Twenty-five pupils made the long trip north to compete at the Inverness Fours and Small Boats Heads.
The event took place in sunny and calm weather conditions on the superb rowing waters of the Caledonian Canal in Inverness, over the 4500m course from Dochgarroch to the Inverness Rowing Club Clubhouse. We entered 27 crews, with many of our pupils competing three and even four times over the weekend.
Following the unprecedented success at Tyne Head in Newcastle, several crews were entered in categories higher than their status with many competing in senior events. Rising to the challenge they put in some outstanding performances, many going on nonetheless to win their races. In total Watson's won nine events outright.
Isla Ferguson (S3) was entered into the girls’ J16 single sculls, and proceeded not only to win the event, but was the fastest female junior sculler of the weekend. In the absence of Ian Walker (S6), fastest junior sculler at Tyne a fortnight before, Jack Dryden (S4) stepped up beating 13 other entrants in boys’ J16 sculls, and also beating all the J18s in the category above to finish as the fastest junior sculler overall.
The senior girls' boat of Heather Dun, Julie Steven (both S6), Robyn Gillies and Emma Rankin (both S5) won the junior women's quads event; the J16 girls’ crew of Isla Ferguson (S3), Molly Kerr, Eleanor Marlow and Ellie Brown (all S4) won the coxed fours event; and the J14 girls' crew of Rosie Kerr (S1), Rachel Malin (S2), Katy McDonald and Emma Crawford (both S3), coxed by Julie McDonald (S1) won the WJ14 Quads event; all uncontested. Eleanor and Ellie competed again on Sunday in the senior women's pairs’ event, winning their category also uncontested.
The coxed four of Dan Gutteridge (S4), Sam Hoskins-Abrahall (S5), Struan Stewart and Alisdair Watson (both S3), coxed by Callum McLeod (S5) rowed in the senior novice quads category, beating two other crews to win their event. The J18 coxed four of James Stevenson (S3), Jack Dryden, Hamish Duncan (both S4) and Ian Walker (S6), coxed by Duncan Armstrong-Martin (S2) however came second to a crew from the Scottish National Rowing Centre from a field of five crews. The J16 double sculls of Hamish Duncan and Jack Dryden and Blair Ketteringham (S3) and James Stevenson, came second and third respectively in a strong field of eight.
As an element of light relief, all of our rowers competing at the event were drawn into three matched mixed senior coxed quads. The crew of Duncan Armstrong-Martin (S2), Katy McDonald, Eleanor Marlow and Ian Walker, coxed by Julie McDonald beat not only the other two Watson’s crews but also a selected crew from Strathclyde Park to win their event.
The Rowing Club is extremely happy to have tasted early victories both sides of the border before knuckling down to some hard winter training over the coming months, in preparation for the Scottish Indoor Rowing Championships in January, and are looking forward to further success on the water in the New Year.