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Pairs Head 2019

The first of the Tideway Heads of the season was the Pairs Head on October 6th. Raced over 4.5km of the River Thames between Chiswick Bridge and Harrods Wall near Hammersmith Bridge the event for doubles and pairs reached capacity a week before the closing date at 450 entries.

A forecast of blustery winds and rain for the weekend caused a scare but the organising committee decided that conditions were within their parameters and the race went ahead.

DARC was represented by Gill Prescott in the Women’s Masters F/G double scull (for ages 60 to 69) with Eva Rankin of Loch Lomond, the pair drawn to lead off the 7 entries in their category sculled superbly to win, extending the margin of victory to 37 seconds, finishing 307th out of the 418 finishers. “They were flying along!” reported one eyewitness.

Ben Rodford has provided an image of the crew in action here.

The Pairs Head is organised annually by Barnes Bridge Ladies Rowing Club (BBLRC). Final results are on the BBLRC website.

The next Tideway Heads are the Fuller’s Fours Head on November 23rd and Veteran Fours Head on November 24th.

Junior Championship medals presented

Two months after the British Rowing Junior Championships the J14 girls have at last received the medals they won for the double sculls omnium.

The Chairman of the BR Junior Championships, Chris Callow, travelled up to Durham from Bedford last week to present Libby Morris and Tilly Stoddart with the bronze medals they won at Nottingham in July, one of two won by the squad coached by Cathy Rooney – a remarkable achievement for the J14s in winning 2 of the Northern region’s 5 medals at the Championships.

The competition took place on Friday July 19th when the J14 girls entered in two coxed quads, one a composite with Chester-le-Street ARC, consisting of Libby Morris, Jennifer Napora, Amy Snook (CLS), Orlagh Windle and cox Francesca Suggett, and the other a Tyne ARC/Durham composite including Tilly Stoddart.

The rules of the competition require competitors in the 4x+ to also enter for an omnium in either single or double sculls. A busy day therefore started with a time trial for the quads to determine who qualified for the finals, scheduled to take place after the omnium. The DARC/CLS quad was 4th fastest in the time trial and qualified for the A final, while the Tyne/DARC crew went into the B final.

After the time trial came skills tests, including hands off at the catch, standing 360 degree turn in a boat, standing rigger dips, back down stop and 360 degree boat spinning, followed by a 500m sprint, slalom and emergency stop to finish off the omnium. Libby and Tilly completed the omnium in a 2x while the other girls did it in singles.

The day rounded off with the finals of the coxed quads, in which the first of the bronze medals went to the DARC/CLS combination who took third place in the A final, while the Tyne/DARC composite finished 6th in the B final. Medals were presented to crews on the Friday night.

Medals were also at stake in the omnium where the Durham girls did tremendously well to finish 3rd out of 67 competitors from all over the country, scoring 940.2 out of a possible 1000 points. Because of the complexity of the scoring system the results weren’t available until the following day so competitors who had gone home were left waiting for their medals.

Omnium skills have been a feature of the Championship for J14s for the past 4 years. Presenting the medals to Libby and Tilly, Chris observed that “it’s important to master the skills first”. Although coach Cathy was unable to be there Elliot Kay was pleased to accept a medal on her behalf.

Former DARC Secretary Bill McInnes 1930 – 2019

Bill McInnes had done a little rowing at Bede College in the late 1940s but did not join the Club until the mid 1980s when he joined the veterans’ group led by Peter Burdess.

Bill was Club secretary from 1987 to 1991.

Bill died on Sunday 29 September aged 89. His funeral is at the Wear Valley Crematorium on Tuesday 8th of October at 1.30pm.

For further information please contact Bill’s son, Duncan at

Boston Marathon 2019

Durham ARC’s Seniors entered two crews for the Boston Marathon on September 15th. In good conditions eighty three finishers completed the 50km from Lincoln to Boston.  

The men’s eight was second fastest overall, and the fastest Open 8+, finishing ahead of the Universities of Swansea, Manchester and East Anglia in 3hr 35 04.1sec.

The Women’s coxless quad was second in their category, only 14 seconds behind the Vesta/Wallingford composite (aka Girls Who Dare who are training to row across the Pacific Ocean in 2020),  in 4hr 30 31.2sec.

Full results are available by event and by time.

The Senior men’s squad is currently recruiting new members. If you would like to join them please email Vice Captain Stephen at



World Rowing Masters 2019

Durham ARC Masters took 2 trailers and a team of 5 drivers to Lake Valence in Hungary to compete at the World Rowing Masters Regatta, entering 24 races over the 5 days of competition between September 11th and 15th.

Located 50km from Budapest, Lake Valence is the second largest lake in Hungary, covering 26 square kilometres.

The regatta attracted over 5000 entries representing 52 countries, the men’s single sculls having the greatest number of entries with 1050, including 150 entering at masters D (50 years or over) and another 150 at masters E (55 or over). The age of competitors ranged from 27 to 93.

Because of the large number of entries races started every 3 minutes during the regatta, meaning no progression system through heats, semi-finals and finals, so all races were in effect finals with medals awarded to the winner of each race.

The club returned with wins in 4 events, three of them involving John Appleby. The first win came on Thursday for Andy Jaggard of DARC and Nick Cowan of Lakeland RC (left) in the MasF 2x, winning heat 7 in a time of 3m 45.59s for the 1000 metres. Three DARC crews took part in this event, with John Appleby and Micky Stevens finishing 2nd in heat 13, and John Watkinson and Paul Rutter 3rd in heat 5.

On Friday John Appleby and Micky Stevens (who the previous week had celebrated 50 years service with Durham County Council) competed again in the MasG 2x, this time winning heat 8 in a time of 3m 45.3sec for John to claim his first medal.

The next medal came on Saturday in the MasG 1x, an event in which DARC had 2 entries. Andy Jaggard went in heat 6 and finished 3rd in 4.09.42, before John Appleby (after finishing 2nd in the MasH 1x on Thursday) won heat 13, albeit in a slower time of 4.14.54, to secure his second medal of the week.

The third medal for john Appleby, and 4th for DARC, came in Sunday’s mixed races where John combined with Eva Rankin of Loch Lomond (in top photo) to win the Mixed Masters G 2x, also posting the fastest time of the four heats (3.59.83).

There were two more 2nd place finishes, the MasG coxless quad of John Watkinson, Paul Rutter, John Appleby and Micky Stevens on Thursday, and the MxdMasG coxless quad, consisting of John Appleby, Micky Stevens, Eva Rankin (Loch Lomond) and Joy Skipper (Upper Thames) on Sunday.

Another 3rd place finish for DARC came on the first day of the regatta on Wednesday for the Durham/York composite Women’s Masters E 8+ including Gabrielle Moore, Clare Blowey and Sarah Rutter.

Other results as follows –

Wednesday –

MasH 2x – Derek Gordon and Micky Stevens – 5th

MasF 1x – John Appleby – 4th

Mas I-M 8+ – Derek Gordon and composite – 4th

Thursday –

MasG 8+ – Micky Stevens, Paul Rutter, Derek Gordon and Grosvenor, Maidenhead, Royal Chester and Runcorn composite – 6th

WMasE 4x- – Gabrielle Moore, Clare Woodward, Sarah Rutter and Anne Homa (York City) – 6th

Friday –

MasE 1x – Paul Rutter – 5th

MasF 4x- – Paul Rutter, John Watkinson + Cambois, Tyne United composite – 7th

WMasE 2x – Gabrielle Moore, Clare Woodward – 7th

Saturday –

WMasD 4x- – Clare Woodward, Gabrielle Moore, Sarah Rutter and Lisa Kallal (Mortlake, Anglian and Alpha) – 4th

MasH 8+ – Derek Gordon and Grosvenor, Maidenhead, Nottingham, Royal Chester and Runcorn composite – 6th

MasD 4x- – Paul Rutter + Runcorn composite – 7th

Sunday –

MxdMasF 8+ – Derek Gordon, Paul Rutter + Royal Chester composite – 4th

MxdMasF 4x- – Paul Rutter, John Watkinson, Gabrielle Moore, Sarah Rutter – 5th

MxdMasE 2x Paul Rutter and Sarah Rutter – 6th

Results from all 5 days are available on the Regatta Central website.

Balint Czucz and Bence Szlovak have provided event photos.

The 2020 World Masters Regatta will  be staged at Linz-Ottensheim, Austria, and will take place on September 2nd to 6th.

James Snowball medals with GB Eight

Former Durham ARC Junior James Snowball was selected to represent Great Britain in the Men’s Eight for the European Under 23 Championships at Ioannina, Greece on September 7th and 8th.

James (front, front second right) now competes for Oxford Brookes University, with whom he won in the eight in the Temple Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta in July.

The GB eight, coached by Ben Murphy, was formed from the High Performance Programme clubs of Newcastle University and Oxford Brookes University and included Dylan Mitchell, Dan Graham, David Willcox, Freddie Strawson, James Snowball, Freddie Allinson, Alfie Heath and Cameron Spurling, along with cox Ben Rich from University of London BC.

After winning their heat on Saturday they went into Sunday’s final where they took the bronze medal behind Romania and the Ukraine, one of the two medal successes for GB at the Championships.

In July James was selected for the GB pair at the World Rowing Under 23 Championships, finishing 6th in the A final.

Great Tyne Row 2019

Competing for attention with an England rugby international and the Great North Run meant that this year’s Great Tyne Row could have easily been overlooked in the Tyneside sporting calendar. Thankfully it survived a late weather scare to go ahead on Saturday September 7th after a 2 year absence.

Eighteen crews entered, 17 stable coxed quads and a fixed-seat coastal skiff from Eastern Amateur Rowing Club in Portobello, Edinburgh, well down on the 34 for the 2017 event. Other entries from outside the northern region included Runcorn, Devil’s Elbow and Weyfarers.

Durham ARC was represented by two coxed quads – ‘Tyne, Gentlemen Please’ (above), a composite including John Lyons and Julian Ringer from DARC, record breaking transatlantic oarsman Phil Kite of Tyne ARC and Peter Damer of Broxbourne RC, coxed by Caroline Scholl of DARC – and ‘Darcness Monsters’ (below), a mixed crew consisting of Dave Green, Colin Lawson, Helen Adair, Paddy Deans and Kalpana Ganatra, the latter two sharing the coxing.

All was calm as the flotilla departed from Tyne ARC’s clubhouse at Newburn just after noon on the high tide, but this was soon to change. Forty minutes or so later crews arrived to the spectacle of a large crowd assembled at the Quayside bridges, unfortunately gathered to watch the Mini Great North Run rather than the rowing! Phil has provided some video footage.

After the Millennium Bridge was when the fun started as crews rounded the bend at Bill Quay into a northerly headwind and the start of a battle against choppy water which was to continue for the remainder of the 25 kilometres finishing at the North Shields Fish Quay.

Conditions were declared unsuitable for the customary crossing of Tynemouth harbour so, instead of landing at the usual site in the Haven at Tynemouth Rowing Club for the anticipated post-event BBQ, boats were hauled on to the beach next to the Old Low Light Heritage Centre, to where trailers then had to find their way to collect them, before wet and weary rowers and coxes were able to make their way by land to Tynemouth RC ready for the presentations.

A character building experience without doubt – “a big sense of achievement and a privilege to be part of a great crew,” declared Paddy of Darcness Monsters, while for John in Tyne, Gentlemen Please it was “certainly a different experience in the last 7k when the big waves came in.”

For none was the achievement greater than the four graduates of the Durham University community Learn to Row scheme who all have visual impairments. Coxed by Mark French their efforts were recognized by the organising committee in presenting the crew with the Harry Clasper Award.

Thanks go to everyone involved in organising the event with its many logistical complexities, and special thanks to Mark French for towing the Durham boats to Tynemouth and back.

Other awards went to the overall fastest crew “It’s Chico Tyne” from Tyne ARC who completed the course in 1hr 52mins. The fastest mixed crew prize went to Wandering Weyfarers from Weyfarers RC in 1hr 57mins, and the fastest women’s crew was won by Weaver Divas from Runcorn RC in 2hr 2mins.

Tyne, Gentlemen Please finished 3rd overall in 1hr 59mins and Darcness Monsters were 10th in 2hr 11mins. Tynemouth RC won the best dressed crew award for their cowgirls outfits.

Results, times and awards are here.

Former DARC Chairman Allan Pratt (1925-2019)

The family of Allan Pratt have reported his death in Nottinghamshire at the age of 94 on August 15th 2019.

Allan was a civil engineer by profession and served as Chairman of Durham ARC between 1965 and 1971, during which time he was one of the driving forces behind the relocation of the Club’s facilities from what is now St Leonard’s boathouse to the current premises.

Although a decision had been made by the Club in 1960 to relocate the premises, planning approval was not granted until 1966, after which Allan devised and costed a plan for the project to construct the new boatstore and landing stage with much of the labour being carried out voluntarily by Club members.

Allan moved away to London in 1970 and then to Newark to continue his career, becoming a Director of Hoveringham Gravel and also becoming a long-serving member of Newark Rowing Club.

Duncan Lomas and John Burns continued to progress work on the new premises, and after a final push the building project was effectively completed and the bar officially opened for business on Wednesday December 22nd 1971.

Allan leaves a widow Rosemary, sons Nigel Price and Graham Price, and 5 grandchildren. Son Nigel, a member of Newark Rowing Club, said of his father’s time at Durham, “Although his days at Durham represented a small part of his life in terms of years, they remained large in terms of their influence on him and he often reminisced about his weekends digging trenches, mixing concrete and having a beer in the Dun Cow. He was always proud of his silver salver with “Chairman and Boathouse Builder Extraordinary” engraved upon it.”

A funeral service will be held at Sherwood Forest Crematorium, Ollerton on Tuesday 27th August at 1.30pm followed by a celebration of Allan’s life at Newark Rowing Club from 3.00 pm. Family flowers only please. If desired donations in memory of Allan for The Gurkha Welfare Trust may be sent to E Gill & Sons Ltd or made online at

Trip up the Tees 2019

On August 6th Tees Rowing Club played host to 14 members from Durham ARC who joined them for the annual 25km social row up the Tees to Yarm and back followed by a sumptuous BBQ back at the River Tees Watersports Centre.

Tees were joined by Ally Barr from Lakeland and three quads and a single made the trip from DARC, including Margaret Richardson, Sue Lyons, Sonny Shepherd, Caroline Scholl, Colin Lawson, Shirley Robinson, Dave Green, Steve Auster, Nigel van Zwanenberg, Joyce Collett, Helen Adair, Heather Hirst, Sarah Rutter and Paul Rutter.

The event was arranged by Len Small of the Tees ‘Wrecks’ and DARC crews were co-ordinated by Caroline Scholl.

Many thanks to all at Tees RC for the usual splendid hospitality and to Paul for towing the trailer.