Mumbles Rowing Club ‘spring’ into action - by Danielle Milliner

It’s spring at last and Mumbles Rowing Club began their rowing season last weekend with ‘The 3 Ships Challenge’ which was organised and hosted by Aberporth Rowing Club.  Instead of racing it was an 8 mile social row to ease us back into it gently after a long winter’s indoor training, as well as meeting up with old friends and making new ones.  Taking part we had one team from Mumbles as well as teams from Lower Thames Rowing Club, Barry, Towy, Pembrokeshire, St Dogmaels, Aberporth, Llangrannog and Aberaeron.

The 3 Ships were not of the marine variety though, but were pubs!  The plan was to set off from Aberpoth beach and row to Llangrannog, run up the beach and solve a riddle in The Ship Inn.  Then row to Tresaith and play a game in The Ship Inn.  But alas, the sea was too rough at both locations to beach-land our boats so instead we missed out on having a pint or two and had to solve our riddles at sea.   Then finally we rowed back to Aberporth and visited The Ship Inn for the last task which was to write a poem about our experiences at sea, followed by celebratory beer and BBQ, whilst watching the Oxford/Cambridge Thames Boat Race.

We all had a fantastic weekend thanks go to Aberporth Rowing Club for a brilliant social row on Saturday from Aberporth to Llangrannog and back …and a superb cheeky row in the sunshine on Sunday morning to cure the hangover.

Fishguard 2017

It was on a slightly cool and grey morning that we turned up in dribs and drabs at the harbour side to register (all paper work in just in time!) and it may have been the laid back and fun attitude we all had that day that contributed to exceedingly respectable placings in our races. That or the outstanding rhubarb pie, some of us had TWO slices,  we won't say who. 

The womens' crew had a nail biting sprint in the last 50 metres across the finish line so we screamed all the more from the harbour side. They may not have placed in the top 5 but they kept with the pack and did us proud.  

Our two mighty mixed boats, placed 9th and 15th out of 21 (quite the spectacle), both coming in strong and not looking knackered at all! The weather had perked up by this point and the sun could've put them off (combined with slightly choppy waters and strong winds) but no, we're made of stronger stuff than that. And stronger stuff was required, very shortly afterwards, at the bar.

A stirling performance was put in by all, including our screaming fans and it really was a grand day out.

Return of the pack (Cleddau 2016)

Sun and calm waters greeted us at Neyland this year on the rerouted course of the 'Return of the Cleddau'.  This year the trail took us from Neyland up river to a turning point at Llangwm and then back to Neyland.  Mumbles this year entered one Men's crew of Steve C, Nigel G, Andy F, Chris R and Christian H and a Women's crew of Rachel H, Ellie W, Jane from Aberaeron, Meg A and Danielle M.  A smoothly executed mass start signalled the beginning of the hard first leg up stream, where we bumped into old friends - Chris Terry on the single yole- the return leg proved faster and very quickly we were sprinting to the finish line at Neyland. The Men placed 4th in Cariad-Y-Mor with a time of 1:51:53 and the Women in 'This way up' 17th with a time of 2:15:55 .  Many thanks to Chris R and Andy F for towing and ferrying in their vans. 

Photos - Adrian Owens


Tonight myself and Martin took a yole out, navigation lights on, it was one of those magical nights in the bay, the space in between two weather fronts when everything is clear and there is no movement.  The high tide meant plenty of still water and so we skirted the bay stopping for a while by a very classy Christmas tree lit up on the green at the bottom of Mayals hill.  We watched for a while the stream of rush hour traffic heading towards Mumbles the same traffic that tomorrow morning at eight will be heading the other way towards town.  It was one of those nights where we felt lucky to be the only traffic on the sea and appreciated why we really turn out to row, not through obligation or duty, but for reasons more soulful than that; for these still nights when the sea is kind and where we can observe life from a different view point.

I'm looking forward to Summer. I think it'll happen on a Wednesday.

How's it looking out there?  

How's it looking out there?  

I'll wager most people couldn't see Mumbles when they set off for rowing today until they were practically on top of it. Fog? Mist? Low cloud? All three possibly.  

No sooner had someone uttered the words ' I think it's clearing up', did the heavens open on our way to the boats. 

But this is no sport for the faint-hearted, no, no! Two boat-loads ventured forth to the SWIGG and swept around the bay, one Celtic sweeping a considerably larger arch then the other, clearly feeling they hadn't suffered enough. 

Despite intermittent downpours (300% less noticeable when you're putting your back into it) it was the grins and rosy cheeks that said it all as we put the boats away.  

I for one got to test out my new waterproof, and jolly good it was too.  

photo credit: N Hudson

photo credit: N Hudson

New Rowers enjoy good seas at Mumbles!

Photograph by N.Hudson

Celtic 1:  We had joy, we had fun...!  Lots of tricks this morning and moving positions in the boat meant quite a dynamic session was had in the first longboat. A 50 minute session is quite long for those new to rowing but was no problem for Andy, Alyson and Maria..thanks to Mandy and Annick for their enthusiasm and grunt and Steve C for catching us on landing even though I missed the slip by 6 foot!!  CH

Celtic 2: 

I'm sat in my kitchen with a hot cuppa and a biscuit thinking I should probably shower off the brine, but I think I'll bask in the memory of the lovely morning we just had for another ten minutes. In our boat today we completed a few laps around our end of the bay and pretty much fought the wind the whole time, but the timing was great and it was really good to get some time in the boat, keep it simple and have fun. Anyway, I'm really chuffed with how my crew did today, we had a right giggle. You've got the enthusiasm and practice will do the rest!

Impromtu Man Over Board at Langland!

Following the lead of the women's team we enjoyed a little dip at Langland this Thursday evening, there wasn't too much beach left due to the high tide and so only one thing for it, use the yole as a diving platform and practice our man over board in the shallows; we also gained valuable experience in working out how to get back into the yole!  First practice also for Tom Brain steering the yole through the lighthouse rocks.

Head of the pack at Dinas

Big congratulations to all crews that made it to row at this years Dinas Head.  A good turnout for yoles gave us a result in the double with Chris Terry and Dirk Newman coming first in their category; congratulations also to Cormack who came first in the single yole.  The ladies again display their ever growing strength in the Celtic with a second place in their category, well done! A strong middle of the field row for the mens scratch crew in the Celtic also deserves congratulations!!

Caswell turns into surf boat spectacular


— Steve C & Hil Will.

What was meant to be a balmy days row round to Caswell turned into a right old rowing adventure that literally knocked Mandy off her seat!  After a mistimed landing led to the first boat being filled with water, we vowed to be more careful with the timing on exiting the beach.  The boats were set up for a surf boat launch and we held them waist height in the water and waited for the lull.  The first boat set off and the still water instantly transformed into big wave water, Nat in bow took two waves in the back and then a monster wave built in front of the coxs eyes, it built and built and the first boat just made it over the lip, the crew looked straight over to the second boat and to the sight of impact; Hilary 15ft up in the air at bow, Mandy off her seatin two, then Steve C off his seat at stern as the Boat crashed down over the wave, a mighty crash.  The next quarter of an hour was spent bailing out just beyond the surf.  Eventually the boats cut a channel between the rough waves on the mixen sands and the lighthouse rocks back to the safety of the bay.  The spark of adventure has been ignited!

Four scullers in the bay

Thursdays evening session produced a rare sight indeed in that, due to uneven numbers, four rowers decided to take to the water in two singles and the Euro diff double.  Water conditions though not perfect gave good experience to the rowers in how to handle the boats in slightly rougher conditions.  Obviously safety was considered and each boat carried a VHF radio.  Steve.C trialled the new style life jacket on the night with good results.  The dedicated Long Distance Ladies were also out circumnavigating the Swigg and Outer Fairway Buoys.