Who needs Henley Regatta or the Oxford Cambridge Boat Race when we’ve got gangs of slightly inebriated Mancunians, in rubber dinghies, paddling in all directions on the River Mersey.
Yes it’s the annual Northenden Boat Race – no I hadn’t heard of it before either.
My next-door neighbour Stephanie knew we did a bit of kayaking and asked if her sons could borrow a couple of paddles and life preservers for this annual charity event that I’d never heard of. When I heard it was a race, I offered them the use of the kayaks, but the strict rules meant that all competitors had to be in inflatable dinghies, I immediately guessed that we weren’t about to see any Olympic hopefuls showing off their stuff here, it was strictly for fun.
As the television coverage was severely lacking, I felt it was my responsibility to go down and photograph the event for posterity and my own amusement – also, it was sunny and I didn’t have much else to do.
Once the horn was blown for the start I took a few pictures of the mayhem before I realised they were actually quite fast. With them heading downstream and me trying to fight my way through the crowds of spectators, the leaders soon disappeared out of sight. Once we reached the finish line all that was left was the final stragglers. I was surprised however, to see the Northenden Pipe Band in full Scottish regalia playing for the crowds. I’ve lived in Northenden for over twenty years and I never knew we had a pipe band, let alone a boat race.
I really must get out more.