Chris_Lawn    Recreational rowing still requires stamina and aerobic fitness but is less demanding than competitive rowing and is more about the enjoyment of being on the river than entering races. At BRC we are building our recreational rowing squad and have a core group of people who meet up to row together. This group participates in touring events and usually row for pleasure rather than speed!

We are very lucky to have a fleet of stable boats dedicated to recreational rowing (two fours/quads, one double and 2 single sculls), and also a traditional ‘jollyboat’, as a result of a Sport England Sportsmatch and a donation from Frontiers Developments. A team of Broxbourne rowers will row the jollyboat to complete the Great River Race in 2017 ( ). However, our normal outings are in fine boats…eights, quads, fours, doubles and pairs.

We encourage you to come along and join us, if you have a little experience. If not, a short Learn2Row Course will soon get you up to speed.

Find out more about recreational rowing nationally on

A Rowing Tour on the Lancaster Canal 2017

Posted by Ryan Cheale | October 30, 2017

A Rowing Tour on the Lancaster Canal


The touring boats are usually stable coxed quads. These are easier to control in locks and can squeeze through narrower gaps than rowing boats. Pedants may want the tours to be re-named “Sculling Tours”.

Daily routine. You get up very early. You regret staying up so late in the bar the night before (optional). Dozens of hungry rowers eat lots of breakfast before anyone else in the hotel is awake. You go to the loo, look for the things you will need during the day, think about spending the day in an open boat and go to the loo again. Coaches take us to the where the boats were stored overnight. Everybody helps everyone else to carry heavy touring boats to the river. This may involve lifting them over fences, going through holes in hedges and carrying up or down flights of steps. Eventually it is your turn to launch and you start paddling. After about an hour and a half you start looking for cafes, pubs, loos or even hedges that are accessible from the river. There is a planned stop for lunch, which may be sandwiches, then more paddling and looking for accessible amenities. At the overnight boat storage place everyone helps lift boats out of the river and over any obstacles. You might fall asleep on the coach that takes us back to the hotel. Re-hydrate in the bar, shower, change clothes, eat dinner, listen to announcements about the following day and make facetious remarks about the plan. Go to the bar to chat and stay there until late.

The organizers must have endless patience and limitless optimism. A strong sense of humour is very important. Peter Barker was an excellent organizer. He and his helpers had every detail of the tour covered. He was perfectly happy replying to the banter that met his announcements and his sense of humour never failed him.

The limerick competition. Saturday evening is always dress smartly evening and this year there was a limerick competition. It closely resembled I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, with Peter Barker playing the part of Humphrey Lyttleton, making up the rules as he went along. Broxbourne won (hooray!) with a rhyme composed by Jane, Rose and Jane and delivered with suitable majesty by Chris Lawn.


The Tourers are very cheerful and very helpful. If anyone has a birthday – one year it was the coach driver – they like to sing the traditional song at the tops of their voices. They don’t like to paddle past cafes or pubs without stopping.

The Lancaster Canal has no locks, so there was no sitting and waiting. It used to run from Preston to Kendal, following the contours of the Lancashire hills. In fact it curls around some very tiny hills. It is a very scenic canal. Sometimes you go between steep banks with overhanging trees. Sometimes you are level with pastureland and can look past grazing cattle to stone built hill farms. There are places where you can see the land falling away to Morecambe Bay. It runs over

several inconspicuous aqueducts and at Lancaster you paddle across a big spectacular aqueduct over the River Lune. (We all got out of our boats to take photos.)

There are a lot of bridges over the canal. We rowed 38 miles during the tour and went under bridges 18 to 138. So if you do the arithmetic you will find that there are – er – quite a lot of bridges per mile. Most of them are attractive stone arches. The space taken up by the tow-path makes them slightly narrower than the bridge at the end of The Cut. At the command “Make the boat narrow!” you swing the scull handles behind you and if the boat has enough momentum it glides through. At the northern and southern ends of the navigable stretch, the reeds are encroaching into the channel. This gives you opportunities to practice the Make the Boat Narrow drill.

There is a tow-path along the whole length of the canal, so with a bit of effort you can always scramble out of your boat to find amenities.


Strategy. There is no point in being first to the finish during a tour. The coach won’t take you back to the hotel until the last boat has arrived and the last crew to arrive will have the most people available to help them lift and carry. And riverside cafes and pubs should not be deprived of income.

The Natives were nearly always friendly. We got lots of smiles and waves and encouragement. The powerboat drivers, with only two exceptions, were all very considerate.

We met Rosie Sanderson who rowed at Broxbourne before moving to Settle.

The following are my favourite comments from people that I didn’t know.

When I asked the coach driver if it was going to stay dry he demonstrated a Lancastrian’s philosophical attitude to rain and said “Hmm, possibly.” (It didn’t rain.)

A small lady called Beryl, who is probably even older than me, held out her hand to help me bridge the gap between the boat and the bank. I asked her if she was strong enough and she said “Oh I’m strong, don’t you worry about me love!”

A man with a Scottish accent watched us and said “I’m not seeing perfect harmony here!” Was he a rowing expert who could see some (modest cough) minute imperfections in our timing? Or was he just winding us up? We’ll never know.

Thank you Jane for doing all the trailer towing and for recognizing that when I offered to drive I didn’t really want to.

— Chris Moody


Women’s Sports Week events – 7th & 8th October

Posted by Amanda Jones | September 23, 2016

Have you rowed before, even if it was many years ago, do you fancy a row followed by a cup of tea or coffee and a chat, we offer a friendly environment for women of all ages, linking in to women’s sports week we are holding sessions on Friday 7th at 9:00am and Saturday 8th October at 9:30am these are open to anyone that has rowed before and wants to give it ago again.  If you are want to come along please email look forward to seeing you

Splash and Dash

Posted by Amanda Jones | June 9, 2016

Broxbourne Splash n Dash

Great River Races

Posted by Chris Lawn | September 18, 2013

Nothing very recreational about the annual Great River Race for 21.5 miles along the Thames from Millwall to Ham, even if our entry was our ‘Jolly Boat’, Slippery Knix. The pictures show Stuart Morris’ team of 2013 which consisted of himself, Dennis Roberts, Paul Breheny, Ian Thomas and Chris Lawn, ably coxed and whipped up at every bridge by Jenny Bradley. Of the 324 entries, all fixed-seat boats, Broxbourne finished 106th in 2:49.01, which after a handicap for our class of 43 minutes, put us 108th overall, a step-change improvement over previous years.  This was followed in 2014 with a time exactly 5 minutes faster, but with identical placings. In 2015, inclement weather conditions prevented this time being bettered.

At the start in Millwall

Manoeuvring at the start

Manoeuvring at the start



'Eyes in the boat ! That's not the opposition.'

‘Eyes in the boat ! That’s not the opposition.’


'This is a laugh !'

‘This is a laugh !’

Not so funny now.
Cracking on. Not so funny now.
At the finish in Ham

At the finish in Ham

British Rowing Tour : Loch Lomond and the Forth-Clyde Canal

Posted by Chris Lawn | September 15, 2013


The Intrepid Six

The Intrepid Six


Launching at Balloch
Launching at Balloch


Approaching Luss

Approaching Luss


Resting on our Oars

Resting on our Oars


Lunch with the Canal Society

Lunch with the Canal Society





Eighty something rowers, about sixteen boats, two hotels, a coach, rescue boats, a national park, a canal association, the Falkirk Wheel and a piper in full Highland regalia, all brought together by John and Caroline Turnbull. Thus begins Chris Moody’s blow-by-blow account of the Tour. To see the rest, go to: British Rowing Tour 2013

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