The Head of the Charles is a race that Eton doesn’t compete in, but a few extra keen boys voyaged across the pond to row on the winding stretch in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Our own Captain of Boats, Henry Pearson, as well the son of the Master-In-Charge of Rowing, Henry Pooley, did remarkably well. Finishing 7th and 5th respectably in the Director’s Challenge, the windy conditions seemed no match for the Etonians, who overtook myriad scullers to finish far above their previous positions. Hopefully next year we can see some more Etonians compete against each other! We also saw the likes of OEs Ed Bracey (Captain of School 2018), Paddy Adams (DWG ’17) and George Cozens (JRBS ’17) compete for Harvard in their hometown race, picking up a few victories themselves.
During the final week of the Long Leave break, 20 boys from Upper Boats travelled to Ireland to spend four days rowing with Trinity College and exploring the city of Dublin.
The College very kindly agreed to let us use their facilities and even some of their rowers as we moved towards cementing combinations for the biggest race of the term: The Fours Head. The Irish energy was prominent in the mixed boats and made the whole experience an enjoyable one. The University's reading week meant that there were plenty of early morning sessions and so we had to acclimatise quickly to the cold Irish 8:00am breeze. While the Trinity stretch of water was a bit narrow and the rowing mainly took the form of a single file head-race, we branched out towards the end of the camp to the River Liffey. After managing to get the boats across the weir, we were able to row down the Liffey and through the picturesque centre of Dublin with a surprising number of locals gathering to watch us. We made full use of the weights and erg gyms too, trying to add some variation to the sessions.
Although the rowing was obviously an important part of the trip, it seemed a bit pointless to venture overseas without some insight into the Irish way of life. And so a trip to the Guinness factory (one of only a few in the world) was essential. We discovered the various intricacies behind the creation of the famous drink, from the hops and the roasted barley to the surprisingly important water, and then went on to a pub dinner. We also visited Croke Park, the home of Gaelic football and hurling – Ireland's national sports. A tour around the park enabled us to truly get a feel for these alien games and then we walked around the top of the stadium. From 44 metres above the ground, we could truly admire the whole Dublin cityscape and one of the largest stadiums in Europe. Finishing up the tour, we had a go at some of the games ourselves and realised that they were actually much harder than they had appeared. We were also fortunate to be shown around the Trinity College campus by one of the Deans who provided us with an entertaining history of an institution that has produced the likes of Samuel Beckett and Oscar Wilde.
We are all hugely grateful to Mr Fangen-Hall, Mr Edmonson and Mr Cross for organising and running what was a fun and productive training camp. We look forward to seeing how we fare this coming Saturday on the Tideway.
Max Shakespeare and Nathan Swidler