ROWERS are getting ready as the “best regatta in Britain” prepares to return to the North East.
The Durham Regatta will take place on the River Wear during the weekend of Saturday, June 11 and Sunday, June 12.
The historic rowing gala dates back to 1834 and attracts rowers from far and wide. This year’s event is also expected to have entrants from around the UK and is expected to attract teams from the Czech Republic and the Netherlands.
There are dozens of races, with rowers of all ages taking part. But the Blue Riband event is the final of the Grand Challenge Cup, for the elite men’s coxed fours, which will start at 1pm on the Sunday.
The current holders are from the Durham University Boat Club, who have dominated the event in recent years and regularly compete at the world famous Henley Regatta. But they are expected to face tough competition from boat clubs from Sunderland, Newcastle and Chester-le-Street.
The 178th regatta takes place on the Wear close to Elvet Bridge in the city. Other events over the weekend include a vintage car rally, live music, trade stands, gymnastic displays, stalls and a rowing machine competition.
There will be four entrance points to the Regatta Enclosure: Baths Bridge, St Cuthbert’s Society Boat House, University Pavilion and beside the Boat Club. Entrance for adults is £2.50, children £1.
Anyone wishing to register a team for a race has until 10pm on Friday June 3. Regatta secretary, Dave Oliver, is especially keen for younger entrants to become involved.
He said: “Our committee recognises the importance of juniors at the regatta and we offer racing for boys and girls age 14 to 18.
“About 20 schools from Sunderland, Newcastle, Hexham, Yarm, York and Durham, have pupils racing at our regatta.
“Not only is it good for the sport but good for them as well, both in body and mind.”
However, there are also veterans’ races for men and women aged 40 to 75.
For more information, go to www.durham-regatta.org.uk.