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Nithraid 2022

Team spirit, strong community and fantastic weather made our action-packed, fun-filled day a success!

Photography by Kirstin McEwan

This year, the famous Coo was sprayed golden and gets a great view of the Suspension Bridge!

On 13th August 2022, we welcomed teams of sailors, coastal rowers, canoes and kayaks to the River Nith as they battled it out for the fastest time from Glencaple to Dumfries and back.

Competitors get warmed up at the starting line down in Glencaple

It was a bright, warm and sunny day which made for perfect conditions for those who joined us to watch the race at Mill Green, or taking part in the activities we had running across the day.

Some spectators took to the shade while watching the race – a smart move!

Produced by The Stove Network and supported by Dumfries & Galloway Council and Historic Environment Scotland, we were pleased that this year’s event attracted a record number of race participants not only from the local area, but from across Scotland too!

The teams get ready to launch into the river at Glencaple

This year, the boats transported a signal flag, each created by young people during EcoArt’s flag making workshops in the weeks preceding the race. 

One of the colourful flags waves in the breeze as the boat makes its way along the Nith

As the boats arrived the flags were raised over the town’s iconic Suspension Bridge, proudly welcoming the racing vessels and signalling the halfway point of the race.

Rows of bold flags lining the Suspension Bridge, Dumfries

(EcoArt is a grassroots charity connecting community, art & sustainability. Find out more about the LAND project and EcoArt here.)
Good spirits as the race preparations get underway at Glencaple

“For me a real highlight of this year’s Nithraid was to see more boats in the middle of town than ever, including spectators on the river, taking part in a celebration of the Nith in the heart of Dumfries. It was the largest entry to date for the event with huge increases in the Coastal Rowing and the Racing Kayak elements.”

Mark Zygadlo, Race Organiser

Nithraid is an event for the community, not just those who take part in the race itself.

Two cheerful competitors stand proudly with their vessel before making their way down the Nith

“We were thrilled with this year’s race entry list, it is testament to the hard work the Nithraid team have put in over the years to build a following for the event. Nithraid has faced a few challenges over the years, with bad weather, COVID, etc, but this year really did feel special and we’re so happy that the event attracted people to Dumfries from all over Scotland, some visiting the town for the first time. Nithraid is a real celebration of the Nith and of Dumfries and we hope that we develop the event for next year and attract more people to our beautiful town.”

Sal Cuddihy, Nithraid Project Manager and Head of Production at The Stove Network
Boats pass under Suspension Bridge, by Mill Green

This year in addition to the annual River Race, the Stove Network led a series of family-friendly activities throughout the day, all free of charge and accessible along the banks of the River Nith, including:

  • EcoArt Flags – Land: Signals to the World – Signal flag designing workshop
  • Migratory Trails’ – A stamp sheet treasure hunt at Dock Park
  • Find the Coo’ – Treasure hunt from Dumfries to Kingholm Quay
  • Simon Lidwell’s Viking Cluaran
  • Source to Sea’ – A pre-recorded QR audio performance by Hugh McMillan
Mill Green revellers learn how to row just like the Vikings did
A kayaker unloads to take a well-deserved rest at the finish line
Simon Lidwell of Wordsmith Crafts provides immersive storytelling down at Mill Green

In addition, many of the town’s pubs joined in with the festivities, offering live music and special Nithraid-themed hospitality. We had The Dougie Arms, Coach and Horses Inn and The Riverside Bar all joining in on the fun!

But, let’s get back to the race…

A rowing team pushes on up the River Nith

Though conditions were grand for all those enjoying the race more comfortably on dry land, the warm weather added an extra challenge to our incredible competitors who all did extremely well to endure the heat and complete the race!

Some competitors make hard work look easy!
Give us a wave!
Team effort is needed to get these rowers moving quickly upstream
The bright yellow vessel was hard to miss on the River Nith!

We can’t thank you enough for all the hard work you put in to giving us another brilliant race this year, you’re all winners in our eyes.

A cause for celebration as the results are announced at Barbour Hall in Glencaple

However, we think it’s important to give credit to those who battled it out for the fastest time and we know how integral the competitive element of the race is to those who take part, so here are this year’s winners!

Coastal RowingFirth of Clyde Rowing Club#12
SailingGareth Jones#14
Racing KayakWill Stevely*#28
MiscellaneousDave Golding#25

We would like to take this opportunity to apologise for an error we made earlier in our announcing of the winner of the racing kayak category. The correct winner has been shown above*, and we’d like to give thanks to the competitors for your brilliant sportsmanship and camaraderie for bringing this to our attention.

Nithraid 2022 wouldn’t be Nithraid without the race, so we want to say a HUGE thank you and well done! to all who took part this year and gave us a wonderfully memorable and exciting race.

A team of rowers give the photographer a cheery wave

Thank you also to EcoArt, Simon Lidwell & the Cluaran Heritage Project clan and Hugh McMillan for the wonderful entertainment and activity at Mill Green; the safety boats who were out on the Nith all day to keep the competitors safe; Nith Inshore Rescue, who do the vital work of keeping our waters safe all year-round; all those who volunteered at this year’s event to help us set up and facilitate the race; and the businesses around Dumfries who set up special live entertainment around the town to help us celebrate Nithraid more widely this year – The Dougie Arms, Coach and Horses Inn and The Riverside Bar.

A view of Mill Green from Suspension Bridge, above the River Nith

We’re thrilled at the success of Nithraid 2022 and are grateful for all the help and support we’ve received to help make it happen.

This glorious day in the sunshine is one we will remember for some time…

The Stove Network

For more information on Nithraid, visit our webpage here.

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