What is Learn to Row?

Learn to Row (L2R) is a British Rowing affiliated course, aimed at bringing you from complete novice, to aspiring rower.  Run over six weeks, the course takes you through all the basic techniques of rowing, building up to a competitive, regatta-style race to finish off with a final hurrah.

Each learn to row course is instructed by two of our experienced coaches in our stable quad boats. There are 7 other learners in addition to yourself. Initially we will go through the basics on dry land before taking the boats down to the river at the southern tip of Windermere.  Each week you’ll get more time on the water until session six when you’ll be taking part in a fun, friendly race.

Where and when is it?

All our Learn to Row courses are run from our club at Fell Foot Park, Newby Bridge.

We offer a variety of courses to suit all between April and July

  • Weekday mornings 10.30am to 12.30pm
  • Weekday evenings 6pm to 8pm

How much is it?

The course costs £80.  For this, you get six 2 hour sessions, based at our site in Fell Foot Park, in our training quads.  Our courses are run by our team of highly qualified Level 2 coaches and Learn to Row instructors to give you top-notch coaching in technique, boat handling and safety.

How do I sign up?

Please review the questions below to check that rowing is for you and if it is please use the email address at the bottom of the page to contact us to help sign up.

Is rowing for you?

Questions to help you decide:

Do I need the fitness level of an Olympic athlete to enjoy rowing?

No, not unless you want to row in the Olympics. We have club members who train hard to compete at a high level but we also have lots of recreational rowers who just enjoy being on the water with friends, getting a little gentle exercise.  There are opportunities to compete in novice races where the emphasis is mainly on fellowship and fun but be warned, recreational rowers can sometimes discover a hidden competitive side!

Is there an upper age limit?

No, we have taught lots of people to row well beyond retirement age.

Is rowing dangerous?

There is an element of risk with all water sports but you will be rowing in our “Stable” boats which are much broader than the racing boats you will have seen at the Olympics or the University boat race. They are very safe and extremely unlikely to capsize.  We ask that you self-certify that you can swim 50 metres in light clothing OR we will ask you to wear a life jacket.  You will receive a full safety briefing before we go afloat and safety is our prime concern throughout your course and beyond.

Is rowing likely to aggravate an injury and what about medical conditions?

Rowing is a low impact sport which exercises the whole body. We will teach you correct technique to minimise the risk of injury.  We sometimes find that the development of better posture through rowing is actually helpful to people with back niggles.  If you are concerned speak to us and if you have serious issues do speak to your doctor before committing yourself to a Learn to Row course.

Are there any physical constraints that will stop me enjoying rowing?

Do take a look at the video to get an idea of what is involved but the main things to think about are;

  • Flexibility – You need to be able to bend to get into and out of the boat and to row effectively. Can you touch your toes or at least your knees!
  • Balance – Do you have a reasonable sense of balance. Can you put your shoes on standing up?
  • Co-ordination – Rowing well is really difficult. Absolutely everyone struggles to begin with and even the best rowers will tell you that they are still aiming for that elusive perfect stroke.  Try patting your head whilst rubbing your tummy and then multiply that sensation by 10.

Is there a pass or fail?

No. We want everyone who completes a Learn to Row course to have the opportunity to continue their membership of the club.  Very occasionally we find someone who really cannot get it.  In those extremely rare circumstances, we reserve the right not to offer continuing membership.  We feel that they will never really enjoy rowing and will quickly become bored with a lack of progression.  It is also difficult to ask other members to share a boat with someone unable to master the basics.

What is the most important thing to bring with me?

A sense of fun. If rowing wasn’t enjoyable we wouldn’t do it.  There will be lots of laughs as you and your crew struggle to get to grips with this infuriating activity.  Whether they continue rowing after the course or not absolutely everyone tells how much they enjoy the experience.

How much time do I need for rowing?

To be a competent rower attending at least one session a week in the first few months is recommended. The club puts on a number of sessions during the week (evenings April to October) and on Saturdays and Sundays. The sessions are 2 hours long allowing time to get the boats on the water, have a good row and clean and rack the boats at the end.

Why does WRC run L2R courses?

The primary reason for running the courses is to teach our prospective members reasonable technique ahead of joining the club. This enables those off L2R to transition into our development sessions, which are run on Saturdays and Sundays all year round and additionally in the week from April to October.

How do I sign up?

A full list of our courses and availability can be found by contacting our Learn to Row coordinator at windermereL2R’at’gmail.com. If you can’t make all six sessions then it may still be possible for you to join a course.  Please contact us and ask.

If you are still not sure, why not get in touch and arrange to pay us a visit at Fell Foot.  We will happily show you what is involved and answer any questions you may have.