Every summer, the Wormit Boat Club host their annual Open Day - which, when we were younger, always marks the start of summer! So this year I headed back to my hometown with one of my oldest friends, Sophie, for a reminiscent afternoon!
Summer it did not feel like. We arrived and unfortunately it was raining heavily and was a bit chilly. But you know what? That's just the Scottish weather. Hell we were going out in boats all day, rain is nothing! We initially started with a cup of tea, warm ourselves up, before deciding what to head for first.
I have to admit, I never really considered rowing as a particularly exciting sport. We saw the stall and thought Meh, maybe later. But the Rib Roy speed boat had yet to arrive, so we figured we'd give it a bash before the crowds arrived a bit later. The end result? A new hobby!
We headed out in a boat with a few of the regular rowers, myself and Sophie being the only newbies. Turns out rowing is not as physically difficult as I would have thought, but instead is actually more difficult in skill level than I assumed. Sophie and I often 'fished for crabs' - basically leaving our oars in the water when we should have brought them out, pulling the oar back across our bodies. Cue hilarity for being stuck with your legs in the air.
Once in a rhythm however, it is amazing how much speed these skiffs can pick up. We had a few shots at racing-style paddling, as well as some technical turn-on-the-spot moves. Just like kayaking, rowing is a great way to see sights you wouldn't normally see, and the water was incredibly peaceful, particularly with the lack of boats due to the fog/har. It's both a sport for fitness and for team work. We enquired about heading along to the beginners meetings too!
The next stop was the Rib Roy! A much quicker outing, but at a far higher speed, it's definitely the favourite for most! We zipped out, racing around the pillars of the Tay Rail Bridge, water spraying through our hair. We attempted a few photos, but we're too busy screaming and enjoying ourselves (and making sure we didn't fall in) to manage to get any decent ones!
The final major stop (before hitting up the BBQ, cake stalls, raffle and more tea, obviously) was the RNLI Lifeboat. The RNLI team come over every year from across the water in Broughty Ferry, giving the opportunity to look around the lifeboat and ask a little more about the life of an RNLI volunteer. I for one was fascinated and would love an opportunity to volunteer myself. I even went as far as enquiring about the nearest one to myself, but unfortunately I'm a bit too far away. I'll revisit it again whenever I move! If you think it's something you would be interested in yourself (always on call, winter and midnight emergencies, tough situations both physically and mentally, but being an indispensable resource for anyone in trouble), check out their website here.
If you're near the area and interested in giving it a try, Catalina Rowing run beginners sessions on Saturday mornings from the Wormit Boat Club, dependent on weather and boat availability. Check out their website here and here for updates and more information. And make sure you head along to their next open day too!