In February, the University of Stirling Boat Club made a triumphant return to the water after four long years.
A combination of COVID and mismanagement from previous club members had kept the club stuck on land.
But after clearing many hurdles to reach this point, club president Olivia Coulthard said: “I think it’s great that we’re back on the water and taking one more step to becoming a competitive club.”
Issues first arose for the club when previous members lost the trust of the Stirling Rowing Club in town. As a result, the club were traveling to Glasgow and Perth for training sessions.
Then once COVID restrictions hit, the Boat Club could no longer travel to training and the restrictions prohibited boat use.
This has meant the club had spent over four years without water training, and it had been over seven years since they rowed in Stirling.
But in 2022, previous club president and current Union President Tash Miller began to rebuild the relationship with the club in Stirling, and after a year of meetings, an agreement was reached with the town club allowing for a return to the River Forth.
However, the struggle wasn’t over yet.
This year the club were told they did not have the relevant coaching qualifications to access the river.
But despite all the setbacks, the Boat Club returned to the River Forth on February 16. The Boat Club said: “Getting back on the water has been tough.
“We have really struggled to get onto the water due to lack of equipment.
“The club owned several boats but the majority of them are severally damaged and too expensive to repair, so right now we are working with one usable boat which can fit 8 crew members and a cox.”
Getting back on the water has required the dedication and hard work of many members past and present. The current committee said they owe a lot to the previous committee for repairing the relationship with the club in town.
Additionally, many current members of the club have never been in a boat before, and this has required further hard work to coach new members and ensure everyone is at the required fitness level. The club said: “We are now going through the process of training our members, many of whom have never rowed before.
“But we are just so pleased to have such great members who are willing to learn and are loving the water just as much as the pros in the club!
“We still have a long way to go, for instance, we recently carried a double from campus all the way to the town boat club which required several members and took us two hours which we now have to repair so it is fit for the water.
“But we have just secured some new blades, generously donated to us by Glasgow Rowing Club.”
Additionally, club president Olivia Coulthard said: “We are looking forward to entering BUCS next year and taking on more challenges. However, we’ve still got a long way to go as a club.
“Rowing isn’t a cheap sport, so trying to accumulate money to spend on boats, oars and other equipment is challenging.
“I would like to personally say a massive thank you to all our members and committee and to the 21/22 committee for working so hard to get us to this point.”
For more information and updates follow the University of Stirling Boat Club’s Instagram page.
Featured Image Credit: UoS Boat Club