Rowing on the River Thames

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The River Thames is one of the main rowing areas in England, with activity taking place on the Tideway and on the 45 separate lock reaches on the non-tidal section. The river hosts two major rowing events, The Boat Race and Henley Royal Regatta, and many other regattas and long distance events take place on the river. Dorney Lake in Buckinghamshire was opened specifically as a rowing lake besides the Thames, and has become the venue for a few events that formerly took place on the river. Other lakes adjacent to the Thames are the Redgrave Pinsent Rowing Lake and Royal Albert Dock. Rowing, or sculling, includes skiffing, dinghy racing and cutter racing in which the boats are also propelled by blades.

Rowing in winter on The Isis

Regattas[edit]

Rowing Regattas generally take place during the summer months and usually consist of short side-by-side sprint events, with heats and finals.

Event Special Month Area or Lock Reach Approx Start Point Direction Distance
Barnes and Mortlake Regatta June Tideway 1000 m
Borne at Chiswick Bridge May Tideway 1000 m
Burway Junior Regatta Junior July Chertsey Lock Down 600 m
Chertsey Regatta Skiffing July Shepperton Lock Dumsey Meadow Down 500 m
Chiswick Regatta April or May Tideway 1000 m
Egham Regatta June Bell Weir Lock Bell Weir Up 650 m
Goring and Streatley Regatta July Cleeve Lock Down 500 m
Hammersmith Regatta April Tideway
(Crab Tree/Chiswick Reach)
Fulham football ground (flood tide)/ Lep wharf (ebb tide) 1400 m
Hampton Court and Dittons Regatta Skiffing July Teddington Lock River Mole Down 650 m
Henley Royal Regatta July Hambleden Lock Temple Island Up 2112 m
Henley Town and Visitors Regatta July or August Hambleden Lock Temple Island Up 1000 m
Henley Veterans Regatta Veterans July Hambleden Lock Temple Island Up 1000 m
Henley Women's Regatta Ladies June Hambleden Lock Temple Island Up 1500 m
Kingston Regatta July Teddington Lock Raven's Ait Down 1000 m
Maidenhead Regatta August Bray Lock Maidenhead Railway Bridge Up 500 m
Maidenhead Junior Regatta Junior May Bray Lock Maidenhead Railway Bridge Up 500 m
Marlow Regatta June Dorney Lake Still 2000 m
Marlow Spring Regatta May Marlow Lock Down 950 m
Marlow Town Regatta June Marlow Lock Down 900 m
Metropolitan Regatta May/ June Dorney Lake Still 2000 m
Molesey Regatta July Molesey Lock Platts Eyot Down 850 m
Molesey Junior Regatta Junior July Molesey Lock Platts Eyot Down 500 m
Oxford City Royal Regatta August Iffley Lock Down 1000 m
Oxford City Sprint Regatta August Iffley Lock Down 500 m
Putney Town Regatta May Tideway
Fulham Reach
1200 m
Reading Amateur Regatta June Caversham Lock St Mary's Island Down 1500 m
Reading Town Regatta June Thames Valley Park Up 800 m
Richmond Regatta June Tideway
(Horse Reach)
Downstream end of Eel Pie Island Down 1250 m
Skiff Championships Regatta Skiffing August Hambleden Lock Henley on Thames Down 750 m
Sonning Regatta General May Sonning Lock
Staines Regatta July Penton Hook Lock Down 500 m
Sunbury Amateur Regatta General August Molesey Lock Sunbury Court Island Up 650 m
Thames Ditton Regatta May Teddington Lock River Mole Up 1050 m
Thames Valley Park Regatta June Sonning Lock Up 500 m
Twickenham Regatta May Tideway
(Horse Reach)
Downstream end of Eel Pie Island 1250 m
Wallingford Regatta May Dorney Lake Still 2000 m
Walton and Weybridge Regatta June Sunbury Lock Walton Bridge Down 1000 m
Walton Reach Regatta Skiffing August Sunbury Lock Walton on Thames Down 600 m
Wargrave and Shiplake Regatta General August Marsh Lock Shiplake Railway Bridge Down 400 m
Weybridge Ladies Regatta Ladies June Sunbury Lock Up 900 m
Wraysbury and Old Windsor Regatta Skiffing July Bell Weir Lock Hythe End Down 500 m

"General" refers to a mix of skiffing, cutters, dinghies and other rowed craft.

Head of River and Long Distance Events[edit]

Rowing Head of the River and Long Distance events generally take place in the winter months and are usually processional races with competitors being set off at time intervals and judged on the basis of comparative timing or by bumping (catching up the boat in front). Many of the long distance events on the Tideway are raced over The Championship Course and apart from the Boat Race and Wingfield Sculls may begin from Mortlake or Putney depending on river conditions.

Event Special Month Area or Lock Reach Approx Start Point Direction Distance
Abingdon Head April Culham Lock Up 2000 m
Burway Head February Chertsey Lock M3 Bridge Up 3000 m
Burway Small Boats Head December Chertsey Lock M3 Bridge Up 3000 m
Eights Week University of Oxford May Iffley Lock Up
Greenwich Head February Tideway Wapping Pier Up 3 miles
Hammersmith Head March Tideway
Hammersmith Women's Head Ladies Tideway
Hampton Fours and Eights Head Junior January Molesey Lock Down 3000M
Head of the River Fours November Tideway Championship Course Either 6800M
Head of the River Race March Tideway Championship Course Either 6800 m
Henley Fours and Eights Head February Hambleden Lock Up 3000 m
Henley Junior Head Junior February Hambleden Lock Up 3000 m
Henley Sculls Head November Hambleden Lock Up 3000 m
Isis Sculls September Iffley Lock Up 1800 m
Kingston Head March Teddington Lock River Mole Down 5200 m
Kingston Small Boats Head November Teddington Lock Dittons Skiff and Punting Club Down 5000 m
Marlow LD Sculls November Cookham Lock Cookham Bridge Up 2400/4800 m
Molesey Veteran Head Veteran February Molesey Lock Down 3000 m
Oxford City Bumping Races April Iffley Lock
Pangbourne Junior Sculls Junior November Whitchurch Lock Child Beale Park Down 3000 m
Pairs Head of River October Tideway Championship Course Either 6800 m
Reading Small Boats Head October Caversham Lock 1000m downstream of Roebuck Hotel Down 3300 m
Reading University Head of the River February/March Caversham Lock The Roebuck Hotel, Tilehurst Down 4500 m
Schools' Head of the River Race Junior March Tideway Championship Course Either 6800 m
Teddington Small Boats Head November Teddington Lock Dittons Skiff and Punting Club Down 5000 m
Thames Valley Trial Head January Dorney Lake
Torpids University of Oxford March Iffley Lock Up
Tideway Scullers Head April Tideway
Tiffin Small Boats Head October Teddington Lock Down 5300 m
Upper Thames Small Boats Head October Hambleden Lock Up 3500 m
Vesta Veterans International Eights Head of the River Race Veteran March Tideway Championship Course Either 6800 m
Vesta Scullers Head of River Race November/ December Tideway Championship Course Either 6800 m
Veteran Fours Head Veteran November Tideway Championship Course Either 6800 m
Wallingford LD Sculls October Cleeve Lock Moulsford Railway Bridge Up 4000 m
Walton Small Boats Head December Sunbury Lock Down 3000 m
Weybridge Silver Sculls October Sunbury Lock Up 3300 m
Weybridge Winter Head January Sunbury Lock Up 3000 m
Wingfield Sculls October Tideway Putney Up 6800 m
Women's Head Ladies March Tideway Championship Course Either 6500 m

Other events[edit]

Clubs[edit]

Rowing on the river is generally organised through clubs based on the Thames, which include the following.

Major clubs[edit]

Universities[edit]

Schools[edit]

References[edit]

  • British Rowing Almanack (2006)

External links[edit]