Loch Ness record stands despite sterling effort from Tyrian Boat Club
Saturday 15th September saw the first mass-participation boat race take place on the iconic Loch Ness. Conditions couldn’t have been better at the start line at Fort Augustus though became tougher towards the finish at The Dores Inn. Both the Tyrian 4x and the Monmouth 8+ rowing fine shells were well ahead of the record with 2k to go before they both had to come to the shore to bail their boats. Tyrian eventually managed to get back on the water and record a time of 2 hours 48minutes and 24 seconds, sadly not breaking the current record of 2 hours 27 minutes held by Guy Parsonage and Peter Haining.
Crews rowing on Loch Ness in the Monster the Loch event 2018
The commendable Monmouth Boys’ 8+, who had been raising money and racing in memory of their former crew-mate Tom Walker, sadly could not get back on the water and had to retire! For one of the crew’s father this was bittersweet as he was part of the crew that set the record back in 1975!
The Monmouth School crew raised over £2,700 in memory of former Monmouth pupil and cox, Tom who died suddenly in June. You can still donate to their Just Giving page here.
A variety of competitors with a wide range of ages, including a “Viking” in a sea-going rowing skiff and open water canoes made for a real spectacle on the Loch. For race organiser Pete Wells (rower, Olympian and founder of RowTours), this was precisely why he had wanted to put on the event: mass participation, all-inclusive and all-abilities, to allow people to enjoy their sport in the iconic setting. As Hazel Smith of Inverness Rowing Club explained, the event is more than just a race: “it brought us together as a crew in a way that training or a race just doesn’t. It was a challenge, it was great!”
All crews had a great time, arriving at the finish elated, triumphant, though exhausted! For the Monmouth Boys, they were unlucky this time but are already planning on returning next year: “I think the loch monstered us! But we had a lot of fun doing it!!”
Final thoughts from Jimmy Riddle “The water was tough, I’m really sore but looking forward to next year! Mercy me!!”
Look out for Row Tours next challenge at rowtours.com