Rowing Stockholm Style

Posted on Tue, 28 Nov, 2023

One of our adult members shares their experience of rowing in Stockholm in -5°C  and a snowy landscape.

By Nina

Despite having lived in London for over 20 years (yikes!), I do have another hometown too - Stockholm, my birth town. So going to Stockholm is not really a holiday, it's like continuing my normal London life, but in Stockholm. Having found the sport of rowing late in life, and, like so many of us at FRBC, fallen in love with the sport, normal London life includes rowing. So, prior to my last trip back to Stockholm, I decided to contact one of the few rowing clubs there. And I was welcomed to join them at their Saturday water session next time I was in town. Said and done, as I packed my bag to Stockholm, I also packed my rowing kit, having in mind that winter is colder there than in London...

And low and behold, on the Friday, upon arrival to Stockholm, it started snowing lightly. But it didn’t stop! So, on Saturday morning, as I walked to Hammarby Rodd's boathouse, it was -5°C, a snowy landscape and still snowing! I wasn't sure if things were going ahead, but I went there to check. In my kit. Upon arrival, I realised, that yeah, for sure, two quads were going out and I was down to be in one of them.

Rowing with another club, and in another country, can be challenging. How do they carry the boats? What calls do they make? What kind of water is it? And so on. Not to mention that you're with a crew you've never met before. Then add -5°C, snowfall, and wind to this. Was I up for a challenge and a half, or not?!

Hammarby Rodd's members were as kind and welcoming as I could have hoped for. And I quickly realised that even for them, this was quite extreme conditions. Despite this, we did an 8km paddle through the snowfall and choppy waters.

My inner chimp (thanks for introducing me to them, Tracy!) told me both "This is so exciting and great!", as well as "What are doing? Are you mad? Stop this!" And "You can do this! ??", as well as "This is way beyond your capacity!" Of course, as we all know, there isn't really any other option than to get on with it once you're out with a crew. So, I put my head down and did what I had to do. And wow, what an experience! Coming back to the boathouse, my splash jacket had lots of ice on the back, there were icicles on the riggers and the gates were covered in ice (you had to remove the ice with force to get out the blades). I can't see that ever happening at FRBC, and for that I'm grateful. ?

Regardless, I can't wait to go back to Hammarby Rodd - they said I'm welcome back anytime - but I'll wait for spring and summer. What a completely different experience that will be!

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