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Breaston Gala May 2024

A very fine day dawned on Monday 6th of May. Unusual for a bank holiday? A group of our stalwarts were up at the break of day to trailer one of our better-looking explore boats, along with a pair of our rowing machines, a gazebo and an assortment of out-door furniture along to Breaston to attend their village gala. There were a number of reasons for this, the main one being to give the local public the chance to take a good look at us.

We are always on the lookout for new members here at Devil’s Elbow and a sunny day on the village green seemed a great opportunity to let people know we’re here. From what I’ve heard, a lot of people seemed to like us and said they’d like to come for a trial row with us to see what it’s like, so that’s great news. People often think of rowing as something of an elite sport and don’t imagine it’s something that lies within their reach. As it so happens, the citizens of Long Eaton and its  surrounding area have our very friendly and active club right on their doorstep at Trent Lock. We row throughout the year, come rain or shine, our Men’s and Ladies’ squads compete at regattas and head races across the country (our ladies will even be competing in Berlin later on this summer) and we have a thriving recreational rowing scene for those who aren’t in a position to compete.

Rowing with Devil’s Elbow gives us a great way to keep strong and fit and get out into the fresh air. We get to know what our stretch of river looks like from the water and we’re all enjoying learning and  developing our skill as we go. Improvement is something that has no end to it and there are always challenges for us to overcome and improve on. I love it.

The Ladies 8 training that morning.

Could Have Been A Lot Worse February 2024

The predicted rise in level at Shardlow over Friday night (450mm) turned out to be only 170mm in reality so access to the club was still good for us to gather and make everything secure. The boat trailer was returned and unloaded by the railway bridge so our two 8s are all nicely back together, riggers on and back on their racks in the boathouse, ready for the next outing when the waters recede.

A massive thank you to all our members who polled up to help out on Saturday morning. The flood peaked at mid-day on Sunday with water just reaching our tied up boats, water flowing beneath the clubhouse and through the railway bridge where our cars had been parked the previous day so it was well worth doing.

One other thing that happened on Saturday morning was the arrival of a training/rescue launch, very kindly loaned to us by Derby Rowing Club to help tide us over following the loss of our own training launch during January’s extreme floods. Derby have also offered space for our boats on their trailer for the Vesta Veterans Head of River Race on the Thames in London later on in March. Our captains are currently mulling over the possibilities that this might afford. A massive thank you to Derby Rowing Club for all their support and assistance. We may be in competition on the water but it shows clearly that we’re all on the same side off it.

Deja Vu February 2024

This was the view across the cut to our boathouse earlier this afternoon. Looks lovely doesn’t it? However, there has been a call to arms for tomorrow morning to tie everything down again and make sure it doesn’t float away over the weekend. Our Men’s and Ladies’ 8s are tied on the trailer and parked at Trent Lock ready to head off to Doncaster for the South Yorkshire Head of River race which was sadly cancelled this morning because of rising levels on the River Don. At least those two boats won’t be floating away anywhere over the weekend with all that trailer tied to them.

Between late this afternoon (when these photos were taken) and tomorrow morning, the level is expected to rise. Quite by how much is not certain but we are gradually building up our picture as to how closely the river level at Trent Lock follows the monitored river levels upstream at Shardlow. This has been a particularly bad year for ‘needing to know’ this sort of stuff. The level could potentially be 450mm higher in the morning than it is shown here so if we’re lucky, when we all arrive to tie everything down in the morning it will all still be there. The thing that’s bugging me right now is that my new wellies are in that boatshed and I don’t much fancy my chances of being able to get to them with dry feet. There’s a part of me (quite a big part) that wishes we’d tied everything down this afternoon. Anyway, we’ll see in the morning won’t we.

Our Little Runaways January 2024

We endured last October’s floods with a reasonable degree of flair and potentially unwarranted good luck. The beginning of January saw the worst flooding seen around these parts for many a year and sadly gave rise to significant trouble and heartache for many living close to these waterways. One of our members spent several days sharing her  kitchen with unwanted river water but she and her family managed to survive all that somehow. The flooding wrought significant damage to a number of our boats which were stored outside next to our boathouse but the main story here concerns our training launch and ferry boat which freed themselves of their moorings and went swanning off down the river together one sunny (??) Thursday afternoon. I will continue this story with one or two photographs to give the general idea and fill in with more detail in due course.

Map of the travels of our support boats.

I have no idea who took this photograph of the power station in the moonlight. It was taken on the 25th of November and appeared on one of our squad WhatsApp group chats. I don’t think it was any of us but whoever it was, very nicely done. Thank you. This is the sort of view that our members get when they’re walking around to the club from Trent Lock of a week-day evening at this time of year.

But to jump back to ‘The Boys in the Boat’ (rather clumsily); when you’ve read the book and you’ve seen the film, the obvious next step would be to buy the tee-shirt and come and join us out there on the river. We don’t have any Olympic medals yet but we have won a fair few less famous ones between us and many of our members have tankards adorning their mantlepieces as reward for their efforts. Come and try it out at least. It’s a great sport.