Monthly Archives: February 2016

Learn to Row 2016

Details of this year’s adult and junior learn to row courses are now available.

Adult Courses (16+): 8 weeks, £95 (inc. British Rowing handbook & registration, & t-shirt)

  • Fridays 6.30pm – 8.30pm 1st April – 20th May
  • Sundays 4.30pm – 6.30pm 3rd April – 22nd May
  • Fridays 6.30pm – 8.30pm 17th June – 5th August
  • Sundays 2.30pm – 4.30pm 19th June – 7th August
  • Saturday & Sunday 4.30pm – 6.30pm 3rd – 25th September

Junior Courses (11-15): 5 mornings during school holidays, £65

  • Easter Holiday
    Monday 4th – Friday 8th April 9.30am – 11.30am
  • Summer Holiday
    Monday 25th July – Friday 29th July 9.30am – 11.30am

Further details, including an application form, can be found on our website:


Durham Small Boats Head 2016

After an enforced break due to winter floods rowers were able to take to the River Wear in Durham on February 6th for Durham Small Boats Head, a time trial over 1800 metres, hosted by Durham Amateur Rowing Club on an iconic stretch of water in the city centre passing under Elvet Bridge at the halfway point.

This year’s Head, open to fours, quads, doubles and singles of all ages attracted entries from clubs across the northern region, local schools and Durham University colleges, as well as a strong contingent of Scottish clubs including George Heriot’s School and George Watson’s College from Edinburgh, and several crews from Lakeland and Bradford Amateur Rowing Clubs.

The event is split into 4 divisions, requiring precise scheduling to enable coaches to try out different crew combinations. Intermittent rain, a rising water level and strong stream meant challenging conditions for the 363 entrants, with those boating later in the day worst affected, and difficulties for some in negotiating the sharp bend and narrow arches of Elvet Bridge, thankfully free from flood debris.

Durham School held off George Watson’s College to claim overall victory as the fastest coxless quad scull, winning by one second in 6min 30 sec. In the sweep-oared events a strong team from St Andrews University led the way, claiming first and second places in the coxed four, with the winning crew completing the course in 6min 47.8sec. Chester-le-Street Amateur Rowing Club was the fastest coxless four.

A feature of each years head is the rivalry between the Durham University colleges. This year’s fastest college crew was the 4+ representing University College, taking 8th place overall in 7.01.1, holding off St Aidan’s College by 1 second. Hatfield College was the fastest women’s college to finish in 8.22.8.

Durham ARC’s junior scullers Harry Ward and Aidan Rushforth were the fastest double overall, with Aidan also going on to win the fastest single of the day in 7.28.9.

There were good performances from DARC’s J16 boys, winning both the 4x- and 4+.

The fastest women’s crew to finish, in 7.51.5, was a Chester-le-Street and Tees Junior 16 composite quad. Durham ARC’s Hope Cessford won the fastest women’s single as well as the fastest women’s double, in combination with Olivia Brown. DARC’s J18 girls won the 4+, and the J14 and J13 girls also won their 4x+ events.

Durham ARC showed their strength at Masters level, winning the Masters D and E 4x-, G 2x, E, F and G 1x and Women’s Masters D and F 1x. Gill Prescott claimed 3 more victories, in the Women’s Masters D 2x, E 2x and the IM2 4x-, and the Women’s Masters also won the IM3 4x+.

Members gathered at the clubhouse after the end of a splendid day’s racing for the presentation of awards in some 60 categories, much to the satisfaction of all involved, a great effort all round in organising the event with such efficiency.

The narrow course and rapid throughput of crews between divisions makes for a constant challenge in scheduling sufficient races to satisfy demand before darkness descends. This year was no exception. Durham ARC has ambitious plans to extend the available landing stage, which it is hoped will speed up boating ready for next year.

During the proceedings members of Bradford Amateur Rowing Club were delighted to accept donations totalling £2665 towards the repair of the weir on the River Aire in Bradford that collapsed recently.

Full results from the SBH are

Recent Durham ARC event winners and crews are here.

Photos by Al Johnston from division 2 and 3

Other albums are available as follows

Thanks to all the photographers.

Donation to Bradford weir repair fund

Being reliant on a weir for rowing themselves Durham rowers are very mindful of the situation in which Bradford rowers find themselves following the recent flood damage that led to the breach and collapse of the weir on the River Aire. They have therefore responded wholeheartedly to Bradford’s plea for help in funding the necessary repair work. The opportunity was taken on February 6th during Durham Small Boats Head to pass on donations to rowers from Bradford taking part in the races.

Dr Celia Hickson, the President of Bradford ARC, accepted a cheque for £1665 from Durham ARC Chairman Dr Martin Judson, representing a donation from club funds backed up by contributions from individual club members. She was then presented with a second cheque for £1000 on behalf of Durham Regatta by Regatta Chairman Dr Nigel van Zwanenberg.

It is hoped that the donations will go some way towards achieving the £20,000 shortfall that it is estimated is required to pay for the repair.

Celia explains

On Boxing Day the North of England was battered by Storm Eva and “unprecedented” amounts of rain fell onto already soaked ground. The Aire Valley was badly affected and river levels rose to new highs. At Bradford Amateur Rowing Club on the River Aire the water rose rapidly and cut off the club and boat houses by lunchtime, the flood water inundating the club house for the first time in living memory. Boats floated off racks and the muddy water flowed everywhere.

Once the flood water subsided BARC members took stock of the situation; boats were damaged and clubhouse was covered in a layer of mud, but most distressing of all the weir which keeps our 750m rowable was breached.

Our weir, which once fed the mill race for a corn mill opposite, has been in place for a very long time; some records putting a weir at Hirst Weir in the 1400’s. It had sustained damage in the past during flood events, but this was on a new scale. The BARC committee had been in dialogue with the Environment Agency about improving the weir and had started to build a weir fund. A local contractor put the repair costs at £85,000.

In the days after Boxing Day we realised that we were going to have to act fast to save the weir and that conventional funding routes would perhaps not meet our urgent pace. Sport England gave us the go ahead to apply to their Flood Relief Fund retrospectively which took some pressure off. We applied to City of Bradford MDC flood relief scheme, one for the Aire Valley, to Greggs Environmental Fund, to anyone who would accept our applications!

We had a JustGiving page and we asked members to donate as much as they felt able to get the repairs underway and to ask others who may be able to support our cause; and Social Media did its magic and the news spread amongst our local community and rowing community at large. Facebook and Twitter were aflame with the news that we were in trouble and donations started to arrive from all over the world.

Durham Amateur Rowing Club also a weir dependent club contacted us to say they would help. We had seen that their water was affected and bridges on their stretch were clogged with flood debris. When Durham Regatta said they would help us too we got quite emotional and then as members contributed too it can only be described as overwhelming. We felt supported and lifted as suddenly we were not alone, our rowing community/family had heard of our plight and responded. Whilst we are still working hard to reach our fundraising target our mood has lightened and we know we can do this. Thanks Durham, you are our heroes!

Pelaw Wood landslip restoration project update February 2016

Durham County Council has issued the following statement

Work continues to progress well despite recent heavy rain, cold weather and snow over the Christmas period. The slipped soil and debris from the landslip has been removed to allow works to start on the steadying of the fallen section of slope. Our contractor has begun to replace the existing weak soil and debris with better quality stone, which is less likely to slip.

When the weak material has been replaced by structural stone material, the next phase of works will be to cover the slope with soils held in place by a specialist ‘geotextile’ mesh. The slope will then be restored with a specially selected seed-mix of mixed grasses and wildflowers to encourage biodiversity. It will then be allowed to naturally re-seed with trees over time.

We are working hard to ensure the riverside path can be re-opened as soon as possible. However, we do ask for the public to continue to be patient and avoid closed footpaths which are still inaccessible.

With good progress towards the stabilisation of the slope, it is estimated that the works will be finished in Spring 2016; with further updates closer to the time. However, the works can still be very weather sensitive and subject to the unknown ground conditions.

For more information on the scheme please visit

Many thanks

Steph Cribbs
Communications and marketing
Neighbourhood Services
Durham County Council
03000 268 157
07469 402 579