Hundreds of people joined us along the banks of the River Nith to celebrate the Tenth Anniversary of the Nithraid River Race!
Photography by Kirstin McEwan
On 2nd September 2023, we welcomed teams of sailors, coastal rowers, canoes and kayaks at the tenth annual Nithraid River Race. Our competitors entered the Nith at Glencaple at high tide and raced to Dumfries and back, battling for the best time.
Although there was the occasional cloud, we were fortunate to have a bright warm day for racing. The nice weather brought lots of people to the banks of the Nith, who enjoyed spectating the race. The day brightened as the afternoon went on, creating perfect conditions for those who joined us to watch and take part in the activities at Mill Green.
Produced by The Stove Network and supported by Dumfries & Galloway Council, Historic Environment Scotland, and EcoArt, this year’s race saw the return of competitors from previous years, as well as new racers who travelled as far as the Firth of Clyde, and North Queensferry to compete. This year we had a great mix of kayakers, coastal rowers and a few sailors who enjoyed their surroundings on the Nith.
The first vessel left the banks of Glencaple at 1:03pm, with sail boats setting off first, followed by rowers and finishing with kayakers.
This year, each boat had to transport precious ‘cargo’ – flags created by young people during EcoArt’s flag making workshops.
As the boats arrived at Mill Green, each boat delivered their flag and it was raised over the Suspension Bridge, creating a fantastic visual spectacle for those enjoying the race in Dumfries and signalling the halfway point of the race.
“Nithraid celebrated its 10th Birthday this year with one of it’s most successful turnouts! We had over thirty vessels of different shapes and sizes competing which really brought the river to life, making it feel like aproper celebration. Thank you to all of the spectators that lined the banks of the Nith to cheer our racers on! It made a very special day even more memorable. Nithraid is all about celebrating our town’s river, and we are delighted that so many people took part, watched and enjoyed the activities planned for the day.”Sal Cuddihy, Nithraid Project Manager and Head of Production at The Stove Network
In addition to the annual River Race, the Stove Network led a series of family-friendly activities at Mill Green, all free of charge and accessible along the banks of the River Nith, including:
- EcoArt – Environmental Flag Design Drop-In
- Simon Lidwell’s Viking Cluaran
- ‘If Fishes were Wishes for the Nith’ by Elizabeth Tindal, Freelance Ranger.
- The Missing Museum Drop-In
- Nith Life Community Visioning
Before the second leg of the race could begin, we had the annual tradition of the dunking of the salty coo! The coo (our mascot) symbolises the historic journey made by herds of cattle, led by their farmers, across the river at low tide, from Maxwelltown on the west bank to the cattle market at Whitesands on the east side of the river.
After a quick rest and and refreshments from the Robert Burns Centre, our competitors were ready for the second leg of the race.
Our sailors and rowers were first to depart back to Glencaple, with our kayakers canoeists setting off at the same time for the final stretch!
Beyond Mill Green, there was various activity for the public to enjoy at the Coach and Horses and the Dougie Arms. At the Coach, there was an exhibition by artists Fraser Irvin, Neil Patterson, Leanne Bradwick and a live performance of ‘Nithraid’, a poem by Davey Payne. Both pubs hosted live music throughout the day till late at night!
We can’t thank our competitors enough for all the hard work and effort each of you gave to this year’s race. You are all winners in our eyes.
However, it is also important to give credit to those who were succesful in achieving the best time!
The Nithraid 2023 winners:
|Category||Team / Boat Name||Total Time|
|Coastal Rowing||Firth of Clyde Rowing Club||01:25:51.00|
A MASSIVE thank you and well done to all who took part in our tenth anniversary race. We are had a fantastic day, and we hope you did too!
Thank you also to EcoArt, Simon Lidwell & the Cluaran Heritage Project clan, Nith Life, The Missing Museum and Elizabeth Tindell 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; Dumfries and Galloway Radio Unit who helped with parking and safely directing boats and competitors in Glencaple; 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 – The Dougie Arms, and Coach and Horses Inn.
– The Stove Network
For more information on Nithraid, visit our webpage here.