Eskmuthe Regatta Sunday May 5th 2024

The 5th May saw calm and mild weather for Esmuthe Rowing Club’s regatta in Musselburgh on the Fisherrow backsands. Seven clubs attended with Alnmouth Community Rowing travelling the longest distance. 

This was North Berwick’s third outing this year after Port Seton and race practice with Eastern in Portobello in April. With 36 club members attending (including juniors) it was a great turnout, enough to field an entry in all 10 categories split between 800m and c.2km distances. 

After a swift cox’s briefing (some puzzled faces among the non-coxes at the instructions for the pursuit and relay races) racing got underway with the Mixed Novice category – nerves were soothed by wonderful coxing from Jacque and, after a little confusion over who had crossed the finish line first, the novice boat took gold beating Eastern by 1.33 seconds! Last minute advice that the calm water in Musselburgh compared to North Berwick’s usual choppy seas meant the crew didn’t have to lift their oars out so far may have led to that one second lead! 

The novices were followed by the 250+ Mix race (combined age of the crew must total 250 years or more) where North Berwick got a silver, just pipped by Alnmouth. Next up was Open Men’s Mix Up race where the cox and stroke are from the boat and the rest of the crew from different clubs. Here North Berwick got first place followed by Alnmouth and Queensferry. The same format followed for the Women’s Open Mix Up where again North Berwick got a gold! 

Spirits were high for the International Race where all crew members had to be born outside the UK (or was it Scotland?). North Berwick put forward Jess (South Africa), Carmen (Spain), Bjorn (New Zealand) and Gerry (Ireland) and were very pleased with taking second place – another silver medal. 

Early afternoon saw the Mixed Under 50, Mixed Over 50 and the Mixed Under 40 (first two over the long 2km distance) where North Berwick was 4th, 3rd and 2nd respectively. One of our juniors participated in the U40 race, their first senior race. Then it was the turn of the juniors, some taking a break from Nat 5 revision ahead of exams this week, NB’s relatively new mixed crew had a great race and our 6th junior rowed with Queensferry.

The final race was the Relay. Here two teams of mixed clubs raced with the men handing over to the women and the men helping to push the boat back into the water. It all went very smoothly (perhaps a little disappointingly for some hoping for whacky races style chaos) and North Berwick comfortably got gold. 

A lovely day put on by Eskmuthe – great catering from the host’s snacks and drinks table, the local burger van and there was fun to be had at the tombola stall, where strangely a wine drink for dogs went unclaimed. 

Thanks to Bjorn for towing Skiff John B there and back. 

By Eleanor Gillespie (no longer a novice rower)

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