Serious Request row in the Netherlands

At dawn on the 9th of December 30 rowers from Ireland and Scotland joined 70 local rowers at the picturesque town of Woudrichem in the Netherlands. The purpose was a charity row of 45 miles in five skiffs, around an area called Altena.


The spare crews boarded a well equipped party boat, and were able to watch others rowing in the snow, hail, rain and sun while enjoying central heating, coffee and tea, pea soup, and later on a bar. The first part of the row was into the wind down the main river leading out of the Rhine, with enormous barges whizzing past and leaving big wakes.


Then we turned into a lock and entered a marshy area with lots of channels called the Beisbosch. Two RIBs changed crews every hour and the scenery went past quite quickly. By the end we were in darkness, but the final crews had one more job, to row with flaming torches to the historical harbour where the barges were lit up and music was playing while people warmed up with hot chocolate and spiced wine.


Back to the clubhouse via the winter market, we enjoyed a drink and a barbecue with the Woudrichem club, and then tottered off to the beds hospitably supplied by our kind hosts. Most of the UK contingent were due to fly out on Sunday but snow closed both Eindhoven and Amsterdam airports so many stayed overnight at airport hotels. Because so many travellers were snowbound, the last of the Scots reached home on Wednesday!

WSV Woudrichem are fantastic at organising a party it has to be said, and the row raised 3500 Euros for a very worthy Red Cross fund. Despite our long travels we salute their hospitality and hope to see them over in Scotland soon.


Topher Dawson.

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