by William Warr
The Durham Regatta has been called off this weekend because of hazardously high water levels on the River Wear.
This was due to heavy rain over the weekend. It is the first time the regatta has been completely cancelled in its 179-year history.
Initially Saturday’s racing was cancelled but it was hoped that the river level would fall sufficiently to allow Sunday’s racing to go ahead. However continuous downpours yesterday prevented this from happening.
Doug Steward, the events President said, “I’ve been involved for 32 years and our race commentator has about 50 years’ experience of it and neither of us can even remember losing a day.
“It’s an eventuality none of us have encountered and it’s a head-ache to say the least.
“We were hoping to salvage something today, but the river level is still far too high to allow racing to take place in safety.
“God forbid we had a junior novice crew washed up on the riverbank in mid race. It just doesn’t bear thinking about.”
The regatta draws a wide range of crews from across the country as well as internationally. One crew had travelled from Holland to race in this prestigious event (the regatta is the second oldest in the country and has been running longer than Henley’s Royal Regatta).
On Saturday, a parade from Palace Green through the town featuring Durham and Newcastle’s respective university boat clubs, was also cancelled.