In the face of sizeable swell on Loch Ness and winds gusting north of 50 miles an hour, the London Cornish Pilot Gig Club has successfully, including 24 rowers, has completed its row across Scotland from Fort William in the west to Inverness in the east.
The GRP gig Seven Stars (Tribute), on loan to the club through the Cornish Pilot Gig Association’s ‘Club in a Box’ scheme supported by St Austell Brewery, made its way alongside Fury and ‘Ansom the 60 miles from coast to coast.
The three crews made a strong start on the first day of the two-day expedition, blasting their way across the 10 miles of Loch Lochy and cruising down the mirror-like waters of the Caledonian Canal. The second day however saw fiercer weather with winds gusting at more than 50 miles an hour whipping up waves well over a metre high. Conditions reached the point where one of the gigs had to sit it out on a beach on the banks of the loch while the worst of the weather passed.
The 24-strong team included some rowers very new to Cornish Pilot Gigs, but all dug deep to help their crews with one gig sprinting for two hours to reach the finish line in time.
Pete Chalkley, the club’s chair, said “Everyone really pulled together and in some tough conditions. I was particularly impressed to see some of the newer gig rowers doing so well out there. The conditions weren’t favourable and really tested the crews. There was serious relief and then some serious celebrations at the end. We feel like we earned it!”