Seven junior scullers from Inverness Rowing club tested themselves against the best in Britain over the weekend. The British Junior Rowing Championships are normally held in Nottingham, but every fourth year they're staged in Scotland at Strathclyde Country Park.
Heather Gordon, a J14 sculler from Inverness Royal Academy, was the top performer – taking 3rd place in the Time-trial, qualifying for the A Final and finishing 5th in Britain (8:54.37), the highest ranked Scottish sculler in her event. Heather won her first sculling race only two and a half months ago at Strathclyde Park Regatta, followed by more gold medals at Castle Semple and Scottish Champs in June. She is a talent worth watching.
Joseph Wright (Charleston Academy) and Angus Thomson (IRA) took 11th place in their J15 2X Time-trial over 1500m, qualifying for the AB Semi-final and then the B Final. Wright and Thomson led their final from the start all the way to the last 250m but were passed in the final stages by the composite Castle Semple /Nithsdale double – their crew mates in the J15 quad. Their result 7:31.10 places them 8th in Britain out of 26 crews.
Hannah Campbell (Nairn Academy) and Catherine Ellis (Forres Academy) contested the Women's Junior Double Sculls – the top division in junior rowing – and unfortunately they caught a “monster boat-stopper crab” midway in their Time-trial putting them in last place. However, due to quite a number of scratchings, they were given a place in the C Final where they completely redeemed themselves. Starting in last place after a poor start, they raced through the field to take 3rd place in a PB of 8:33.30 which places them 15th in Britain.
Bethany Irvine (Millburn Academy) contested the Women's Junior Single Sculls event which attracted 53 entries! She achieved an impressive 24th place in the Time-trial and finished 5th in Final D (9:17.55) which means she's ranked 23rd in Britain.
Last but not least, Rosie Young (Fortrose Academy) gave a very brave performance in a composite J15 Double Scull with Abby Lawson of Strathclyde Park RC. Rosie returned from a school trip to Malawi only a week before the Champs and achieved 24th place in their Time-trial and 5th place in the D Final (9:22.18) for a 23rd in Britain ranking.
This was a first taste of top level racing for all these Inverness junior rowers and definitely not their last. Water conditions were challenging on Saturday but remarkably calm on Sunday, producing some fast times.
Report written by Susanne Standish-White, 20/07/15.