A NEWLY-graduated squad of Explore Rowing recreational rowers from Stratford Boat Club had their first taste of long distance rowing on the Thames at the weekend.
Ruth Winter, crew captain and expedition organiser, said: “It was decided we would organise a relatively ‘gentle’ row to encourage the newer rowers of our club who had decided that competitive rowing wasn’t for them to do a long distance challenge.
“We set off from the public slipway in Lechlade in our two Explore Rowing quads which are ideal for touring as they are very stable. The group comprised of a mixture of experienced and novice rowers and we split the distance over two days.
“The first day took us 16 miles along the Thames from Lechlade to Newbridge. The going was easy as we had the wind pushing us along. The day of torrential downpours that had been forecasted didn’t materialise and we only got wet once.
“Tthe wind soon dried us out but also caused a few steering issues when negotiating some of the dog leg bends! We managed the self-operated locks well even though it wasn’t always easy for the coxes to get in and out of the boats.”
She added: “The second day the crews rowed a shorter distance from Newbridge to Wolvercote but by then the crews had got into the swing of things and they found progress easier.
“The mini-adventure ended at an inn at Wolvercote where they all enjoyed a well deserved Sunday lunch. Everyone enjoyed the trip and most of the newer rowers are contemplating more challenging trips.
“Rowing is a very sociable sport and brings out the best in people. We got considerable help and encouragement from all along the river such as the friendly lock keepers, the owners of a pub in Newbridge who allowed us to pull our boats up overnight and the school in Wolvercote who let us to use their slipway which was much appreciated.
“The next few months are going to be devoted to training ready for the ultra-demanding Eddystone Challenge at the end of June which is a 28-mile row from Plymouth, around the Eddystone Light and back!
“We are also taking several crews to the Great River Race on the Thames in September which is 22 miles up the Thames, but first we have our own Rybrook Stratford Boat Club Regatta on Saturday, June 21.”