Sidmouth Gig Club in Castle to Crane race

After two hours and 51 minutes of hard rowing, Little Picket’s crew take a breather. (Left to right)

After two hours and 51 minutes of hard rowing, Little Picket’s crew take a breather. (Left to right) Nigel Winchester (cox) Linda Wheate, Julie Turner, Charis Buckingham, Barry Morton, Rachel Horwood, and Kath Morton. Picture SIDMOUTH GIG CLUB - Credit: Archant

During the summer season Sidmouth Gig Club takes part in a number of racing regattas along the coast of Dorset and Devon, and the World Championship in the Isles of Scilly, writes Nick Thompson.

After two hours and 51 minutes of hard rowing, Little Picket’s crew take a breather. (Left to right)

After two hours and 51 minutes of hard rowing, Little Picket’s crew take a breather. (Left to right) Nigel Winchester (cox) Linda Wheate, Julie Turner, Charis Buckingham, Barry Morton, Rachel Horwood, and Kath Morton. Picture SIDMOUTH GIG CLUB - Credit: Archant

To mark the end of this year's events the club decided to go much further afield, all the way to Scotland.

The first event was on Saturday, September 21, 13 miles of rowing up the River Clyde, from Dumbarton Castle to Finnieston Crane near the centre of Glasgow.

This event, called the Castle to Crane race, is mainly for Scottish boats, which typically have four rowers and a cox, rather smaller than a 32 foot, six oar, Cornish Pilot Gig.

Seventy-five boats took part in the race, coming from all over Scotland, including the isles of Orkney and Harris. Along with Sidmouth, English boats came from Teignmouth and Hayling Island.

After two hours and 51 minutes of hard rowing, Little Picket’s crew take a breather. (Left to right)

After two hours and 51 minutes of hard rowing, Little Picket’s crew take a breather. (Left to right) Nigel Winchester (cox) Linda Wheate, Julie Turner, Charis Buckingham, Barry Morton, Rachel Horwood, and Kath Morton. Picture SIDMOUTH GIG CLUB - Credit: Archant


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The atmosphere was very friendly, and our beautiful boats were much admired.

Rowing up the Clyde one could normally expect a following breeze off the open sea; not last Saturday when contestants faced a stiff breeze for the whole course, hard enough to make some stretches of water quite choppy.

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This should favour our larger sea-going gig boats, but all the crews found the going hard. Fourteen Sidmouth rowers had made the journey north with our boats Keith Owen and Little Picket.

Boats started the race at 30 second intervals, and our boats were last away. Over the course we gradually overtook other boats. Keith Owen came in 21st overall in a time of 2:49 and was followed by Little Picket, two minutes later, in 26th place.

It's fair to say that both our crews were exhausted by the finish, though the organisers did a great job helping all the boats and crews back on to land, where there was food, drink and live music to raise everyone's spirits.

The winner of each category of boats was awarded a prize, so we will be returning to Sidmouth with a memento of the race.

Having mastered the Clyde, the crews are moving on to an even greater challenge, the Monster the Loch race next Saturday, a mere 21 miles rowing the length of Loch Ness. Look out Nessie, we're coming for you!

Sidmouth Gig Club offers a warm welcome to new members, whatever their ability.

We have around 100 members and are a sociable club with lots of non-rowing activities. There is also a growing youth section which welcomes youngsters from age 13 and over. If you are interested in joining the club or coming along to a taster session, please search online for 'Sidmouth Gig Club' or contact the membership secretary at sidmouthgigclub@gmail.com

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