Ebchester Rowing Club was formed around 1876 and flourished until 1974 when it was dissolved due to lack of members and a general decline in rowing at the time nationally.
Ebchester reputedly had the shortest stretch of water of any club in the UK at only 300 yards: but it is one of the safest as the water is only around 3 to 4 feet deep, making it ideal for beginners, recreational rowers and rowers learning to balance and race thin, single racing sculls.
Even though the rowing club and stretch of river at Ebchester were small there used to be held regular competitive regattas, drawing rowers from far and wide to compete against each other. Local Ebchester rowers had a distinct advantage at these regattas as unlike anywhere else, the race involved a fast stop and turn around at the end of the course and race back to the start. The fast stop and turn could easily capsize a rower if not performed well. Ebchester rowers were very skilled at stopping and turning, often being faster than anyone else and would be well ahead of their opponents after a quick turn.
In 1935 the club was one of the best in the country, with over 70 members including several women.
There are still many local people who remember the rowing club and regattas and there are still older rowers at other local clubs who started their journey in rowing at Ebchester.
In 2011 a group of local organisations came together to set up the Ebchester Boathouse Development Partnership with the aim of developing facilities at the Boathouse and encouraging greater use of the river for water activities
Interest in bringing rowing back to the village was sparked again in 2015 when Hexham Rowing Club visited and held free ‘have-a-go’ sessions is a stable training boat. This was the first time in 41 years that there had been rowing on the River Derwent at Ebchester.
The visit by Hexham Rowing Club sparked interest from other rowers and in 2017 Gateshead Community Rowing Club began to visit the river. Rowers from Tynemouth Rowing and Durham Amateur Rowing Clubs visited in 2018.
A new group, the Ebchester Rowers, draws members from the village and surrounding area together with members of other local clubs who row at Ebchester. The club hopes to purchase single and double racing boats which can be used by local and visiting rowers. In the 2019 season we aim to run a ‘Learn to Row’ course for beginners, supported by rowers and coaches from local clubs. Floating stabilisers will be added to the boats, but if anyone capsizes they can stand up and get back in their boat, the river being shallow and ideal for beginners.
It is hoped that there will soon be enough local and visiting rowers to make it possible to bring regattas back to the village.
If you are interested in learning to row at Ebchester: or in visiting from another club: or are a rower wanting to volunteer to help us; please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
April 2019. Thanks to funding from the EDF Boundary Lane Windfarm Community Fund,. managed by the County Durham Community Foundation, we now have a new landing stage. This new facility has made it possible to safely launch rowing sculls and other craft.