The Great Tyne Row has now run four times, with the most recent on 20 September 2014.
It is a 25 km challenge row with an element of racing (i.e. some prizes for fastest
in various categories), but with an emphasis on fun. Numbers have risen from 11 in
year one to 34 competing this year. And we now have a whole range of sliding seat
and fixed seat boats entering. You can find information on previous years here: 2012
The event is organised by the Northern Rowing Council in association with British
Rowing, Tyne Rowing Club, Gosforth Community Rowing, Tyne United Rowing Club and
Tynemouth Rowing Club. We acknowledge invaluable support from Port of Tyne, Northumbria
Police and many others. Those doing the work are almost all volunteers (but acting
as professionally as we can).
Report on Great Tyne Row 2014
First, well done to everybody who completed the course as a rower or cox and thanks
to all volunteer helpers up and down the river. The results are here (pdf). Please
see the note below about mass delays during the race and how results were decided.
Improvements in how we cope with such a situation next year are already being discussed!
Crews entered from as far afield as Borth in west Wales, Anstruther in Scotland and
Weybridge near London. It was great to see an even wider range of boats than in 2013
on the river, including St Ayles Skiffs, sliding seat coxed quads, fours and doubles,
a Celtic Longboat, a Hanningfield Skiff (look it up) and a Dragon Boat.
“It was fantastic to see so many different boats, from so many different corners
of the country,” said James Andrews regional Participation Development Officer, “every
year it’s getting more varied and every year the participants enjoy this unique event
This year with a larger event the committee were able to afford shields to present
to the overall fastest boats, newly named after local rowing or maritime related
The Grace Darling Shield (for fastest women’s fixed seat boat) sponsored by Jordan
Boats is named after the Northumberland lighthouse keeper’s daughter famed for participating
in the rescue of survivors from the shipwrecked SS Forfarshire in 1838. This year
it was won by St Ayles Rowing Club from Fife.
The Henry Frederick Swan Shield (for fastest fixed seat boat) sponsored by Jordan
Boats is named after a former lifeboat built in 1917 which saved lives on the Tyne
and North Sea until 1947 and is currently being restored by the NE Maritime Trust.
In turn this was named after Henry Swan himself, a farmer’s son who went on to co-found
in 1880 what became Swan Hunter shipbuilders at Wallsend. This year it was won by
North Berwick Rowing Club.
The Catherine Cookson Foundation Shield (for fastest women’s boat) was kindly donated
by Newcastle University. Renowned Tyneside novelist Dame Catherine Cookson set up
a fund to support academic initiatives within the University and the related Foundation
is currently funding a student to look into the history of Tynemouth RC (celebrating
their 150th in 2017). This year it was won by Hexham Rowing Club.
The William Fawcus Shield (for fastest boat) was kindly donated by Allen Lambert,
President of Tynemouth RC, and named after Tynemouth RC rower of that name, who was
the first provincial sculler to win the Diamond Singles at Henley Royal Regatta.
He also won the Wingfield Sculls in the same year, 1871. This year it was won by
Devil’s Elbow Rowing Club.
The Newcastle City Marina Best Decorated Boat prize went to St Ayles RC for the lovely
froggy decorations on the boat whilst the Best Dressed Crew went to Gosforth Community
RC for a their fantastic dress as gondoliers.
The Harry Clasper Award (given at the discretion of the organisers to a deserving
rower or crew) went to Angela Reid of Byker Community RC. This was given to Angela
to show that anyone can take part in rowing, even if you’ve recently completed a
course of chemotherapy and will be having another operation in a month’s time. The
Byker crew also won the “Enjoying the View” award for proving it’s the taking part
not the winning that counts.
As crews arrived onto the beach at Tynemouth Hannabiell and the Midnight Blue welcomed
them with a taste of Afro-Caribbean and Latin percussion and brass, to liven up the
atmosphere as crews disembarked and tucked into the barbeque.
“I’ve never seen so many craft land on the beach, ” said Tynemouth RC Captain Nina
Laurie, “we love to welcome all the crews to our small friendly club each year and
it’s fantastic to see the event growing.”
The organising committee already have sights set on next year with the date of September
6th pencilled in. More information (and a new web site) will be following soon, so
keep your eyes peeled.
Note: Due partly to an expected DFDS ferry but more to two other large ship movements
all about the same time, crews had to be halted and times were not taken; awards
and prizes were thus awarded to crews who crossed the line first in their category
- see results here. This will be a key issue in our wash-up meeting or meetings and
we will plan for such eventualities better next year.
Locations and timings on the day - archive information
The draw showing which category/division boats were entered, start times and boating
locations is downloadable below.
In the morning the event start was run from Tyne Rowing Club, but some clubs were
asked to boat from Tyne United Rowing Club across the river and others (generally
the fixed seat boats) from the slipway at Tyne Riverside Country Park at Newburn.
The start was a very short distance downstream from the boating points. The finish
of the race was a short distance upstream of Tynemouth Rowing Club, where boats landed.
Detailed instructions on boating, navigation and landing from, 2014 can also be downloaded
below. The background documents were primarily for the organising team, but you are
welcome to read them.
Timings planned for 2014 were:
Start host clubs Tyne RC and Tyne United RC open: 10:00
Registration open: 11:00 Registration close: 13:00 Briefings: 13:00, 13:20, 13:40 Boating
start: 14:00 First division off: 14:30 (just on high tide) Last division off: 15:20 Prize-giving:
19:00 (more like 20:00 as it turned out)
After party at finish host club Tynemouth RC following prize-giving.
Download archive from 2014 - all pdfs unless shown