Just a month after the Head of the Trent, City of Sheffield travelled back to Nottingham for an event with a different vibe. The Good Friday Row is an annual Explore Rowing event which takes the participants on a 36.5km journey from Nottingham to Newark along a picturesque stretch of canalised river and five sets of locks. No less than seven clubs took part: Nottingham RC, Nottingham Union, Newark, Lincoln, Devil's Elbow, Leicester and Sheffield in six coxed quads, a coxed four and a recreational double. Sarah, Emma, Shirley, Alison, Trefor and Chris crewed the double and one of the quads, along with Brigitte from Nottingham RC.
This was the longest Explore Rowing event the rec squad had undertaken in a day and though it was downstream it started to feel like an out of body experience by the 30km mark, at which point the rain that had been threatening all day was falling steadily. The GPS strokecoach on the double recorded 3,200 strokes all told. Of course, we didn't make it any easier by indulging in the odd bit of racing. At one point the cox of the Devil's Elbow crew who had been trying to overhaul the double was heard to call "wind down" as we approached a lock. Of course we knew what they were winding down from, as we had been eyeballs out to stay ahead of them for the last kilometre.
Massive thanks are due to Nottingham RC and their recreational leader Richard Pickup, a patient gentleman with a wry sense of humour. They lent us both boats and towed them back to Nottingham and rerigged them for us. In return we provided some of the light relief during the day, including when we put on the fluorescent orange lifejackets Donald had procured for us - required by the Canal & Rivers Trust to negotiate the locks. Newark RC were also terrific. They put on both meat and vegetarian chilli at the end of the trip in their spanking new clubhouse complete with catering kitchen and bar.
All in all it was a grand day out, providing an opportunity for rowing in some beautiful scenery and for expanding our circle of rowing friends.