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Inaugural British Universities Creek Race 2013

Monday 29 April 2013

‌Last weekend saw a team of 4 St Andrews students attend the first ever British Universities Creek Race held in the beautiful Glen Etive in the West Highlands of Scotland. Despite a lack of rain and low river levels, the event was attended by over 30 competitors from universities across England including Birmingham, Oxford, York and Newcastle in addition to our Scottish counterparts Strathclyde, Napier and Edinburgh. The race was heavily sponsored by kayaking companies with boats to demo, endless amounts of free Red Bull and lots of great prizes to be won. The event tested the skills and fitness of paddlers on two sections of river with some steep waterfalls and drops, with the final ranking based on the best cumulative time from two runs of each of the two chosen sections of river.

After the first section which comprised of 3 waterfalls on the River Etive, St Andrews student Kirstie Macmillan led the women’s field whilst Andre Phillips and Calum Fisher put in a solid start in the men’s competition with few mistakes. An Alumni competition also saw graduate and former vice-captain Patrick Jenner take part in a mass-start race which was a total delight to watch, with six paddlers all trying to squeeze down the narrow gorge together all at once! Although the River Etive section didn’t prove too successful for Patrick, he progressed to come 2nd and 1st in the next two rounds on the terrifying Allt a’Chaorrain river. This section of river is usually more fun than should be legal but when racing, it became terrifying paddling down it at high speed! The Allt a’Chaorrain proved slightly trickier for many competitors with a difficult crux move on the high starting drop and some shallow reefs causing some trouble further down the river. Both rivers demanded technical skill and fitness with drops to navigate interspersed with flat water sections of sprinting.

The overall results were brilliant for St Andrews, with Andre Phillips placing 15th, Calum Fisher 11th, Kirstie Macmillan 2nd in the ladies’ category and Patrick Jenner placing joint 2nd in the Alumni race! Hopefully next year St Andrews can maintain their quality of team and that there may be a little more water in the rivers! Thanks should be given to Callum Strong and his volunteers from the University of Edinburgh for organising this event, to the Scottish Canoe Association and all of the sponsors without which it would all have been impossible!

‌(Photo by Jon Harwell)

 

Posted under: Performance