The 2023 Long Distance Sculling Series (LDS) finally reached its conclusion with a rearranged date in Durham on November 11th, after suffering consecutive cancellations at Tyne, Berwick and Wansbeck brought about by too much water, too much wind or both.
Hence only three of the six scheduled LDS rounds and two of the four associated Small Boats Head (SBH) competitions went ahead.
The Series which is organised each autumn by the Northern Rowing Council enjoyed a very successful and well attended opening round on the River Tees on September 30th but had to wait four weeks for the next action, which took place on the River Wear.
Tyne LDS and TURC SBH had to be called off on the morning of race day, October 7th, due to unexpectedly strong currents developing overnight and large amounts of debris, a great disappointment for a much larger than usual entry of over 160 boats for the Tyne LDS, with DARC due to have boated 12 entries from Juniors, Seniors and Masters for the two competitions.
Three entries from DARC had been due to take part in round 3, a stand-alone competition at Berwick-on-Tweed on October 14th, but on Friday 13th the decision was made that the forecast high winds called for another cancellation.
Fifteen entries from DARC, mainly Juniors, had been scheduled to start in Wansbeck LDS and SBH on October 21st. In a change from the usual procedure it had been planned to reduce congestion at the start and finish by boating two divisions of the LDS and two of the SBH. However, Storm Babet had other ideas and its imminent arrival led to a decision to cancel being taken on the Thursday prior to the race, and the plan was unable to be put into action.
South Hylton LDS – October 28th
Fingers were firmly crossed for round 5 at South Hylton, hosted by City of Sunderland Rowing Club, which was also the subject of some uncertainty before being given the all-clear to run over a new course despite a fast stream and floating debris on the River Wear. The start time was brought forward to 1pm to coincide with the tide and 11 entries from DARC were among 49 starters for the event which, rather than starting at Cox Green, was run upstream over 4.5km from the Wearmouth Bridge to the City of Sunderland Rowing Club at South Hylton, passing beneath the Queen Alexandra Bridge and the Northern Spire Bridge along the way.
The fastest crew of the day was the Lambton RC J15 2x who recorded 16.31.3.
DARC crews achieved victory in six events –
- WJ18 4x- Maddison – Fastest Women’s 4x- and 5th place overall 16.45.1
- J15 1x Mosley – Fastest Open 1x 17.04.7
- MasH 1x Jaggard 17.49.9
- WMasF 4x- McMillan 17.52.1
- J14 4x+ Anderson 18.23.7
- WJ14 2x Nicholson 19.46.8
The J15 2x was 2nd in their event and 4th fastest crew overall in 16.43.7, the Women’s Masters B 4x- was 2nd in a WMasBF 4x- handicap in 16.56.5, and the Masters E 4x- 2nd in a MasDEH 4x- handicap in 17.18.4. Open 1x (17.24.5) and J17 2x (17.59.6) were unopposed.
South Hylton results are here.
Durham LDS – November 11th
Durham had been due to host round 6 on November 4th but high water meant a postponement until November 11th, with a consequent 20% drop in entries. Sixteen crews from DARC were among 82 in the rescheduled LDS start order, with nineteen among the 189 starters for Durham Autumn Small Boats Head.
The river level remained high, with the fast stream affecting times but crews generally coped well with the difficult conditions.
Eight Durham LDS wins for Durham ARC went to –
- J17 4x- Kennedy-Wharton 7.44.2
- WMasB 4x- Ashton (and fastest Women’s 4x-) 8.05.4
- Open 1x Baird 7.58.9
- J18 1x Davison 8.09.9
- J15 2x (Durham School/Durham ARC) Wrack 8.16.3
- J15 1x Mosley 8.17.8
- MasH 1x Jaggard 8.49.3
- WJ14 4x+ Anderson 9.05.8
Durham LDS results are here.
Seven wins in Durham ASBH went to –
- Open 2- Scott 7.46.8
- WJ18 4x- Maddison 8.05.2
- Open 1x Baird 8.05.4
- MasH 1x Jaggard 8.46.9
- W 4x+ Doyle 9.38.2
- WJ14 4x+ Terry 9.39.4
- WMasH 1x Collett 10.39.6
Durham ASBH results are here.
The Series attracted the interest of Junior Rowing News who included it in their highlighted competitions and produced round by round previews.
The autumn head racing season has been a difficult one weatherwise, with much effort going into organising and preparing for competitions that were then cancelled, a situation also affecting many others around the country with York Small Boats Head, Wallingford Head and the Head of the Lune being recent cancellations.
Durham College Rowing’s Novice Cup (not affiliated to British Rowing) takes place this weekend in Durham. Rutherford Head on the River Tyne on December 2nd concludes the affiliated Northern competitions for 2023.
We hope for more favourable conditions after the winter break. Durham Small Boats Head is on Saturday, February 3rd, 2024.