Did you see us Nessie? A record after our monster Loch Ness row

Yesterday was an awesome, exhausting, record-breaking day!

Loch Ness, the home to the legendary monster, has now given us our own legendary tale to tell. Following yesterday’s challenge, we officially hold the title for the fastest time rowing the length of Loch Ness. It’ll be submitted to the Guinness Book of Records who will then approve it. The existing record set 26 years ago, was beaten in a new time of 2 Hours 26 minutes and 57.04 seconds. Having beaten the old time by 1 minute and 12 seconds, I think it is fair to say that at points it was touch and go. I am thrilled to have led, as proven, such a hardy team of rowers to this success.

Just off the shoreline at Dores on the north east end of Loch Ness, it was Ready, set, go! And we were off! We were nervous and excited to think that after so much preparation in a little over 2 hours  time we could hold a new record. Any apprehension was replaced with adrenalin as I talked with the guys to rev everyone up.

We knew that the weather on Loch Ness can be fast changing and unpredictable – but you don’t really appreciate a places’ temperament until you’ve experienced it. Having worried about the chance of stormy weather preventing a row at all, we were greeted with quite the opposite. Whilst the weather was fairly kind to us the crew faced a new challenge: we had blistering sunshine beating down.

Five miles in and we had a good rhythm going. Up until then there had been very few boats disturbing the water, so it was pretty calm. Several power boats sped across in front of us making the water increasingly choppy. The boat is heavy and once it starts to rock it really gains momentum making it increasingly hard to control and drive forwards. Despite overcoming the rougher waters and regaining our rhythm, we just weren’t getting the times we had hoped for at waymarkers along the loch. We were about an hour from finishing when I began to question if it was possible. I thought: perhaps we should stop and try again the next day? As concerns started to creep into my mind that we could be defeated, our wishes were answered. The tailwind we hoped for finally blew.  By then, we were well into the second half of our row. I could really feel the crew’s adrenalin. They were finding any energy that they had left to push through for the last 45 minutes. At this point we were rarely dropping below 14 KM an hour. Awesome!

The last half an hour was a real push. I could see the clock ticking past the two-hour mark. The crew were fighting their pain with adrenalin, overcoming the muscle spasms and cramps. We knew that the result was going to be very close and it really did come down to the last few minutes. As we met the finish line, we were relieved but sat uncertain we had done it. One of the guys on the support boat said we had, but we had to get the confirmation from the verifiers on land that we had beaten the record. When the news was broken that we had in fact broken the record all of us were ecstatic. I am truly delighted to have broken this record which has stood for such a long time. The Thames skiffers were terrific. They used their power and stamina to achieve this and it was definitely no light effort! You never remember the easy wins, it’s the hard ones that count and this one is definitely right up there.

Our love for rowing has only grown from this experience. This was very, very tough and it is a relief to finish, but rowing challenges like this bring our love for the sport alive. Now for the next challenge – Bring on the Channel!

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