The Scottish Boat Race 2017

My Dear Readers,

Every year since 1919, there are rival races between the rowing teams of the University of Glasgow and the University of Edinburgh. This year, it was on the River Clyde with its finish line at the Tall Ship located at the Riverside Museum, where there was a screen showing video footage of the races shot from the banks of the river as well as with a drone. It also coincided with the Festival of Museums, meaning the Tall Ship had pirates and activities all over it, with musket demonstrations and mock sword battles. There was also a street food festival, although the number of people meant the lines for food could get ridiculously long.

With all this going on, I, of course, had to attend, and I was there from 10:30-5:00.

As sporting events go, it wasn’t the most exciting. Edinburgh won every race, sometimes by more than five boat lengths. It was slow paced, with races happening only about every fifteen minutes for a couple hours. People came and went and wandered about.

But it was a good atmosphere, with proud cheering from Glasgow fans no matter what was happening in the races and the Glasgow tiger and the Edinburgh panda mascots moving among the crowd.

I don’t actually know if the panda is Edinburgh’s mascot, and Google didn’t help much on that front, but there was a guy in a panda costume and Edinburgh jersey with a student escort that very much seemed to be the mascot.

People were simply there to have a good time, watch their student athletes display their ability, maybe talk to some pirates, and eat street food. It was a feel-good community event with none of the high-stakes, heated, long-running rivalries I’m used to with American football.

I think one little girl watching a race from the Tall Ship summed it up nicely: “It doesn’t really matter; they’re both from Scotland.”

It’s all about priorities.

Anyway, I took some pictures, and they’ll be below for your viewing pleasure.

Your Bonnie Celtophile,


The races were partially interrupted by a steamboat.
Part of the crowd.
Artsy shot of some boat race watchers on the Tall Ship.
Can you see them?
The screen for boat race viewing.

One of the activities on the tall ship was to design your own cup and then get some punch to drink through a pirate flag straw. I made mine Doctor Who themed. The colors on my hand are from when I was testing the markers while talking to my flatmate, who was the volunteer at the stand.
The Riverside Museum has a recreated, old Main Street inside. This is one angle of it.
Some of the pirates demonstrating muskets. I heard one teenage girl being assured that yes, they are licensed to be shooting in the UK. The pirates claimed not to be using musket balls because they ‘will not be shooting at Govan today.’

Questions? Thoughts? Inspiring Ideas?

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