The Regatta has been a feature of Durham life since 1834, very much in keeping with the indomitable spirit of the people of the North East and the cultural richness of our fair City.
The regatta, for the unaware, is a rowing regatta along the River Wear that traditionally starts at Pelaw Wood and ends at Prebends Bridge.
Presently, teams race over both a 750-metre ‘short course’ as well as the traditional longer course, a mile-and-a-quarter in length, it regularly attracts more than 2,000 oarsmen and women, including international entries, and, depending on the weather, in excess of 10,000 spectators, including rowing fans, students and their families, and day-trippers. The blue riband event is the Grand Challenge Cup, a feature of the regatta for more than 160 years, which is raced over the ‘long course’, including negotiating the narrow arches of Elvet Bridge, no mean feat.
Recent innovations to the racing programme include time-trials for high-performance crews, with the results used to allocate crews to a series of knock-out events. These new ‘Championship’ events have been highly successful in producing high quality, close racing that is exciting to watch.
Many crews will assemble for the racing from schools, the University, rowing clubs across the country and from the nearby Universities and interested parties here in the North East.
He Durham Regatta is known as the Henley of the North, perhaps the Henley Regatta should be renamed the Durham of the South?
The Durham Regatta is the second oldest rowing regatta in the Country, only the Chester regatta being older. Our event has long attracted entrants from many overseas entrants, and long may it do so, in the process placing Durham firmly on the sporting and heritage map which in turn will attract business into the County and the City, by placing Durham firmly on the World map. Visitors to the City for these events also have the opportunity to see for themselves the excellent University in our midst providing would be students with a fine preview.
The Durham Regatta is a wonderful weekend of fun. Hopefully Durham will be blessed with good weather to enhance the occasion and make for a lovely day out for residents and students at the University, plus all who wish to watch the fun, whilst providing the climax of the rowing year for the more serious rowers. Almost all Durham colleges will compete across a variety of boat types and standards, and it is usually the chance to determine which college has the strongest crews of the year against opposition who will give no quarter.
Residents and visitors are encouraged to attend and enjoy the event, there is much to see, peripheral attractions, in an idyllic setting. Be aware that there may be a great deal of congestion with so many people attending the event and this could slow movement around the City.
Enjoy the 183rd Durham Regatta