London students try out rowing on the Tamar

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A group of 12 students and 2 staff members from Phoenix High School visited Cotehele Quay and tried their hand at the famous Cornish sport of gig rowing.

Duchy College worked closely with the school based in Shephard’s Bush, London to create a residential week, enabling students to visit Cornwall and to participate in a wide range of activities, created to challenge and excite the students.

Kelly Elvidge, a rower with Cotehele Quay Gig Club said: “On the Monday evening the Cornish “mizzle” eventually cleared, and we had a dry evening. On arrival, as expected there were a few nervous faces as the students eyed up the boat for the first time but once on the water Jerry (the gig club captain) soon settled any nerves by standing up and rocking the boat side to side to help demonstrate the stability of the boat. The group spent some time testing their rowing skills before returning to swap over rowers so everyone had the opportunity to experience not only a true Cornish sport but also the beauty of the Cornish countryside from the river.”

During the row, opportunities to absorb and appreciate our surroundings in the peace and quiet with just the sound of birds in the background were seized. One of the students, Craig Clarke said “What I wouldn’t give for this” as he gazed around at the surroundings. His tutor Erika Searle replied “It makes you realise why we teach which makes all the hard work of organising a trip like this all the more worthwhile and enjoyable.” When Brittany Thomas was asked what she thought of the area she replied, “the place is amazing, beautiful and I can’t believe how quiet it is”.

Great enthusiasm was shown by all the students, tutors and volunteers (from Cotehele Gig Rowing Club) Many students opting for additional sessions until darkness stopped play. Charles Atkinson, the Curriculum Area Manager for Agriculture at Duchy College who came along for the evening said “ We are very grateful to Cotehele Quay Gig Club for all their time and effort in providing this wonderful opportunity for this group, everyone thoroughly enjoyed the evening and it is definitely something we hope to repeat in the future. ”

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