Tyne river row

The team will be attempting the 16 mile stretch of he river Tyne from the A1 bridge to Tyne mouth lifeboat station on 19th September 2015.

The crews will include four members of the Tynemouth lifeboat.

The row will commence from Newburn  sailing club slipway at approx. 9.30 am.

The row is expected to take about 5 hrs, calling at the Newcastle pontoon at about noon.

The recovery point will be at South Shields sailing club.


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The “Riley” was transported to the start point slipway at Newburn on Friday evening 18th Sept, and the bulk of the crew stayed at the hotel in South shields.

After an early start on Saturday, the rest of the crew arrived and we took a mini-bus to the launch site. The boat was launched by 9.30am and the 4 crew from Tynemouth lifeboat joined us for the trip.

With a 3-4 knot ebb tide running,we soon reached Newcastle quay for a brief stop and rest.

Leaving at 11.30, we proceeded down river to North Shields, another 11miles. On passing the lifeboat station we decided to head for the recovery slipway at S,Shields dinghy club. We had to wait a while for sufficient water to get the boat on the trailer, but after finishing the Rum supplied by Graham and Archie, we recovered the boat and headed for home.

The row was successfully completed in just under five hours. Our thanks to all involved.


Royal Jubilee Pageant

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The William Riley had the honour of being invited to join the 1000 rowing boats of various sizes and designs to take place in the celebrations for the Queens Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

This took place on the Thames from Barnes to Tower bridge on 5th May 2012.                         .

Our regular crew travelled down to Chiswick on the Friday to a specially designated camp site at Chiswick Sports Club.

The row was a spectacular event with a wonderful sail past her majesty the Queen on the Royal barge.

The Armada of boats continued down the Thames to Tower Bridge, a distance of 7 miles non-stop rowing.

Here the flotilla dispersed and the crews made their way back to Chiswick.

Unfortunately the weather was atrocious with heavy rain for most of the trip, but all involved had a wonderful and memorable time.



In June 2015, the Riley was transported to Wells in Norfolk for filming an advertisement for the Lloyds bank 250th anniversary.

This film was shown many times on TV, and this photo appeared on large bill-boards all over London and major cities.

You can read more about it here.

Dunbar Scotland

Another long trip to Scotland for the Dunbar RNLI anniversary.

Pete again accompanied the boat, and after being pulled through the streets of Buckie , we had a trip on Dunbar’s offshore severn class lifeboat.

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Port Maddoc

Towards the end of 2009, the Riley went to Poole for the RNLI open day, Fylingthorpe and Newcastle again.

In May 2010, she was taken to Wales for a row at Criccieth andd Port Madoc.

Dave Charlton, Sarah, Pete and wife Ali, all joined the boat and had a good reception and row in Port Madoc harbour.

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She then went on to Criccieth completing a sponsored row with their lifeboat crew.

On returning to Whitby, she then had static displays at Pannett Park and Skipton.

Caledonian canal & Loch Ness

September 2005.  By far our most adventurous trip to date.

This was the 400 mile journey up to Corpach, then launch into the Loch, up Neptune’s staircase ( 8 locks), and into the Caledonian canal.

The team for this event was :- Cox PeteThomson,  Stroke Graham Chaddock, Steve Cook, Paul Headlam, Tim Hicking, Graham Hughes & Roger Turton.

Lifeboat crews from Mallaig, and Inverness, and members of the RNLI fundraising staff also joined the boat for part of the trip.

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Series of locks

After a slipway launch at Corpach marina, an interesting trip through the series of locks of the “Neptune’s Staircase” began.

Some 20 miles later, down the series of locks at  fort William, and into Loch Ness.

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Peaceful waters of the Caledonian Canal

The journey up the lock to Drumnadrochit was pretty fast with a very strong South- west wing blowing us along in a choppy sea.

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After an overnight stay, we moved on next day to finish the journey at Inverness, a total distance of 64 miles on water.

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Nearing the end of the loch
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The full team

Returning to Whitby with a round trip of 800 miles.

Scarborough to Whitby 2009

The Riley was taken by road to Scarborough in August, and rowed the 18 miles back to Whitby.

She was crewed by a Sub-aqua in memory of a colleague lost non a dive. The Cox for the day was Tom Clark, the Scarborough Coxswain

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Scarborough to Whitby



Apart from static visits to Whitley bay, Newcastle, Fylingthorpe, Bradford, and Whitby Flag day, the next Major trip for the Riley was to Fleetwood in Lancashire, again for their anniversary.

The boat appeared in a nearby show before being taken through the streets of Fleetwood pulled by the local lifeboat crew.