Olympic star goes back to her roots to open new £1 million Edinburgh boathouse

Olympic gold medallist and six-time world champion Dame Katherine Grainger returned to her rowing roots to officially open St Andrew Boat Club’s new£1 million boathouse which has been a decade in the making at Meggetland on the Union Canal.

By Bill Lothian
Monday, 7th February 2022, 11:34 pm
Updated Monday, 7th February 2022, 11:54 pm
Dame Katherine Grainger, Olympic gold medallist and six times world champion, returned to her rowing roots to officially open the St Andrew Boat Club’s new £1 million boathouse. She is pictured, centre, with Sarah Whitley, club president and captain Lindsay Flockhart, current Chair of UK Sport
Dame Katherine Grainger, Olympic gold medallist and six times world champion, returned to her rowing roots to officially open the St Andrew Boat Club’s new £1 million boathouse. She is pictured, centre, with Sarah Whitley, club president and captain Lindsay Flockhart, current Chair of UK Sport

Dame Katherine, current chairman of UK Sport, cut a ribbon to symbolically open the facility, which has space for dozens of boats as well as a land training and social space.

Edinburgh’s only open rowing club, which celebrated its 175th birthday last year, has 140 members with active rowers aged between 13 and 82 – and Dame Katherine is an honorary member.

The build was financed through fundraising initiatives by club members, investment from sportscotland and donations from charitable trusts.

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The boathouse sits adjacent to the club’s current home at Meggetland on the Union Canal, and hosts space for dozens of boats, as well as changing facilities and a land training and social space.

Dame Katherine, who is one of the UK’s most successful Olympians of all time with one gold and four silver medals, is an honorary member of St Andrew Boat Club, having actively rowed for the club and represented the club throughout her Olympic career.

St Andrew Boat Club celebrated its 175th anniversary last year – and has been going from strength to strength, with members representing Scotland and GB at junior and senior level. It currently has around 140 members, with active rowers ranging in age from 13 to 82.

Club president Sarah Whitley said: “After over a decade of planning, this is a great moment in the club’s proud 175-year history.

“The new facilities will be a game changer for us and allow us to offer many more opportunities for people to experience rowing on the Union Canal.

“Our ambition is to build the best club in Scotland, in terms of supporting top-class performance but also giving people from all backgrounds the chance to try out rowing. The new boathouse will help us do that.”