Rowers raise £2,000 after rising to cross-lough challenge

Whitehead Coastal Rowers taking part in Saturday's challenge.

Crews from County Antrim Yacht club undertook a gruelling rowing challenge at the weekend to raise funds for new boats - and charity.

Around 20 members of the coastal rowing section made the 10k trip from their home base of Whitehead to Bangor and back in crafts that are on loan to the club.

Oar power put to the test in the fundraiser by Whitehead Coastal Rowers.

The longest distance challenge which the club has previously taken part in was just under 5K.

A brave team rowed from Whitehead to north Down on Saturday and two further crews awaiting in Bangor marina completed the homeward leg.

The Whitehead Coastal Rowers have successfully participated in a number of regattas in their first year and have set up a youth development section in the local area.

Karen Hutchinson, from CAYC, stated: “Back in November 2017, five men from the club had the idea of re-introducing coastal rowing to the waters off Whitehead. The aim was to involve more people in water sports, improve fitness, make friendships and improve general well being through an age-old tradition.

Calm conditions on the lough.

“The initiative has boomed having started with 10 faithful regulars to attracting 100-plus participants. Fifty-five regular rowers now participate in regular weekly rowing sessions in Whitehead and the local County Antrim Yacht Club has boosted its membership.

“Coastal rowing has attracted males and females alike and the age range extends from 12yrs to 70-plus.

“Whitehead Coastal Rowers have to date had social rowing tours to the Gobbins and Port Muck and competed in both local and All-Ireland regattas to expand experience and skill level.”

The rowers have a target of around £10,000 - with £2,000 raised so far - and welcome business contacts and individual sponsorship.

Whitehead Coastal Rowers include Natasha Magowan, Lenny Entwistle, Chris Livingstone, Karen Hutchinson and Paul Darragh.

Karen added: “The new inaugural group has been kindly offered two older stock boats form a local club further along the Antrim coast to get ourselves established. With demand for this outdoor activity we now need our own boating stock and associated trailer and equipment.”

The club extends an invitation to its open, friendly Fridays for anyone to try coastal rowing, 6.30pm - 8.30pm.

At Glenarm regatta are: Graham Cloke, David McCrea, Lenny Entwistle, Marion Graham, Graham Goldsworthy, Chris Livingstone, Natasha Magowan, Karen Hutchinson and Paul Darragh.

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