Sidmouth Gig Club crews tackle the 'Monster the Loch' race in Scotland

PUBLISHED: 12:41 03 October 2019 | UPDATED: 12:41 03 October 2019

Sidmouth Gig Club crew rowing on Lock Ness. Picture SGC

Sidmouth Gig Club crew rowing on Lock Ness. Picture SGC

Archant

Following their exploits on the Clyde, Sidmouth Gig Club's Scottish tour continued last week, writes Nick Thompson.

Sidmouth Gig Club's Keith Owen crew at the start of the Monster The Lock race in Scotland. The crew comprised of Linda Wheate, Kath Morton, Sarah Green, Pete Blackmore, Sarah MacCourt and Paul Richards and cox Jeremy Cloke. Picture SGCSidmouth Gig Club's Keith Owen crew at the start of the Monster The Lock race in Scotland. The crew comprised of Linda Wheate, Kath Morton, Sarah Green, Pete Blackmore, Sarah MacCourt and Paul Richards and cox Jeremy Cloke. Picture SGC

On the Monday they launched Little Picket at Balloch, at the south of Loch Lomond, and rowed up the loch to Inchmurrin.

This is the UK's largest inland island for it is an island on a lake, and fortunately large enough to have its own pub and restaurant!

Better still it was soon established that the bar manager used to work at the Victoria Hotel in Sidmouth!

Tuesday was a free day, some walked up a mountain, others enjoyed Glasgow's cultural highlights and pubs, though not necessarily in that order.

Sidmouth Gig Club crew on Loch Long, Scotland.Picture: SIDMOUTH GIG CLUBSidmouth Gig Club crew on Loch Long, Scotland.Picture: SIDMOUTH GIG CLUB

On Wednesday, it was back to the rowing. We launched both boats at Arrochar, and had a long row on the aptly named Loch Long.

On our return we were greeted by a local resident, Mr Ron Sivyer, who coxed boats at the Henley regatta in the 1930's.

The top of Loch Long is quite remote and there are very few boats of any size, and he was delighted to see two gig boats rowing past his house.

On Thursday, the rowers moved north to Fort Augustus, a small town at the west end of Loch Ness.

Sidmouth’s two boats, Keith Owen and Little Picket at Fort Augustus before the gig club members rowed the length of Loch Ness. Picture SGCSidmouth’s two boats, Keith Owen and Little Picket at Fort Augustus before the gig club members rowed the length of Loch Ness. Picture SGC

Our mission was to take part in the 'Monster the Loch' race, 21 miles along the loch to the outskirts of Inverness.

Many people doubt the existence of the Loch Ness Monster so we took our own.

Its creator was Barry Morton, who has amazed Sidmouth with his previous versions of Poldark's Mine, Mary Poppins' house and most recently a full size Fatberg. Our monster rode on a surfboard and stood around 10 feet high. On a trial run the sight of a rowing boat being chased by a green monster caused consternation to a large party of Japanese tourists.

Twenty-one miles of rowing was never going to be easy, but this week the wind favoured us, and both our boats completed the course in under four hours.

The Sidmouth Gig Club boats at Arrochar, Scotland where the crews met 96-year-old Ron Sivyer (pictured, left) who was a cox at Henley regattas in the 1930’s. Picture SGCThe Sidmouth Gig Club boats at Arrochar, Scotland where the crews met 96-year-old Ron Sivyer (pictured, left) who was a cox at Henley regattas in the 1930’s. Picture SGC

There were the usual apres-rowing celebrations, including another ceilidh, but then it was time to pack up and head south. Most of our rowers flew home, but the boats needed to be towed the 632 miles back to Sidmouth on a busy Sunday, over 13 hours of hard slog down the A9, M90, M6, and M5.

It was all worth it; lots of travel, two hard races, marvellous scenery, friendly locals, and lots of fun.

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

A Sidmouth gig crew in action on Lock Ness with 'Nessie' trailing in their wake. Picture SGCA Sidmouth gig crew in action on Lock Ness with 'Nessie' trailing in their wake. Picture SGC

Sidmouth Gig Club crew rowing on Loch Lomond where they found an island complete with its own pub. Picture SGCSidmouth Gig Club crew rowing on Loch Lomond where they found an island complete with its own pub. Picture SGC

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