World first claimed by Alnmouth skiff

The Alnmouth Community Rowing team atop Kirkstone Pass with Windermere just visible in the background.
The Alnmouth Community Rowing team atop Kirkstone Pass with Windermere just visible in the background.

The world’s first passage of Windermere and Ullswater in a St Ayles skiff was claimed last weekend by crews from Alnmouth Rowing.

Starting from the south of the Cumbrian lake at Newby Bridge, the team rowed northwards for two days to Pooley Bridge at the north of Ullswater before claiming the record and returning to Northumberland.

“It was a truly epic adventure,” said Richard Wilson, one of the crew.

“With hot sunshine and clear skies, the two-hour picnic lunches on the banks were essential to preventing overwhelming exhaustion and heatstroke. Sun factor 50 was the order of the day.

“A dozen members took part and we caused a bit of a stir, as our skiff is built for waves and coastal rowing, and looked pretty sturdy and unusual on a soft inland lake.

“We even had someone stop our convoy in one of the villages to tell us we had a gorgeous boat, but we knew that.”

The entire voyage consisted of about 20 miles of rowing spread over the two days and a trip over Kirkstone Pass by road trailer between the two lakes.

Alnmouth Community Rowing is based at the Old Lifeboat House on the village’s beach and is introducing more and more people across the community to the pastime and sport of coastal rowing.

The Duchess of Northumberland was one of a four-strong team who took the oars for the maiden voyage of the Pride of Aln in March last year.

It was the culmination of 18 months of work by Alnmouth Community Rowing to build the 22-foot-long skiff. She has a £2 coin, given by Gosforth Rowing Club, in her keel, a symbol of good luck for those who use her.

The association is open to local people of all ages, as well as organisations, and the skiff can be used for recreation, sports training, team-building, as well as being entered in regional and national rowing regattas.

For more information, visit www.alnmouthrowing.org