STAGING Talkin Tarn prepares for historic day - British Rowing

Talkin Tarn prepares for historic day

Talkin Tarn Amateur Rowing Club may have 2,388 square feet of storage, a combined gym and meeting room, central heating, air conditioning and a kitchen on the horizon, but life hasn’t always been easy for one of the oldest rowing clubs in Cumbria.

Founded in 1859, Talkin Tarn ARC has since seen change on a monumental scale. From a thriving rowing, pleasure boat and sailing club in the early 1900s, the club began to suffer by the end of the century – its 1970’s boathouse in terminal decline and given a five-year life-span. Something had to be done, and quickly.


The club’s 150th anniversary presented the ideal opportunity for a change and in February 2009 ‘Project 150’ was launched. This was an ambitious attempt by a club with only 50 members to raise the £250,000 needed to build a new boathouse within the year.

A sizeable grant – together with a Sport Development Plan format and help negotiating a 99-year lease from Carlisle City Council – from British Rowing set the club well on its way to reaching the £250,000 target, and securing the services of Sir Matthew Pinsent as Project Patron ensured that Talkin Tarn’s Project 150 was high on the local media’s agenda.

‘The club house has been here for 30 years and it has done its time,’ Sir Matthew said, on a trip to visit Talkin’s ailing facilities in 2009. ‘This club is a success and has been here for 150 years. I am happy to do all I can to help ensure it is still here for generations to come. Rowing clubs like this are the lifeblood of the sport and it is vital that they continue to thrive.’

It took almost two years and a lot of hard work to raise the funds needed, but in October 2010 sufficient money had been raised to enable work to begin and, with the necessary planning permission having been granted, the go ahead to begin construction was finally given.

Fast forward a couple of years and Talkin Tarn is now a hub of activity, attracting rowers and gym-goers alike to the new gym and hosting a fleet of new boats in a revamped boathouse.

The club has branched out to the University of Cumbria and local schools, and membership has rocketed by more than 50% in the past two years alone.

‘Right from the very beginning the club pulled together and everyone was involved in some form,’ said Club Chairman Mike Dodd. ‘From the fun sides of fund raising, to the endless amounts of meetings – it’s absolutely amazing what can be achieved when so many people get behind such a worthwhile cause.’

Saturday 31st March will see the official opening of Talkin Tarn’s new boathouse, and the club plans to celebrate this huge milestone by holding a Club Scratch Quad Regatta and BBQ. The day will also be used to christen the club’s remaining Wintech Double – part-funded by an ex-member’s family in his memory.

Event Organiser Gill Houston said: ‘The official opening of the boathouse is a chance for all members to give themselves a pat on the back and look at what they have accomplished. Everyone has worked really hard for this new boathouse and they all deserve a day to enjoy it.’

With the Olympics just around the corner, rowing in this country is set to get a real boost and rowing in Cumbria is set to hit the heights as well. This part of the country might not be so quiet in the near future.