Records unrecorded, broken and lost in time

A surprise with MORE Loch Ness rowing history 

Here’s a surprising extra layer of history for rowing records on Loch Ness. We took on the challenge to beat the unofficial time set by two Scots 26 years ago. Former World Lightweight Sculling champion Peter Haining and his partner George Parsonage posted their record in April 1993. So, imagine my delight to hear there is more history. Another rower, Peter Green, was reading about our new record on the Thames Live news site. He got in touch to congratulate us – for ‘breaking HIS record too’! It turns out he set an official record with 7 other members of an 8 back in 1975, but its existence had been lost in time. He’s even sent me the certificate sent by Guinness. It’s great to know that there’s more to Loch Ness rowing history. And a relief to know that we beat that time too!

 The young crew set out back in 1975

…And more about our fabulous Trainera boat

The process of acquiring this boat really goes back a long way. After we set a record for The Great River Race in 1995 in a dragon boat, I wanted to see if I could break it in a rowing boat. Then, about 20 years ago a friend was in the Basque country and came across huge rowing boats used to race across the sea. We were both very keen to try one out ourselves. However, it was only last year that one became available for us to use. It was going to be expensive to bring it across to the UK. To make it more worthwhile we decided we would attempt to beat several records. As I’m from Dumfries, of course we had to take it up to Scotland and Loch Ness seemed like a perfect challenge.

It became clear the Basque boat – a trainera – would be perfect to cut through the potentially stormy waters of the Loch. Our researched unearthed previous attempts at the record, including one which had almost beaten the time until disaster struck when they were a whopping 20 minutes ahead of the record: their boat sunk, beaten by the choppy waters in bad weather. Essentially, our boat which was designed for ocean rowing should be able to beat the record easily, IF the conditions were good.

Having found no results in the Guinness Book of Records for an official time rowed across the Loch Ness we knew that the unofficial record of 2 hours 28 minutes and 9 seconds was the time to beat. Even if we didn’t beat this time, we would still be able to post an ‘officially recognised’ time so people had something to aim for in future – and be recognised for it. Unexpectedly, after we completed our record-setting row, media coverage caught Peter Green’s eye who let us know his crew actually claimed the official record time back in 1975 with a time of 2 hours 35 minutes and 38.2 seconds. At least our boys hard work had paid off and we had beaten both the previous unofficial and official records. Such is the friendly nature of our sport that Peter kindly congratulated us on our achievement, and we have shared our stories of the Loch together.

Records are always there to be broken and with the continuation of the Monster The Loch race I am sure many will be setting their sights on posting new records to beat our own. I wish them luck.

Comments are closed.