It’s a truth self-evident that the most fun you can have in a rowing boat is during the summer. Whilst a lot of the rowing community in the UK – particularly between the ages of 16 and 30 – fixate on the ‘bigger’ regattas at Dorney, Nottingham and Henley, there is a world of regional and club-based events which remains relatively untapped by the majority. To that end, we thought it was high time we tried to document a few of the exceptional regattas that you can take your boat to this summer.
Castle Semple Regatta
Saturday 21st May 2022
Located about 20 miles outside of Glasgow and nestled in the patchwork Scottish countryside, Castle Semple Regatta certainly provides the best backdrop of any regatta on this list. If you missed out this year, we’d recommend the 2023 edition though – it’s a beautiful area with a lovely stretch of water.
Saturday 4th June 2022
A market town nestled on the south bank of the Tyne – a river which is no stranger to rowing – Hexham is an idyllic setting for a spot of fine-tuning ahead of Henley Women’s and Royal Regatta. Raced over 700m across two lanes with a ‘free start’, this year’s event will have events for juniors, seniors and masters from eights to singles. Like all of these calendar fixtures, attendance is critical for the longevity of the hosting club – the money garnered from entries and slices of homemade cake all count in the coffers.
Saturday 11th – Sunday 12th June 2022
Arguably the best known on this list, Durham has regularly attracted quality crews from up and down the country to pit their wits against each other on the historic River Wear. The majority of the events are raced over the shorter 700m course, except for some of the punchier categories on the Sunday. Prizegiving takes place on the Sunday evening at the Gala Theatre in Durham (pretty cool if you ask us) and there are categories for all age and abilities.
Thames Valley Park Regatta
Sunday 19th June 2022
This does unfortunately clash with Henley Women’s Regatta and is pitched the day after Marlow Regatta, but for juniors not attending the latter two, TVPR provides a great base to take each other on over 500m. Categories range from J13 (coxed quads) up to J18 eights, coxed fours, doubles and singles. Like most of these events, the regatta has not been staged since 2019 so there should be a grear
St Neots Regatta
Saturday 23rd July – Sunday 24th July 2022
A staple of the summer racing season and suitably positioned so as to attract crews with the remnants of fitness but who have turned up to enjoy the sights and sounds of one of the UK’s best regattas. St Neots is picturesque in any case and the regatta site comes alive over the July weekend with stalls, food, drink and entertainment. The racing isn’t half bad either – 500m straight-line sprints on a Sunday are a fond memory.
Peterborough Summer Regatta
Saturday 13th – Sunday 14th August 2022
A firm favourite, in no small part due to the fact it’s post-racing season and on the wind-down for most crews. Peterborough is a peculiar place to row – they have a long stretch of the Nene on their doorstep, but this event is held on their lake over 1000m. There are typically categories for J14 to J18 alongside senior and masters. As with all mid-summer regattas, the onus is often on the off-water activities – food and drink flows pretty well and the racing is almost a sprint, which makes for some pretty exciting finishes.