ABCs 150th Row Past Review | 18 Sept

Aberdeen Boat Club’s 150th Row Past took place on Saturday 18th July on the River Dee to commemorate 150 years of rowing at ABC.  The day saw upwards of 150 people out on the water in some shape or form with possibly a similar number spectating along the banks on Riverside Drive or from vicinity of the boathouse in Torry.

Despite a week of terrible weather, with the river being borderline unrowable 24 hours before because of the amount of rain, the day itself turned into a sunny and warm, if a little windy, break and added to the sense of occasion.  Somehow rowing in torrential rain would not have felt the same.

The club were extremely grateful to GDF Suez E&P UK, part of the Engie Group, who sponsored the day and are long term supporters of the club and rowing in Aberdeen.  Their money allowed for advertising materials, programmes, flags and banners to be printed which along with the efforts of club members hanging out bunting, manning teastalls and organising fun events on the riverbank, meant the place looked pretty special and made for a feeling of a river festival of our own.The day started with dragon boat racing for Engie employees who were taken through the necessary safety procedures, taught how to paddle the boats and then allowed to battle it out in a series of inter-department races that from the riverbank looked extremely enjoyable.

There followed the official welcome from the Club, Keith Murphy, the Operations & Engineering Manager with GdF and George Adam, the Lord Provost of Aberdeen which was the cue to start boat-loading and getting all the boats onto the water.  Getting so many boats and people coordinated and on the river took a lot of planning and pre-organisation and with the help of some very patient boat marshals and launch drivers went very smoothly.


The boats rowed up to muster just below the George VI bridge and then at 4pm on the signal rowed down in formation from there, past the boathouse to just above the Victoria Bridge. Ian Smith, the Honorary Club President, was present on the bank overseeing the procession

In total, there were 30 boats on the river varying from 8s through to single sculls filled with rowers aged from 19 up to some approaching 70.  Present and past members, all keen to take part in such a momentous milestone for the club had agreed to take part with a good number of past Presidents and Captains and those who have represented ABC at the highest level at both a National and International level represented on the water.  Even Aberdeen’s local radio station Original 106 FM took part braving the water in a fun boat coxed by one of the members.

It was also a privilege to welcome the oldest known living member of the Boat Club, Mr Stephen, who is now 92, to join in the spectacle. Once the boats were off the water the members took part in that other essential element to the day – socialising over a drink or two in the bar and catching up with old friends.

The Club would like to thank everyone that took part or that helped out before, during and after the event.  The support of members old and new made it al possible.  Particular thanks go to Engie and the Lord Provost for attending.  It is hoped that everyone enjoyed the day and maybe it doesn’t have to be another 25 years before the ABC flotilla is seen out on the River Dee at the same time again.