Record Established On Corrib Trip

by Mike McCrohan

A mere two weeks after Tribesmen Rowing club celebrated its twenty-first birthday, a crew composed of four of its committee members established a new record on the Corrib. This Sunday
26th October 1997, the quad scull of Gerry Small, Mike Heskin, Garoid Mitchell and Mike McCrohan rowed from Galway to Cong. In as far as can be established this feat has never before
been attempted.

Back in early Summer a number of the senior members of the club got together and discussed the possibility of a trip to Cong. This was a trip of mythical proportions – the navigation of the entire length of Lough Corrib by manual power – and had been proposed through the years by many an oarsman over many a bar table, but never, until now, acted upon.

The task in hand was tricky. Lough Corrib is notorious in its ability to turn very dangerous with the merest whiff of a breeze, and at the least possible notice. For that reason the endeavour
would be completely at the mercy of the elements. Given that the crew was limited to Sunday mornings, many weeks were to pass before the ideal conditions would present themselves.

Last Saturday was still, foggy and calm. The forecast for Sunday was the same, and the call went out. Noel Leader volunteered his cruiser for safety and navigation, Martin Ford would assist in liaison, and the die was cast.

Shortly after 8:30 on Sunday morning the crew left the slip at Tribesmen and headed out into the unknown. Most had rowed as far as Annaghdown at some time in their careers, but none had been beyond. This would be something completely different.

The first leg to the lake was uneventful, but the lower lake was a little choppy and gave some reason for concern. The crew decided to continue however, and by the time they entered the
Narrows things had improved and conditions were much more favourable. Two thirds of the trip still remained.

Taking a break of five minutes every half hour the crew were making good progress. Annaghdown was reached in an hour and the crew were feeling strong. The Narrows were negotiated, Inchagoill circumnavigated, and they were on the home stretch.

Finally, three hours and forty minutes after leaving the Eglington Canal, after three hours and two minutes of rowing, the Tribesmen boat touched land again on the Mayo coast.

This was not a sponsorship event. No other motive was involved than to do what had not been done before. Now that it has been done others can tackle the record or not as they see fit. For the crew, they can take with them the accomplishment of a row never before achieved.