Category Archives: Club News

Club News and Announcements

Senior Women’s Squad looking to expand

The DARC Senior Women’s Squad is looking to expand after a successful 2016-17 racing season, and we are happy to accept novice and experienced rowers- get in touch via email (women’s captain Alison Danforth – if you are interested in joining us for the 2017-18 season. We accept rowers throughout the year, and people new to the sport (those who completed a Learn to Row Course) in July through to September. We ask all rowers to commit to four training sessions a week, which may increase during regatta season. DARC is lucky to train all year on the River Wear, with additional strength and conditioning sessions in our indoor gym; a typical week’s training consists of four coached water sessions and two additional gym sessions. Occasionally we take our boats to the River Tyne where we have a bigger stretch of water to put some hard training to get ready for the long Head races.

See the Women’s Squad page for further details.

Rowing the Tyne for Stroke Association

Thirteen of DARC’s daytime members are combining with rowers from Tees and Stourport RC to enter three mixed quads for the Great Tyne Row on September 2nd while raising funds for a good cause.

‘We wanted to use the occasion to raise funds for a worthy cause, and as all of us has a family member or friend whose life has been affected as a result of a stroke we decided to adopt the Stroke Association as our chosen charity’ said Vaughan Gordon, one of the crew members.

Roger Bean of Stourport recovered from the stroke he had in 1997 but was fortunate enough to make a good recovery which allowed him to complete the Great Tyne Row for the first time in 2014, also following heart surgery.

Another member taking part is Victoria Dektereff of Tees RC, who started rowing as a means of getting her life back on track after suffering a stroke in 2009.

The Great Tyne Row is arranged by the Northern Rowing Council and takes place annually over 25km of the River Tyne between Newburn and Tynemouth.

For further details see

Team members including Chris Merchant, Colin Lawson, Jane Auster, Kalpana Ganatra, Nicola Field, Caroline Scholl, Dave Green, Steve Auster, Vaughan Gordon, Victoria Dektereff, Clive Hole, Elizabeth Judson, Linda James, Roger Bean and Sue Lyons hope to raise £1000 for the charity.

All donations will be gratefully appreciated. To support the team please sign the list on the Club notice board or see their JustGiving page on

Gateshead visit

DARC rowers maintained links with neighbouring clubs by accepting an invitation to visit Gateshead Community Rowing Club for a social visit on August 17th. A group of 11 daytime rowers enjoyed a first outing rowing along the River Derwent in a selection of Gateshead’s expanding fleet of boats before a BBQ at the new clubhouse.

Since the club was formed in 2014 Gateshead has relocated a short distance along the Tyne from the Sea Cadets building at Derwenthaugh Marina which was its base at the time of the launch of Harry Clasper. They are now fortunate to enjoy access to the River Derwent as well as the Tyne.

Several clubs in the Northern Region and beyond have developing recreational groups who enjoy visiting one another and networking. See our recreational events page for more about activities in which we take part. We look forward to continued good relations.

Juniors roundup 2017

Now that we’ve reached the end of regatta season, it seems like an appropriate time to attempt to summarise the numerous achievements of our juniors throughout the year. First of all, a massive well done to all junior crews who have competed at any level this year. The section is larger than ever, and also more successful, with numerous wins at regattas across the region.

The J13 girls have performed extremely well this season, with wins at York, Durham, and Durham City, in both quads and doubles of various combinations. The J13 boys, not to be outdone, have also coxed numerous events.

The J14 boys and girls have both produced strong performances in their quads, racing across the region against some intimidating opposition, such as the boys’ races against national silver medallists, in which they have come very close to beating them. The girls have also raced well at a national level, going to National Schools and National Championships, in which they came 14th out of a large entry of 42 crews.

The J15s have also performed extremely well, with multiple wins in quads, fours, and even eights, at events including Durham, York, Chester-le-Street, and Hexham. They have also been to Schools’ Head of the River, National Schools, and National Championships, at which they have produced good results. The J15 boys have also raced in a double, singles, and a composite quad with Tyne.

The J16s have done well in their eight, and in fours and quads, with wins at Talkin Tarn, and good results at other local regattas. They have also raced at Schools’ Head, and National Schools.

Last and quite possibly least (?), the J17 boys continued their long-standing tradition of coming second to St. Leonards, but did manage to get to the final of championship quads at Durham Regatta. Although exams prohibited them from going to the national regattas, they’re fairly sure they would have done well if they had gone. They also raced in a composite eight with St Leonards, seeing success with a win at Durham Regatta.

The juniors also hosted the first ever (and hopefully not the last) Junior Barbecue, inviting rowers from all clubs in Durham. Over 120 attended, and the event was highly successful. Finally, a huge thank you to all of the coaches, and the parents, who have helped us to achieve one of our most successful years ever. Hopefully we can continue this momentum next year, and get even better results.

Report by Harry Coe. Photos by Rob Coe.

River and path reopen

Contractors appointed by the Environment Agency were on site last weekend to effect a semi-permanent repair to the sluice gate at the Corn Mill which it is hoped means the weir will do its job as well as if not better than before. The river is therefore open for use again.

More good news is that the Council has completed the repairs to the riverbank following the landslip at Pelaw Wood in 2013 that led to the closure of the riverside footpath. The path is now open again with a new tarmac surface meaning that coaches will be able to go right up to the club on the far side of the river.

Two riverside paths form part of the National Cycle Network and the Weardale Way, linking the city centre and Old Durham. The reopening is in part thanks to the lobbying and peripheral work of volunteers from the Friends of Pelaw Wood.

The history of the restoration project is charted on the Durham County Council website.

River Closed – Weir/Sluice gate has failed

Overnight on 27th/28th June the sluice gate at the old mill adjacent to Durham School Boat House appears to have failed. The river level has dropped around 20cm overnight.

As such no Durham ARC crews are allowed to go afloat until further notice. Once the river levels have stabilised we will be able to assess the river and determine which parts are still deep enough for use. More importantly we need to identify any submerged objects that are now likely to cause damage.

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Intermediate Sculling Programme (Women’s and Men’s Masters)


To develop skills in fine single sculls aimed at:-

  • crew scullers who want to develop single sculling skills/enhance their ‘boat-moving’ ability
  • those who aspire to race in a single scull in the future

Minimum requirements:

  • to have sat in a fine single scull
  • you will need access to a single scull (some of the club’s fine sculls will be available)


10 x 3 hour sessions in 2 blocks with practice time in between

Dates: Block 1: 3 introductory sessions 27th June, 30th June and 4th July – PRACTICE BREAK –  Block 2: 7 sessions August  1st 4th 8th 11th 15th 18th 22nd including at least 1 full day session

6 to maximum of 8 places available; Priority for those who can commit to all or most sessions. There will be a small per session charge which will be used for future single sculling resources.

The programme will be run by Andy Jaggard, together with one or two other experienced single scullers.

To express your interest, and for more detailed information on the content of the programme and the approach please talk to me, or email:

Honour for Club stalwart

Durham Amateur Rowing Club Chairman Barry Hudson has been awarded the MBE for Services to the Community and Rowing in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Barry is a long-standing member of the Club which he has served in many capacities for over 50 years.

Born in Sidegate in Durham City in 1945 Barry was educated at St Margaret’s C of E Infants and Juniors and Durham Johnston Boys Grammar School before training as a Chartered Surveyor as articled clerk to Geoffrey Wood at J.W.Wood and Son, Durham and was then employed in the Civil Service as a District Valuer for 40 years.

As a boy the banks of the River Wear were a “playground” and he soon found his way to the Durham Amateur Rowing Club where Rowing became a lifelong interest. On becoming a Member in 1959 he first tasted victory coxing a four stroked by future DARC President Bill Parker.

In 1967 he took on his first Committee role as Club Treasurer and soon afterwards became club representative on the Durham Regatta Committee, later becoming a Town Representative, a position he still holds.

As Treasurer he organised the first Wear Regatta, later renamed Durham City Regatta, and became the first Regatta Secretary. A major project at the time was the building of a new Boathouse on the Club’s move to its present site.

In 1971 he became Vice Captain and soon afterwards Club Captain.

After being elected a Life Member in 1974 he moved away to pursue a Civil Service career, joining Newark Rowing Club where he served as Regatta Secretary until 1976. He then moved to West Yorkshire and joined Bradford Amateur Rowing Club.

He qualified as an Amateur Rowing Association Bronze Level coach in 1978 and in 1983 became an ARA Umpire (a role he continues to carry out), moving back to Durham in 1984 and continuing his membership of Durham ARC and the Durham Regatta Committee. His next roles were as Press Officer from 1987 to 1989, and in 1990 Assistant Secretary. In 1991 he became Club Secretary, a position he was to hold for 25 years until 2016.

During his term as Secretary he acted as Project Manager of Durham ARC Building Project (1997-2007), culminating in the opening of the new £1 million Boathouse in September 2007. Responsible for overseeing the funding and development of the new premises he established partnerships with local schools and encouraged the expansion of the Club to all ages and abilities, and the use of the premises by other community organisations.

In 2010 he produced a History Timeline for Durham ARC to mark its 150th year. In 2011 he was appointed a Director of Durham Regatta when it registered as a limited company.

Also in 2011 he received the Durham City and Chester-le-Street Award for Contribution to Sport, the Durham  County Award for Contribution to Sport and the BBC North East and Cumbria Award for “Sporting Inspiration”.

In 2012 he was appointed Trustee of a new charity the “Wear Education and Water Sports Centre” based at Durham ARC, as well as being awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal by British Rowing (one of 60).

Barry took on his current role as Chairman of Durham ARC in 2016, remaining actively involved as administrator, rower, umpire, and coach.

He is married and has two sons and two granddaughters.

All well on the northern regatta front

As we reach the midway point of the northern regatta season with Wansbeck Regatta this weekend it’s worth reflecting on the state of play of British Rowing’s revised Competition Framework.

There has been a 50/50 split between those regattas adopting the old system and new system, including some in the fortunate position to be able to host a day of each. Chester-le-Street and Durham City (Sunday) were bold and embraced the new ranking index system, Wansbeck and Talkin Tarn have declared their hand and will follow suit. Tees and Durham City (Saturday) chose the cautious approach, adopting the old points system. Hexham will do likewise on June 3rd.

Tyne Regatta also decided to play safe by sticking with the old BROE system, only to find entries in short supply and cancellation unavoidable. The reasons are unclear – many events with few entries in each was a determining factor.

Durham Regatta is also hedging its bets by adopting the old system on June 10th and the new one on June 11th.

Feedback suggests that in the regattas so far staged there has been a full entry and a successful outcome. Indeed Chester-le-Street enjoyed one of its best turnouts ever. One of the aims of the Ranking Index approach is to ensure closer racing for all competitors. Scrutiny of winning margins from published results may offer some insight. As an example, 102 out of 262 i.e. 39% of races on the Saturday of Durham City Regatta (old system) returned a winning margin of ‘easily’ whereas on the Sunday (new system) there were 18 ‘easily’ verdicts from 84 races (21%). Closer inspection of a larger sample of data may be necessary to ascertain the extent to which the objective has been achieved.

Come April 2018 every event will run under the new competition framework. We await developments with interest.

One section of DARC enjoying a revival of fortunes is the Senior squad, with the men’s and women’s squads recently combining under the guidance of Phill Tully, the women’s elite coxless quad (Liz Law, Taya Parker, Alison Danforth and Beth Holmes) gaining two victories at Durham City and notably the women’s IM3 coxed quad (Emma Lyons, Ruth Hodges, Emily Hanscam/Taya Parker, Michelle Joubert and cox Christie Lau) winning at both Durham City and Tees Regattas, the same crew devastated after the incident on March 14th when a block of concrete was dropped on their boat, Peter Burdess, as it passed under Baths Bridge, attracting considerable media interest, and causing what was thought at the time to be irreparable damage. Thankfully this was not the case, the crew remained unscathed, and crew and boat were reunited with more positive impact at the two events.

The men’s IM3 coxed quad (Tom Maddick, Joe Owen, Nick Baird, Reece Stockport and cox Becky Jackson) also tasted victory at Durham City Regatta  and there was a further win for Ruth Hodges and Emily Hanscam in a double scull at Chester-le-Street.