The club was established on Loch Lomond in 1827 and, beaten to the post only by Royal Chester, is the second oldest rowing club in Britain. It’s been hugely successful in competitive rowing and for many, the ‘living memory’ years of the 1950’s and 60’s will recall great names like Jackie Haining, Archie Nelson, and Alex and Tommy Gillies who represented the club and Scotland at national and international events throughout the UK.
In the early 1970’s the clubhouse moved to its present location next to the Angling Club on the River Leven and a social side of rowing was established with many ex-rowers supporting the Saturday and Sunday fund raising functions. The successes of the early 70’s saw an influx of members and when Alex Thomson (one of the feared ‘Techie’ teachers at the Vale of Leven Academy) became interested in rowing, a thriving junior section wasn’t long in springing up. Loch Lomond soon became one of Scotland’s biggest and most successful rowing clubs throughout the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s, winning upwards of 70 events every year in many classes of adult and junior rowing.
Perhaps the club’s most successful era (70’s to the 90’s) saw it produce countless Scottish Champions and revered coaches but some notable names made it into Scottish rowing history. Peter Haining, Jim McNiven, Jim Paton and John McArthur to name a few went on to distinguish themselves and continued to represent Loch Lomond wherever they went.
John McArthur moved to London and, applying his Sports Science Degree, coached many National and International crews and spent 4 years as Scottish Rowing’s High Performance coach.
Jim McNiven and Jim Paton moved to Nottingham where, after winning many National Championships, formed a crew which was to race internationally and break the Lightweight 4’s world record. Jim McNiven remained in Nottingham to become a key member of the National team winning numerous World Championship medals culminating in his World Champion title in ’94. He, like his uncle John McNiven, also went on to become a double Olympian.
Peter Haining (also an accomplished Olympian) had moved to Nottingham a number of years previous and after accumulating many World Championship medals achieved the seemingly unachievable in winning the World Sculling Championship title 3 years in succession - topped only by being awarded the CBE at Buckingham Palace. Peter is now coaching future Olympians at the prestigious Brookes College, Oxford.
An achievement still marvelled at is a small rowing club like Loch Lomond producing 2 World Champions in different events on the same day in ‘94.
We've been busy fund raising over the last 4 years managing to obtain several grants from ‘SportScotland’, the Lottery “Awards for All”, West Dumbarton Council, ‘The Foundation for Sport’ and ‘The Arts and The Rowing Foundation’. Hard behind-the-scenes work has secured grants of £33,000 and members have raised an additional £11,000 in 4 years. This money has allowed the club to purchase 9 new rowing & sculling boats, 20 additional sets of sculling oars, 6 new indoor rowing machines and a new safety launch.
All of the above has enabled the club to expand and offer a full range of rowing equipment to the 70+ members whose ages vary from 12 to 62, both male and female. The club draws junior members from local High Schools such as, The Vale of leven Academy, Our Lady & St Patrick’s High School, Dumbarton Academy, Lomond School, Balfron High School and as far a field as the High School of Glasgow and Glasgow Academy.
Rowing is a sport for all ages and we have adult, junior and veteran members, the youngest being 12 and the oldest being over 60 and many in their 40’s and 50’s. Rowing is an excellent sport for keeping fit using all muscle groups and encouraging all members to become involved in a team sport.
The club trains every week through out the year, on weekdays and at the weekend. Once members have become competent, individual sculling boats offer an opportunity for them to row from 06:00 in the morning to 21:00 in the summer, enabling them to fit rowing in around work and family commitments.
Where are we?
The club house is on the River Leven about a mile downstream from the southern end of Loch Lomond and 1/2 a mile downstream from Balloch. Road access is through nearby Alexandria. For more information please visit the 'Contacts' page on the website.