Ramping up for Christmas 2019, and GGBCs upcoming one-year anniversary at our new boathouse … here are some of the highlights from our first year rowing this glorious stretch of the Thames.
For those first few weeks rowing life was a little slow, dogged by the usual January and February weather conditions, rowing wasn’t possible every weekend, but enthusiasm was still high to ensure final touches were in place to make for good rowing for all whenever conditions allowed.
Spring really brought the riverbank to life and our first Learn to Row course got under way in April. Learn to Row is a four-week course run by GGBC British Rowing certified coaches. Over four Saturday morning, and two evenings at the indoor rowing tank in Oxford, our novice rowers got the full GGBC treatment – the first of three successful courses to run from our new site in 2019.
Summer heralded our Open Day on June 5th with the official opening and cutting of the ribbon led by an address from President John Wills. This was followed by rowing taster sessions for any who wanted to take to the water, as well as a tour of the site, and refreshments. GGBC has not lost its love of cake and biscuits, nor willing club members prepared to wield the barbeque tongs!
Of course, in the background to all this, planning for the July 20th biennial Regatta had long been underway. Many a meeting, hundreds of emails and a not insignificant amount of prayers in the days before asking for it to “please stop raining”, this year’s regatta was a magnificent success. The skies cleared by 10.30am and more than 1600 visitors passed through the gates, kids went free and the newly introduced Baby Dragon boat racing and Crafty Raft race were a delight to watch. Late into the evening volunteers and members were still buoyant with the fun of it all.
Autumn was fabulous. In September we could take full advantage of evening rowing well into the end of the month while the light still held. Thursday evening sessions became hugely 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 changing of the season.
It is now December and winter is upon us. So much rain in November has meant rowing conditions have rarely allowed us to venture out and when we do, we need to be safe. With that in mind more than twenty GGBC members recently attended an ITC certified First Aid Course run by Elements First Aid Training. Led by Flora Schnider, frontline Emergency Ambulance Crew and herself a keen outdoor sport 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 its better to be prepared.
And so, as we go into December, our twelfth month of rowing in the Goring Gap, December 1st smiled on us and GGBC donned their Santa hats and took to the water. A few dog walkers and families out for a stroll, themselves taking advantage of the early winter sunshine, gave us a smile and wave as we passed.
Don’t forget, GGBC 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. Visit our website or drop an email to our Captains of Rowing, Richard and Nick .
Happy Christmas and Happy New Year from all at GGBC.