Newsletter - January 2018

Hello HRC members

Welcome to the first edition of Hexham Rowing Club’s monthly newsletter. At the moment, we’re without a title, so if you have any ideas, pass them on.

Hopefully the newsletter will help keep you in touch with everything happening in the club, both on and off the water, and it will be posted on the club website as well as being e-mailed out to every member.

Video Coaching

Men’s Captain Steve Ludman announced at January’s committee meeting that the old “performance squad” terminology was to end and the club’s older rowers would become part of an overall male and female Masters grouping, leading to more interactivity between the sections.

There was a great example of this on Saturday (20 Jan) when rowers of every level of experience turned out in force for a special coaching session, in which crews were videoed as they passed the “canoe-cam” in the middle of the river. This was followed by analysis of their technique back in the warmth of the clubhouse, where members could see just where they are going wrong, and what they were doing well!

Feedback on the session was extremely positive and there are likely to be more in the future.

Meanwhile Steve, Ladies’ Captain Catherine Bowman and Kevin Oates are working on a generic training plan which will apply to every member. Using the plan, rowers will be able to pick out what sort of session they should be doing on each visit to the boathouse. The aim is to target training needs and ensure that people get the most out of every session

The training plan should be available in the next six weeks or so and it will be displayed in a prominent position in the boathouse.

Safety First

Also soon to be appearing in the boathouse is a new safety notice board, which will feature the circulation pattern and a new safety matrix compiled by Safety Officer Jenny Ludman. The matrix will show when it is OK for crews to venture out on the water and what safety measures should be put in place when they do.

The matrix takes into account rowers’ experience, water levels and other weather factors, and members are asked to study it carefully before each session. The matrix is just part of a new overall Safety Policy which Jenny is putting together and which should be available soon.

One immediate safety measure which will be put into effect will be the replacement of the finish line marker on the north bank of the river. It survived Storm Desmond but mysteriously disappeared a couple of weeks ago, never to be seen again. A lot of rowers used the board rather than the steps to gauge their distance from the weir, so it is a priority to get another one soon.

There will also be a new marker placed a little further upstream, warning crews where to turn early when conditions dictate.

Repairs and Damage

There’s to be a new system for reporting boat problems and damage, which will hopefully establish a clear audit trail and speed up repairs.

Kevin Oates has taken on the role of Club Steward (boatman) and wants members to report defects and damage directly to him via his email The email should contain a description of the defect/damage and how and when it was caused. This will replace the fairly haphazard system of reporting via the whiteboard in the boathouse.


Congratulations to the juniors who represented the club so well at the recent Northumberland Schools Games Indoor Rowing Championships, particularly Hayley Hannant, who competed in the Year Nine group and was selected to represent the county in the regional finals at Durham University.

Crews are now training hard for the JIRR regional trials on 10 February, getting a lot of input from senior rowers at Saturday morning training sessions. This is working well, but the Juniors still need an experienced figure to guide and help them when they go to heads and regattas. Please contact Nicci Slipman if you think you can help, or know someone who could.

Learn to Row

Similarly, a lot of you will have seen Ben’s email asking for an experienced rower or rowers to help with the six week Learn to Row course, for which we have a waiting list. Susan Rainford has taken on the L2R administration, so we need a volunteer(s) to run the actual course itself, ranging from land-based learning to tank sessions at TURC and then taking the trainees out on the river. Contact Susan or any committee member if you can help, even if it is just to sit the boat during river sessions with the trainees.

Hogs on the Tyne

Now you might have heard some of the more mature male rowers being referred to as “old gits” when they attend Saturday morning training. However, it’s not a case of people being super rude about these older gentlemen... it’s actually what they call themselves.

Hexham Old Gits Squad, or HOGS for short, are the men rowers currently training in two quad crews to compete in Masters E,F and G classes at TURC and Durham Heads and on into the regatta season. They are planning their own T-shirt in club colours, proudly featuring a rowing hog called Howard, and might even let other club members buy them!

The first outing for the HOGS crews is at TURC on Saturday, so be sure to cheer them on... very loudly.

What’s in a Name?

Finally, if you have any ideas for a name for this newsletter, or anything you want to be featured in it, contact club communications officer Graham Marples at

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