No social rowing today, Saturday 28th

Just a quick reminder that as both boats are away – and North Queensferry’s boats as well! – there will be no social rowing session this morning.

Ferry Maid and Ferry Lass are taking part in the annual Tweed Row and the “Monster the Loch” event on Loch Ness. We wish all the crews taking part good weather and good fun.

At least one boat will be available tomorrow for social rowing at 1pm as normal.

Castle to Crane report

Marianne reports: Two QRC crews took part in this year’s Castle to Crane race. In the W50+ we had Barbara, Donna M, Lesley and Tracey, with me coxing my first race. In the Men’s Open we had Alan D, Gabe and Douglas, with Alan S and Alexander sharing coxing.

All ten rowers arrived at the start in Dumbarton in beautiful warm September sunshine, with a slight breeze. Conditions were perfect.

The Lass’s crew ahead of the race. Photo by Barbara Agnew
The Maid is launched. Photo by Mike McDowall

The W50+ were fifth in the start draw, so slipped into water to a full crowd. After some ‘top tips’ from the bank about which is the sharp end and which is the blunt end (hard to row when you’re trying to get your oars on the right side!), and we settled in for the short row to the start.

Ferry Lass at the start of their race. Photo by Daren Borzynski

A hooter indicated we’d crossed the start and after short row down the Leven and a sharp turn to port at the Leven Perch, we were into the Clyde and really off! We could see out first landmark in the distance, or at least I could (did you know rowing is the only sport you do going backwards?), and as we passed along the Lang Dyke, the Erskine Bridge did not seem to be getting much closer. That gentle breeze had developed into a strong headwind. Despite rowing on a flood tide, this was going to be considerably harder than anticipated.

After the bridge, the sight of four graceful swans flying overhead spurred us on towards our next landmark, the Titan crane. Cue calls of ‘are we there yet?’! No, ‘fraid not! This part of the race, although pleasant, is relatively feature free, and with my promises of relief from the headwind would be just round the next corner, coming to nothing, it felt like a bit of a slog.

Broughty Ferry entered a newly restored 1940s skiff, left, while Topher Dawson of Ullapool devised a novel system for his oars, right. Photo by Daren Borzynski

The next section saw us start to enter a more urban landscape that must’ve once echoed to the sounds of world class shipbuilding industry. The lack of boat movements on this world famous shipbuilding river, when compared to our own, felt rather strange and at times we were rowing alone, with no other skiffs around. The slog continued, with Lesley uttering the immortal words ‘I’m bored with this’! Time to start diverting the crew with ‘power 10s’. Then started a series, a long series, of upping the stroke, one power 10 for each of the crew, one power 10 for Ferry Maid, one for each of the men’s crew, one power 10 for Ferry Lass… ‘Are you ready? Let’s go! On my mark…’.  Despite, the headwind, which continued to batter us, Barbara, Donna, Lesley and Tracey responded to each call and got the boat moving.

The Maid’s crew tackling the headwind. Photo by Barbara Agnew

The final section feels like the longest row ever, although a lone seal popped up to wish us on our way. Suddenly round the longest curve ever, the tall ship at the Riverside Museum came into view. But no Finnieston Crane, still hidden from view by yet another curve. The sight of the tall ship again spurred our crew on, and in the knowledge we only had three or so kilometres to go, the boat was moving well again. Now with the finish line in sight, and more importantly the Finnieston Crane, a safely boat frantically waved us to port. Suddenly we were greeted by what must be a traditional Govan welcome, a hail of stones from the bankside! Maybe they were disgruntled slidey seat rowers, but Barbara gave them a good telling-off! Well done to the safety boat who put themselves in real danger to protect us and another skiff – we heard over the radio that their boat was littered with stones.

Two small bridges to go under and suddenly there was the hooter – Castle to Crane completed. Time to break out the jelly babies! As we drifted down river to the slip, we were delighted to see Ferry Lass and the men’s crew, who had started much later in the draw, steaming along in great form towards the finish!

Still smiling after almost four hours of non-stop rowing! Photo by Barbara Agnew

Well done to Barbara, Donna, Lesley, Tracey, Alexander, Alan S, Alan D, Gabe and Douglas for rowing in tougher than expected conditions. The sunny weather made it look benign, though it was anything but! The W50+ came sixth in the Women’s 50+ category, while the Men came fourth in the Men’s Open, pipped to third by only 1 minute 19 seconds, and 14th overall. Many thanks to Mike and Marion, and Alastair and Eleanor, for giving up your time to tow the boats.

GalGael’s flagship Orcuan, a traditional birlinn galley, finishes in style

If we decide to enter next year’s race, should you consider doing Castle to Crane? It’s a tough race with challenge as much mental as physical. I saw that in the faces of my crew while I merely had to sit there, occasionally wiggling the tiller, and trying to come up with motivational chat. However, balance the pain, the blisters and the chafing with the elation and sense of achievement, then YES is the answer! Go for it!


Full results
Photos from QRC members
Photos by Daren Borzynski
SCRA report

Tides for the week of 23-29 September

Dónal writes: First off, congratulations to the Castle to Crane crews for a magnificent effort on Saturday. Fourth for the Men’s Open is a tremendous result. Click here to view the full results. and click here for more QRC photos. And for even more photos, taken by professional Daren Borzynski, click here. Finally, click here for the SCRA’s report on the race.

Ferry Lass’s crew came fourth in their category, the Men’s Open, and 14th overall.
Ferry Maid’s Women’s 50+ crew all smiles after rowing non-stop for almost four hours. They came sixth in their category.

Sadly this week will be our last week of official evening social rowing sessions, as it is getting dark too early. As they say, “the nights are fair drawing in”. Luckily we should be okay on Tuesday and on Thursday at a push to enjoy the last of the autumn light. Sessions start at 6pm.

There will be no social rowing on Saturday.  Both boats will be away, one on the Tweed Row and the other to Monster the Loch,  where two crews will row the length of Loch Ness. It is possible there will be only one boat available for the 1pm session on Sunday, as the other may not be back from Loch Ness.

Monday 23rd September
0950—4.7 m H. 1650 — 2.4 m L. 2219 – 4.7 m H

Tuesday 24th September
1104 — 4.8 m H 1753 — 2.2 m L 2334 — 4.8 m H.

Wednesday 25th September
0623 — 1.6 m L 1222 — 5.1 m H. 1847 — 1.8 m L

Thursday 26th September
0720 — 1.2 m L 1326 — 5.5 m H. 1939 — 1.4 m L – Last evening social rowing session of the year.

Friday 27th September
0819 — 0.7 m L. 1420 — 5.8 m H. 2032 — 1.1 m L

Saturday 28th September
0913 — 0.4 m L. 1510 — 6.1 m H. 2122 — 0.8 m L – NO SOCIAL ROWING

Sunday 29th September
1000 — 0.1 m L. 1558 — 6.3 m H. 2207 — 0.6 m L

Breakwater Blitz on Saturday

Rachel writes: We have no boats on Saturday, as both will be away to the Castle to Crane event. So there will be no social rowing, but do come and  Take Five for the Forth, as part of International Coastal Cleanup Day.

You can help in many ways, even you don’t want to clamber on the rocks removing plastics etc.  There are plenty of nurdles (see below) to be removed, just by the grassy bank, plus collecting bags and so on.  If planning to join us, can you bring two or three strong black bags?
We are hoping for bacon rolls from 10am to start us off. The weather is looking very favourable.

For those wondering, nurdles are tiny plastic pellets that have accumulated in a corner of the marina in their thousands. Read about them here.

QRC volunteers collecting nurdles earlier this year

Tides for the week of 16-22 September

Dónal writes: Tides are good this week for social rowing on all days. Note that there will be no social rowing session on Saturday, as both boats are taking part in the Castle to Crane race. They will be loaded on to their road trailers after Thursday evening’s session, ready to be towed to Dumbarton. Any help with that task would be much appreciated!

Monday 16th September
1008—0.8 m L. 1711 — 5.5 m H. 2224 – 1.0 m L

Tuesday 17th September
1038 — 0.9 m L 1746 — 5.5 m H 2252 — 1.1 m L.

Wednesday 18th September
1101 — 1.0 m L 1823 — 5.4 m H. 2313 — 1.3 m L

Thursday 19th September
1125 — 1.2 m L 1902 — 5.2 m H. 2338 — 1.4 m L

Friday 20th September
0719 — 5.2 m H. 1156 — 1.4 m L. 1942 — 5.1 m H NB: Boats not available.

Saturday 21st September
0802 — 5.0 m H. 1236 — 1.7 m L. 2227 — 4.9 m H NB: No social rowing – Castle to Crane.

Sunday 22nd September
0851 — 4.8 m H. 1328 — 2.1 m L. 2117 — 4.7 m H

High winds forced the cancellation of the Alan Meldrum Community Rowing Challenge on Saturday. However, one crew popped in to the shed for a chat:

Photo by Rachel Holburn

No decision has been made yet on whether to reschedule this year’s challenge or to skip a year. There was a great response this year – five keen crews have been busy learning to row.