan and cox Julia Dominy, J18 double of Richard Matthewson and Aiden Rushforth, J15 single Josh Stephenson, J18 coxed four of James Snowball, Richard Matthewson, Aiden Rushforth, Jacob Lutz-Nattrass and cox Elise Sanderson, and J15 coxed quad of Harry Coe, Matthew Skinner, Aidan Crilley, Matthew Edge and cox Mollie Coe. The Masters crew of Julian Ringer, John Watkinson, Paul Sowerby and John Lyons won the Masters E coxless quad.

The organisers did well in keeping racing ahead of schedule for most of the day.

With trailers duly returned Sunday’s task was to unload them all again, all in a weekends work! Now for our biggest event of the year, Durham Regatta, on June 13th and 14th!

World rowing expert launches book about Tyne Champions

A world-renowned expert on rowing will be coming to the north-east to promote his new book about Tyneside rowers as part of the 170th anniversary celebrations of Geordie hero Harry Clasper and his brothers bringing the world championship to the region for the first time.

Christopher Dodd, who is a freelance journalist, editor, author and rowing historian, was The Guardian newspaper’s expert on boat racing past and present for 30 years before he founded the River & Rowing Museum at Henley-on-Thames, where he is a historian and curator. He is the founding editor of Regatta magazine and the International Rowing Federation’s World Rowing.

His new book Bonnie Brave Boat Rowers: The heroes, seers and songsters of the Tyne is the latest in a series of authoritative works that include histories of Henley Regatta, the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, London Rowing Club and World Rowing.

Bonnie Brave Boat Rowers is based on a 19th century song written by Tyneside songsmith Joe Wilson. The book examines the different aspects of rowing culture and discusses its impact in England during the 1800s and early 1900s.

The author is also indebted to Roger Bean, formerly of Durham ARC, whose enquiry in connection with the restoration of former professional sculler Jack Hopper’s boat provided the necessary impetus for the completion of the work.

Mr Dodd said: “It gives a history of the Newcastle Christmas Handicap and how it contributed to the rowing rivalry between the Tyne and Thames rivers.

“It also tells the story of Tynesiders like the Geordie rowing hero Harry Clasper, Matt Taylor and Bob Bagnall who revolutionized the design and construction of racing shells.”

He added: “The book will appeal to anyone interested in the evolution of rowing as well as the social history of the Industrial Revolution and the local history of the Tyne area.”

Harry Clasper and his brothers won the world championship on the Thames in June 1845 and the event caused a sensation throughout the UK. For the next 26 years the rowers of the Tyne were to dominate UK “aquatics”, which was the sport of the working classes before football.

The Blaydon Races was written in 1862 to celebrate Harry Clasper’s rowing, coaching and boat design achievements.

An estimated 130,000 people attended Harry’s funeral in Newcastle when he died, aged 58, in 1870.

Hadaway Harry, a stage play by Ed Waugh will be performed at venues around the north-east from June 29th to July 11th to celebrate the achievements of Harry Clasper. Ed Waugh will be a guest at Durham Regatta on Saturday June 13th.

Christopher Dodd will be speaking at South Shields Library on Tuesday, July 7th, at 1.30pm and will be attending the show in Newcastle’s Discovery Museum in the evening, where his book will be on sale.

He will also welcome enquiries and information about the history of rowing in the north-east to the River & Rowing Museum to

DARC rowers prepare for re-enactment races

As well as the usual packed programme of competitive racing over the weekend of 13th/14th June this year’s Durham Regatta will include special events to celebrate the bi-centenary of victory at the Battle of Waterloo and its links to the Regatta.

These will include a 1 hour celebration between 1.30 and 2.30pm on Saturday 13th June featuring events re-enacting races from the early regattas, including a race for coal trimmers, who used their trimming shovels as paddles and a nine-abreast skiffs race. DARC members have been digging out their best ‘historic’ kit and flocking in their droves to take part in these events!

Above photo – Jamie Brown who will play Harry Clasper in the one man show HADAWAY HARRY, written by Ed Waugh. HADAWAY HARRY will be shown at venues throughout the North-East in June and July. Ed and ‘Harry’ will both be at the regatta on Saturday 13th June.

A procession of boats, commemorating the original Waterloo celebrations, will then parade down the river. The Atlantic boat of the Row2Recovery team, the regatta’s 2015 charity partner, will row past and demonstrate the amazing achievements of their members. All this to the sound of the Durham University Brass Band playing rowing songs, culminating in the National Anthem, three cheers for the Duke of Wellington and Rule Britannia!

In line with these events visitors to the Regatta are invited to come along in fashionable dress from any era from the last 200 years. This is your chance to join our rowers, themselves decked out in historic rowing kit, and the descendants of the Durham Waterloo men in the procession of boats (please assure us that you can swim and will follow the guidance of the marshals)


We invite rowers and members of the public to come along to this year’s WATERLOO regatta in either

  • historic rowing kit (your club’s kit from a bygone era, or as any North-East rowing icon)
  • or high fashion from any era of the last 200 years

Winner and Runner-up prizes in each category

Those ‘highly commended’ will also be eligible to take part in the procession of boats