Sculling & Rowing Timetable


Procession of Boats



Each Rowing Course lasts for 6 days, starting on Sunday afternoon and finishing on Saturday morning.


At the start of each course, all students are placed in a group of 9 or 10 others of similar ability (based on previous rowing/sculling experience), under the supervision of a qualified Coach and Course Assistant. Everyone starts the week in single sculling boats, and a Time Trial on the second day is used to reorganize the groups based on ability. Later in the week students move from sculling to rowing, and from smaller to larger boats. Coaching includes both water-based and land-based instruction, the latter making use of rowing ergometers and video footage captured during the outings. Whatever type of activity is being undertaken, the emphasis is always on having fun, and the environment at Eton is ideal for this purpose. All rowing takes place either on the Lake up at Dorney or on the Thames nearer to the College, and everyone will have the chance to row on both stretches of water during the week.


A typical day is as follows (please note times are only approximate)


8.15:    Breakfast (Bekynton Dining Hall)

9.15:            2 outings (river/lake) with half hour break in between

1.15:            Lunch

2-4pm:       Organised land-based activities

4-6pm:        Free time (swimming, tennis, shopping etc)

6.15pm:       Supper

7pm:            Final Outing (river/lake)

9-10.20pm:  Social Room

10.30pm:     Back in Houses for Bed


The timetable may change regularly based on weather conditions, average group ages etc.

The following highlights are also included in the weekly timetable though not always on the specified day.


Sun PM:     Swimming Test. Capsize Drill for Beginners

Mon AM:    Sculling Time Trial

Tue PM:     Visit to River & Rowing Museum and Leander Club

Wed:          Trip to Queens Eyot Island. Introduction to Kayaking

Thu PM:     Talk by Guest Speaker

Fri PM:       Regatta/Style Competition. Disco

Sat AM:      Procession of Boats


SWIM TEST (Sunday)

The swimming ability of all students has to be assessed before any water activities can take place, so a straightforward test is always staged on the first (Sunday) afternoon. The exact format may vary, but usually includes 3 minutes of treading water” followed by a swim of 175m (7 lengths of Eton’s indoor pool) in swimming kit.



This drill is intended for complete beginners or those who have never done any single sculling prior to their arrival at Eton. Students should not be scared of capsizing on the courses - it is part and parcel of the learning experience! The drill outlines exactly what to do in the event of a capsize, how to get out of the boat and how to swim with it to the bank safely. Students may rest assured that their coach will always demonstrate the drill first of all, so they won't be the only ones getting wet!



This Time Trial is staged up at Dorney Lake  with all scullers (except beginners) taking part at 30 second intervals and racing as fast as they can over a distance of 1000m. The results are used to reorganize the groups for the rest of the week. In recent years some of the (courageous!) beginners have even had a go and many have completed the distance without falling in - a great achievement!



50 students can join this trip to the  Rowing Museum at Henley on Thames (location of the world famous regatta). The tour takes the visitor from the 170 oar Athenian trireme of 400BC to the London 2012 Olympic Games. The Hall of Fame and variety of hands-on displays are particular favourites. Further info can be found at the River & Rowing Museum site.



This visit takes our students right inside Leander Club, recognized throughout the rowing world as a true centre of excellence. Members include the best of British rowers, not least Sirs Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent who were based here in their pursuit of countless Olympic gold medals. Students are given a guided tour of Leander's facilities which are second to none, including the boathouse and gym where they might even see their idols hard at work on the ergo!



For many students this is the best day of the week. Everyone paddles 5 miles upstream in a mixture of Dragon Boats and rowing boats, destined for the Eton-owned island called Queens Eyot  complete with its impressive Clubhouse. The boats travel up through the lock and arrive at the island in time for a delicious barbecue lunch. The afternoon includes a variety of games and activities (including the legendary tug-of-war tournament!), and all students depart from the island back to Eton in the mid-afternoon.



Although distinct from "rowing/sculling" activities, students in recent years have expressed a keen desire to experience other watersports during their week at Eton. Using Eton's indoor pool, they now have the chance to learn how to kayak under the supervision of a qualified instructor. This is a popular feature of the week for those that have the chance to participate.



The Procession of Boats takes place on the final (Saturday) morning of the Courses, and serves as a fitting climax to the week's activities. It's an excellent occasion for parents and friends to come along (with cameras, don't forget!) and witness something unique in the rowing world - with every member of an eight-oared crew raising their oars and standing up under complete control, as part of a ceremonial row-past along the Thames. The event is based on the traditional "Procession of Boats" that has been a regular feature of the summer celebrations at Eton since the end of the 18th Century. The crews paddle down one at a time and after completing the procession successfully, they paddle into the bank to receive their medals for a job well done! Refreshments are available to all spectators on the bank and there is also the opportunity to purchase ERC kit (clothing) for those that are interested. Once the boats have been taken back to the boathouse everyone is then free to go.


For the location of  the Procession, please click here.

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