Pennine Rowers Make History

Last weekend a double scull containing two rowers from the fledgling rowing arm of Pennine Canoe and Rowing Club went out in a double scull from a newly erected pontoon on the banks of the River Calder at Mirfield. The outing is reckoned to be the first time in living memory that rowers have navigated this part of the Calder, and marks the start of what club members hope will be the beginnings of the next open rowing club in Yorkshire.

Pennine Canoe club has, for several years, been looking for a stretch of water on which they could conduct Marathon Canoeing activities in West Yorkshire. In partnership with British Rowing, and after a couple of false starts, they finally found such a site at Battyeford. By recruiting a handful of Bradford Amateur Rowing Club members who lived locally but had to travel for to Saltaire for their rowing, a “proto” club was formed and plans for access to the water were hatched. 

In February, the club secured a £12,000 grant from Mirfield council for the erection of a small pontoon, and the first outing became a reality this summer. Although the rowers are currently based in the house of one of their members (and also the Pear Tree Pub, which has become the default clubhouse!), plans are now in place for the expansion of the fleet (currently running at about four boats; all donated by the kindness of other British Rowing clubs) and storage at the river – first in shipping containers and then in a purpose-built shed once finances allow.

The M62 corridor has long been an area with a surplus of demand for rowing and a lack of lengthy stretches of water, and so the development of a new club at Mirfield would represent a fantastic opportunity to develop rowing in West Yorkshire, satisfy local demand and further reduce the geographical gap between Yorkshire and the North West (Hollingworth Lake is 15 miles west).

The club are currently looking for a coxed quad and a couple of virus-type ‘play boats’, with which they could start running Learn to Row courses. If you have any information about available equipment, please contact howard.holmes4@btinternet.com.