London youngsters have a go at gig rowing

A dozen school pupils from inner-city London have tried their hand at gig rowing, spending a week in Cornwall to have a go at one of the region’s historic sports.

Twelve students and two staff members from Phoenix High School, Shepherd’s Bush, travelled to Cotehele Quay for a week of gig rowing activities, designed to challenge the pupils and introduce them to the sport.

Duchy College worked closely with the London-based school to facilitate the trip, with volunteers and coaches from Cotehele Quay Gig club putting the youngsters through their paces.

“On the Monday evening the Cornish “mizzle” eventually cleared, and we had a dry evening,” said Cotehel Quay Gig Club rower Kelly Elvidge. “On arrival, as expected there were a few nervous faces as the students eyed up the boat for the first time but once on the water Jerry (the gig club captain) soon settled any nerves by standing up and rocking the boat side to side to help demonstrate the stability of the boat.

“The group spent some time testing their rowing skills before returning to swap over rowers, so everyone had the opportunity to experience not only a true Cornish sport but also the beauty of the Cornish countryside from the river.”

The peaceful surroundings were a world away from the hustle and bustle of inner-city London, a fact not lost on the Phoenix High School rowers. “The place is amazing,” said Brittany Thomas. “It’s beautiful. I can’t believe how quiet it is.”

Great enthusiasm was shown by all involved – from the students to the tutors and volunteers. Many of the pupils rowed late into the evening, opting for additional sessions at the end of long days out on the water.

“We are very grateful to Cotehele Quay Gig Club for all their time and effort in providing a wonderful opportunity for this group,” said Duch College staff member Charles Atkinson. “Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the evening and it is definitely something we hope to repeat in the future.”

If you would like to try gig rowing for yourself, use our Club Finder to contact a gig rowing club or email rhiannon.halliday@britishrowing.org.