In returning to one of the best racing locations in Scotland, DUBC set on their way to Inverness late on Friday evening for another exciting weekend for the combined Inverness 8’s Head & the Scottish Student Head! With 36 rower beans competing across the two days it constituted an impressive achievement with the club fielding more boats than ever before. After a well needed rest on the Friday night (again thanks to the kindness of Hannah, Holly and Alistair’s families) it was time for day 1 of racing on the Caledonian Canal.
For the first division our trusty 8+ Yogi was rigged up for our men’s R2/Intermediate 8+ racing in the student category against our friends over at Strathclyde Uni BC. Despite a strong start off the finish the boys struggled to hold off the other boat and faced a difficult course amongst their wash as they overtook round the first bend. Despite a minor collision into the bank towards the finish, they remained calm and finished strong, in a time of 16:34.
Chasing the boys were the women’s squad across the W R2/Intermediate 2x and the W Novice 1x. Eleanor and Hannah in the double pushed hard up against a stacked category to come off the water confident of their performance but unexpecting of a top result. Much to their surprise they came on top – just 3 seconds up on St. Andrew BC! Closing up the division was Fiona Lapp in the W Nov 1x. Having won the race when last on the canal, Fiona was determined to keep it however lost out on first place to Clydesdale ARC by 19 seconds.
In the second Saturday division, the senior women’s 8+ were first to take to the water ahead of their race in the W R2/Intermediate category. Then, making up the last of the men’s races of the day was Alex Phillips in his single, racing time only within the novice category. The girls had an incredible race together, despite limited opportunity to practice, they settled into the rhythm together, burned through crews from Edinburgh Uni BC and University Rowing Aberdeen, and finished strong! It was bitter sweet as they learned later that they missed out on retaining their title in the category from last year, by just 6 seconds – however they remained in high spirits off the back of an enjoyable race together. Alex made up the end of the division, coming off the water satisfied with his performance and eager to progress for next time.
After another night of big feed and bigger sleeps at Chez Bonsall, Campbell and Barnard’s, it was back to work on the canal for the second day of the Inverness weekend. With 8 boats racing across the 2 divisions there was little time for standing about and all hands were made busy. Following a quick last-minute boat change as a result of some forgotten riggers, crews were prepped, boats boated and ready for the division to get underway.
First down the course was the fresher women’s squad in the W Novice 8+. Off the start the crew experienced a rigger malfunction however recovered in good time and pushed on together towards the finish, completing the course in 21.06 minutes. Next for the women’s squad was the W R2/Intermediate 4+, hot off their win at SUBC Head, the girls were gunning to keep their top spot. Not only did they win in the R2 and student category, they were the fastest women’s 4+ of the division with a time of 18:04 – beating out University Rowing Aberdeen in both the R1 and Open categories.
For the men’s squad both fresher and seniors were represented in the Novice 4+, with the fresher boys also competing for the Beginner 4+ title. The senior boat made up of Aaron, Marcus, Lachlan and Karim chased the competition down the course and pulled off a commendable time of 18:12. For the fresher boys chasing them, having put in a good effort in their last head race as their 4, pulled off a strong finish despite a crab on the last corner, ultimately coming away with a time of 21.08.
For the second and last division of the weekend, the Novice 4x+ were first to come through the start line. The crew of Henry, Matthew, Alistair and Steffan were eager to improve on the boats last performance in Inverness, this time made up with a different combination of crew. Having come on top of friendly rivals at Strathclyde Uni BC in November they hoped to do the same, however the SUBC boat, stroked by member Rosie Morgan’s brother, proved they had the beans to push off and ultimately take first place. Chasing the boys was the remainder of the women’s squad, with the W Novice 4+ also keen to take another win for the year. Fiona C, Rosie M, Eleanor P and Dani left it all on the water, finishing in a time of 20:18, half a minute behind the winners University Rowing Aberdeen.
Closing up the weekend, and just in time as the rain started to heavily fall, was the two doubles in the W Novice 2x of Katie and Fiona L, taking second place behind a swift ASRA crew, and then Rosie B and Rosie H, ultimately finishing 4th in the category. Thanks to the sudden stormy weather our rowers were pushed to derig and pack up faster than normal meaning a quick escape from the canal back home to Dundee. A big thanks to Inverness RC for hosting us again, Scottish Student Sport for the medals and the families in Nairn for putting our club up once again!