Durham rowing regatta gets underway

President of Durham Regatta, Doug Stewart and Secretary of Durham Regatta, David Oliver launch the 179th Durham Regatta with the help of Rowers from St Johns College Boatclub.

President of Durham Regatta, Doug Stewart and Secretary of Durham Regatta, David Oliver launch the 179th Durham Regatta with the help of Rowers from St Johns College Boatclub.

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OARS are at the ready for an annual rowing regatta.

This weekend’s Durham event will be the 179th and will feature two days of races and entertainment.

Thousands are expected to line the banks of the Wear.

The festival follows in the wake of the Halford Series bike ride, held in Durham last month and paves the way for the arrival of the Olympic torch on Saturday, June 16.

Rowing races will take place from 8.30am just upstream of the bandstand at Pelaw Woods, with competitors setting off every two minutes until about 6.30pm on each day.

All races will be between two crews racing side by side.

An addition to this year’s event, which pre-dates Henley, there will be a parade leaving Palace Green at 12.30pm on Saturday and will feature top rowers from clubs including Durham and Newcastle.

The rowers will form a guard of honour for a “racing eight” boat using their oars, which will be carried down to the river to mark the start of the Founders’ Challenge Race.

Doug Stewart, president of Durham Regatta, said: “The regatta has always been a great event for everyone who loves the city.

“It’s a fantastic sporting weekend with the North’s best rowing. It’s a brilliant spectacle for visitors and a stunning location.”

Organisers are encouraging people to pack a picnic and head to the riverbanks for a weekend of family fun.

Activities on offer include food and drink stalls, the Row for Gold challenge, a brass band and a classic car rally.

Entry to the Racecourse for each day costs £3 for adults and £1.50 for concessions, with under-fives free.

More information is available on www.durham-regatta.org.uk.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham