ON THIS DAY – Episode 4

Mike McD continues his account of the birth of QRC, back in 2010:

ON THIS DAY – 10 years ago

Well, not exactly, but we had scheduled our next Steering Group meeting for the 11th June, four days hence. Things had been progressing by leaps and bounds in the interim. Stuart Mitchell had been talking to John Watson and discovered that John was very willing to assist in the build. On a suggestion from his wife Barbara, he had enquired of Scotmid regarding the possible use of the currently empty and advertised unit next door to the shop. An e-mail from him to the rest of us put this on the agenda – with a cautionary note – are we going cart before the horse? when we have no money and no kit?! In the meantime Mel (Alan Meldrum) was busy working up a constitution for ‘Scottish Coastal Rowing Project – Queensferry’ based on the SCRA constitution which of course, had been formed the year before.

In researching the history of rowing at Queensferry we had come across some interesting stuff. [Note from Barbara: The ‘stuff’ was so interesting it’s got its own post!]

The harbour and the ferry passage ( therefore rowing and sailing) were integral to the life of the town for centuries, but as a recreational pursuit it seems to have begun when the Navy started appearing on a regular basis. In June 1860 the flagship ‘Royal Albert’ with eight other battleships, two frigates and a gunboat arrived in the Forth at Queensferry.

HMS Royal Albert at Queensferry in 1860

This was the start of regular fleet visits over the next 30 years, with ships open to the visiting public. A Regatta was held over two days, with rowing races involving gigs, cutters, jollyboats, pinnaces and launches. However an attempt to involve local boatmen and women was unsuccessful. According to a newspaper report this was “possibly from their boats being engaged more profitably in the incessant passenger traffic going on between the shore and the fleet”.