The Scottish Boatrace
The Scottish Boat Race is an annual rowing race which is contested by the University of Edinburgh and the University of Glasgow, two of the largest universities and boat clubs in Scotland.
Established in 1877, it is the third oldest university boat race in the world after the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race (1829) and the Yale-Harvard Regatta (1852). The first Edinburgh v. Glasgow Boat Race took place shortly after 3:00 pm on Monday 30 July on the River Clyde above the weir at Glasgow Green in coxed fours and was won by Glasgow by eight lengths.
Most recently, the event has consisted of 8 different ‘8s’ races – a mixed gender graduate race, both men’s and women’s novices (beginners), men’s and women’s second eight, men’s and women’s first eight as well as a 2km ergometer team challenge consisting of two male (one novice, one senior) and two female (also one novice, one senior) athletes.
Modern rowing is one of the oldest sports in the Olympic Games, and one which has been around since the 10th century in the UK, when races were held on the River Thames between professional watermen. Typically raced over two kilometres by a variety of different boat categories, it is a sport where people can put their physical and mental capabilities to the test. Once regarded as an elitist sport, nowadays it has been made accessible to all through club, school and university programmes across the country.
An eight is a rowing shell used in the sport of competitive rowing whereby eight rowers, each with one oar, propel themselves and a coxswain along a set course. It is the fastest of all rowing boat categories in men’s and women’s rowing, so is classed as the ‘blue riband’ event at the events where it is offered.
The course raced as changed throughout the history of the event. Originally, it was raced on various parts of the River Clyde (Glasgow) and also the Union Canal (Edinburgh). However, with racing 8s, the race has been mainly competed on the Clyde. The current course is roughly 2km long, starting at King George V Bridge and ending at Glasgow’s Science Centre on Pacific Quay. The graduate boat normally races over a shorter distance.