Last Saturday, the 8th February, two crews from Inverness Rowing Club travelled to Aberdeen to take part in the Committee of the Dee's annual head race for 8s, where racing takes place over a 3000m stretch of the tidal River Dee.
First to race were the men's crew of Thomas Prag (cox), Graham Arthur (stroke), Dave Rothwell, John Sharkey, Ken Sinclair, Rob Whiston, Robert Gordon, Ken Andrews and Neil Wallace. Covering the course in 12 minutes and 12 seconds, they claimed victory in the veteran division against an experience crew of Aberdonians. Worthy of note is that Robert Whiston, rowing in the powerhouse 4 seat, has only been rowing for a couple of months, not many oarsman pick up a medal on their first attempt.
In the second division, the women's crew was Hazel Geddes (stroke), Carla Madigan, Alison Robertson, Gemma Beaton, Laura Evans-Smith, Sally Moore, Sally MacAdie and Caroline Keith with Graham Arthur gallantly standing in for his wife as cox. They had 2 stiffer challenges to overcome, firstly, they had to compete in a boat that the men had damaged (the fin and rudder had been smashed into the river bed, holing the boat in the process), and they were competing in the highly competitive R2 class of racing.
Despite this, they had a very enjoyable outing and recorded a time of 13 minutes and 48 seconds, coming 3rd in the R2 section, but recording a similar time gap between themselves and a very similar crew of Aberdonians who had taken on the men earlier.
This head race was the first event held by the Committee of the Dee in a year which celebrates 150 years of rowing on the river. As a mark of this achievement, all medals were presented by the Lord Provost of Aberdeen, councillor George Adam.
Overall a great day for all. The next event for Inverness Rowing Club is the JBT Inverness 8s Head Race, held over a 4500 metre course on the caledonian canal from Dochgarroch to the finish line beside the club boathouse close to Tomnahurich Bridge starts on Saturday the 21st February.