We set off early with today’s crew: Alex coxing, Dave on stroke, Hamish on second and Des on third. In the bow is Pete. Emma sits in the bow taking photographs. Alongside is Roy in his trusty rib with an all-female crew ready to take over at the halfway mark. This all-male crew storm down the coast. The tide is against them today but this is no problem for their combined strength and determination.
Suddenly there’s a loud crack and a curse and a cry of ‘OARS!’, followed by another curse. Emma recognises the curse as Hamish’s, and realises that yes, he’s snapped another oar. His third, during his career as one of Maggie’s more eager rowers. Luckily this had been foreseen so after a quick call to Roy over the VHF, he’s there with a spare oar. Hamish gets a hard time from the other rowers and they decide tonight’s first round is one him but he takes it well…
There are no more disasters as we row to the halfway point, just off St Cyrus Beach. This long stretch of golden sand and nature reserve is a hidden gem, and dolphins often come to feed just past the breakers. In the past it was used as a centre for salmon fishing which you can read about here:
Today there are a few people on the sand who wave as the crews change, Maggie welcoming Debbie as cox, Jean as stroke, Janine on third, Emma on second and Chloe in the bow, with June and Julie in the bow ready to change over.
We wave goodbye to the men now in Roy’s rib, ready to follow us down to Montrose.
This stretch of coast is slightly more populated. We pass Steptoe’s salesyard, fields and farms, and soon the stretch of buildings that marks the outskirts of Montrose. The tide has turned and is with us, sending us gliding speedily along past the town. We radio ahead to Goose who is waiting just off the beachfront in Montrose.
After a quick crew change we have Janine as cox, Debbie on stroke, Chloe on third, June and Pat on second and bow. Debbie takes us south to Montrose, slow and steady but strong, as we see Goose waiting for us. Maggie glides up alongside, saying hello to our friends and fellow rowers in their beautiful skiff, launched in September last year. We hand over the baton and bid them farewell, as they start their leg of this extraordinary journey.