Saturday, 30 May 2020

Goring Gap Boat Club

Goring Gap Boat Club

JANUARY 5 marked one year since Goring Gap Boat Club moved into its new home at Lower Basildon — and what a year getting to know this glorious stretch of the Thames.

For those first few weeks of 2019 rowing life was a little slow, dogged by the wintry weather conditions.

Rowing wasn’t possible every weekend but enthusiasm was still high to ensure the final touches were in place to make for good rowing for all when conditions allowed.

Spring really brought the riverbank to life and our first Learn to Row course got under way in April.

The is a four-week course run by the club’s British Rowing certified coaches.

Over four Saturday mornings and two evenings at the indoor rowing tank in Oxford, our novice rowers got the full treatment. Two more courses ran during the year. For more information about Learn to Row, visit our website.

Summer heralded our open day on June 5 with the official opening and cutting of the ribbon led by our president John Wills, who gave an address.

This was followed by rowing taster sessions for anyone who wanted to take to the water, tours of the site and refreshments (the club has not lost its love of cake and biscuits, nor willing club members prepared to wield the barbecue tongs!)

In the background to all this, planning for the July 20 biennial regatta had long been underway.

With many a meeting, hundreds of emails and a not insignificant number of prayers asking for it to “please stop raining”, this year’s regatta was a magnificent success.

The skies cleared by 10.30am and more than 1,600 visitors passed through the gates (children went free). The newly introduced baby dragon boat racing and crafty raft race for youngsters were a delight to watch.

Volunteers and members were still buoyant with the fun of it all by the evening.

September meant we could take full advantage of evening rowing while the light still held. Thursday evening sessions became social events with members heading down to the boathouse straight from work and staying on for amazing picnic spreads laid on by session managers.

We really did eke out every minute of light to take advantage before the change of season.

So much rain in November meant rowing conditions rarely allowed us to venture out and when we did, we needed to be safe.

With that in mind, more than 20 members attended an ITC-certified first aid course run by Elements First Aid Training and led by Flora Schnider, who is frontline emergency ambulance crew and an outdoor sports enthusiast.

Flora gave key insight into first aid scenarios specific to rowing and the challenges that that may bring. We hope we never need it but, as in any walk of life, it’s better to be prepared.

December 1 smiled on us as members donned their Santa hats and took to the water.

A few dog walkers and families out for a stroll, themselves taking advantage of the winter sunshine, gave us a smile and wave as we passed.

Goring Gap Boat Club is first and foremost a recreational community club. Whether you are new to rowing or an old hand that wants to get back into it, come and see us in 2020.

For more information, email our captains of rowing, Richard and Nick, at
captainofrowing@goring or visit

Happy New Year to all.

Jessica Fowler

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