Louise writes: In a departure from the usual Sunday event, this year’s Tweed Row took place on Saturday and was happily a glorious day sandwiched between two poor days. Twenty boats took part this year, mainly from the south-east, though Renegade made the long trip from the west with both their boats and were welcomed by everyone.
There were seven of us from QRC, which might have been an awkward number for either (over)filling the boat or swapping at Paxton House but thanks to Portobello, Rachel went up as a passenger in their boat and Duncan and Douglas rowed down river; we are still puzzling as to where they lost two of their crew.
Those who had not done the row before marvelled at the quick succession of the 1624 Berwick Bridge, the Royal Tweed Bridge of 1928 and the impressive Royal Border Bridge opened in 1850 and still carrying the East Coast main railway line.
There followed the tricky stretch of the river where coxes need to navigate the channel and keep away from the extensive shallows on both sides of the river. The new bypass bridge was soon passed and crew could enjoy lovely open countryside interspersed with salmon fishing bothies and ice-houses.
After a two hour row into wind, and against a strong flow on the river, everyone was ready for their picnic with many clubs sharing their sufficiency round anyone who looked hungry. This was a colourful scene with many Northumberland boats in bright seaside paint schemes.
With picnics enjoyed and packed away, many boats continued up river to the Union Chain Bridge, opened in 1820, with a rare view through the trees of Paxton House. Here we came across a flotilla of slide-seat boats about to race down river at speeds only dreamed of by skiff rowers.
Turning at the bridge we benefited from the wind behind us, a flow strengthened by recent rain, a falling tide and 45 minutes later we were back on the beach at Spittal in the mouth of the river.
The weather was perfect, with most crew down to T-shirts for the return row, and fantastic camaraderie that makes our skiff community such a happy group to be involved with. Such was the amazing spread of food and cake at every stage of the day, that despite the calories expended, everyone finished the day feeling more than replete.
Thanks to the Dunbar club for once again organising this lovely social event. I am already looking forward to next year’s Tweed Row and renewing friendships made.