We will be operating from two different sites in Oxford, both within walking distance of each other. Our beginners will start their week in Hinksey Park on the boating lakes. The affectionately known 'pond' is where they will first step into a boat. The pond is 2 foot deep and just about big enough for a small number of boats to manoeuvre around on. They will then move onto the larger lake with a fantastic new pontoon and safety launches. Here they start covering distance and learn to steer.
We will introduce them to singles and doubles on the lakes before they gain momentum and get some big boat experience in quads and eights on the river for the second half of their week. The lakes are the perfect place to safely master the art of rowing before venturing out onto the river.
Originally home to the University of Oxford 'Blue Boat' (who now train on a longer reach of the Thames at Wallingford) this is the two mile stretch of the river known as the Isis. During the university terms the water is churning with activity as the many college eights practice for their iconic annual event, Summer VIIIs where eights try to catch, and literally 'bump' one another.
Thankfully, by the time we hold our courses here the students will have packed up and gone home for the holidays leaving peace and quiet behind for us. From our MCBC base near the centre of town, the river makes its way out of Oxford towards Iffley Lock where it meanders on out into the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside. We will take great advantage of rowing through the locks during the week, exploring other reaches of the Thames.
Our intermediate and advanced rowers will be boating from Magdalen College Boat House (MCBC) in the centre of Oxford. MCBC has traditionally been one of the most successful Oxford boat clubs over its 158 year history. Since their founding in 1859, they have seen countless wins at Henley Royal Regatta, fielded hundreds of rowers for the Boat Races, and maintained their status as one of the pre-eminent rowing colleges in Oxford.
MCBC is located on the City Bank of the River Isis (Thames) in Oxford, at the end of what is known as Boathouse Island. The boathouse has all the facilities we need for our week on the river including changing rooms, a common room and a balcony with stunning views of the river.