Cumbrians are learning to row on Windermere for the first time as a new British Rowing-affiliated course begins.
Lakeland Rowing Club has recently set up a South Lakes base to complement its northern base on Derwent Water.
James Andrews, from British Rowing said: “The work done over the past year has been really terrific from Lakeland Rowing Club. The beautiful water in the Lake District has always shown much promise for rowing but has never until now taken off. With the dedicated effort that Lakeland RC’s volunteers have been putting in to fund new equipment and up-skill volunteers with coaching qualifications, they will now be able to open up rowing to a larger audience on the lakes.”
The Learn to Row courses aim to introduce people to the sport in a fun way in crews of four in stable boats, with learn to rowers of all ages.
The club has raised £20,000 for two stable Swift quads, which are now being put to good use as 32 people begin learning to row over the next five weeks.
Lakeland Rowing Club Coach Fiona Marley Paterson said: “It’s really exciting to see all the hard work in setting up our Windermere base and raising the funds for these boats culminate in people rowing on the lake. You may have seen wooden rowing boats on Windermere, but I hope people will spot us in our sliding seat boats now too and maybe even give us a wave. We’re a friendly bunch and we’re always happy to welcome new rowers.
“The Lakeland Rowing Club is now well-established on Derwentwater. We are looking forward to expanding our activities to Windermere, and introducing the growing sport of rowing to people in South Lakeland and Furness.”
The club also has two stable Virus singles, donated by friends at Chester-le-Street Rowing Club, who recently brought over 50 members and 20 boats to row on Derwent Water.
The modest ‘fleet’ of four boats will be rowed down from the club’s temporary base at Low Wood Marina to a more permanent home at National Trust property Fell Foot Park on Sunday May 10, in time for their first Windermere Races the following week.
Roger Heise, Chairman of Lakeland Rowing Club said: “We’re really grateful to the Low Wood Marina, which came to the club’s aid and provided us with a place to start rowing on Windermere.”
Novices from the Learn to Row courses will train and compete with more experienced rowers for a fun day of racing, cakes and a BBQ on Sunday May 17. Members of the public are invited to come and watch the races, join in the cheering and of course share the BBQ.
Gareth Field, Outdoor and Sports Programme Manager for the National Trust said: “It’s exciting to bring the sport of rowing back to Fell Foot. It’s such a great way to get onto Windermere and we’re thrilled to have Lakeland Rowing Club as part of the crew. The National Trust wants to create more opportunities for local people to enjoy getting active at Fell Foot or across the Lakes, whether it’s rowing, running, swimming or sailing, and, whether beginner or pro, there’s a sport for everyone.”
Lakeland Rowing Club is the only rowing club in the Lake District and only the second in Cumbria and was established in 2007.
The club has further plans to grow, with more Learn to Row courses starting soon. Anyone interested in joining should contact firstname.lastname@example.org for the North Lakes or email@example.com for the South Lakes.