Historic Book on Coastal Rowing

A member club of Scottish Coastal Rowing is launching something other than a boat!  “Old Clyde Pullers” by Tom Mackay is a book that tells the Story of Inverclyde’s Coastal Rowing Clubs.  Royal West of Scotland Boat Club are officially launching the book at their clubhouse in Greenock on Friday 11th December 2015.  The launch event starts in at 7.30 and you are all cordially invited!

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The book, with a foreword by Inverclyde’s Provost Moran,  covers 170 years of local sporting history featuring Burgh Regattas that were watched by thousands of spectators, Challenge Races for colossal sums of money in the 19th century, a chapter on the Cartsdyke Worthies and the histories of 15 local rowing clubs from Langbank to the Greenock Esplanade. The book also illustrates the differences between the gentlemen amateurs and the paid professionals, who gradually disappeared during the 20th century.

As can be seen from the cover, with big crowds watching the racing at Greenock, coastal rowing used to be a huge event on the Clyde.  Scottish Coastal Rowing clubs are doing a great job of getting their communities out on the water, but we still have plenty of scope to grow the sport back to its previous levels.

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Royal West were one of the founder clubs when the SCRA was formed in 2010, but their own history goes much further back than that.  In 2016 they celebrate their 150th anniversary with various events,  hopefully including a win at the Skiffieworlds.  They are the only surviving club from the fifteen Inverclyde clubs listed in the book…..  it would be a wonderful tribute to their longevity if we could resurrect some of the other local clubs!  Hopefully someone who reads the book will be suitably inspired.

As well as having two St Ayles skiffs, Chippy McNish and  Birdie Bowers, the club continues to maintain and use their historic fleet of boats.  Last year they raced one of  their three (over 100 years old) jolly boats at the Nith Navigation Race (above).  They have touring boats called “heavy fours” as well as two rower “coxed pairs” and “sixteens”, rowed by single rowers and hopefully soon to get their first races for many years  as part of the “picnic class”.  New members are of course always welcome and the club is not just a rowing club!  Using their boat house (below) as a base, they cater for rowing, sailing, canoeing and open water swimming.


The Club are grateful to Tesco for supporting the project by providing space for Tom to sell directly to the public in the Greenock store on Monday 14th December from 11am and in the Port Glasgow Store on Tuesday 15th December from 11am.   All profits from sales of the book will go directly to Royal West of Scotland Amateur Boat Club’s development fund.   Tom will be on hand to sign copies at the launch event.  If you cannot make that the book can be purchased  (£9.99 plus £2.50 P&P if required)  as follows:

·         By emailing to archivist@rwsabc.com

·         By post to RWSABC, Esplanade, Greenock, PA16 7SE

·         In person at the Royal West clubhouse during opening hours

 ISBN 978-0-99343448-0-8


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