Thames Valley Trial Head Parents Guide
Eton College Rowing Centre, Dorney Lake, off Court Lane, Dorney, Windsor, SL4 6QP Tel: 01753 832756
Access by Road
- The nearest motorway access is M4, Junction 7
- Exit Junction 7 and go left at end of slip road to A4/Maidenhead
- Pass through one set of traffic lights
- Turn left after 500m at superstore roundabout onto B3026, signposted Dorney/Eton
- Pass back over M4, entering Dorney village
- Right, at left-hand curve, into Court Lane, signposted Dorney Reach and Lake
- Pass Dorney Court and Walled Garden Centre entrance
- After 400m enter Dorney Lake site through large double gates straight ahead
- Follow perimeter road left of water to Boathouse at far end
- Park in main car park nearby or in the separate Eton Suite area
Eton Rowing Lake is the Venue for the Olympic Rowing events. There are several events held here each year and when it is not safe to be on the river we will sometimes hold our training sessions here. The lake is a little over 2 kilometes long and is man made. Usually there is free parking on the right shortly after the entrance; otherwise there is often a charge for parking along the side of the lake. This is a stunning place and it is worth wandering down to the boat house and getting a peek at the Eton School's facilities: all clean and shiny and tidily stowed!
When you get there
Come and find our Boats: about 100m before the boat hose there is a trailer park, though space is limited and sometimes we find we are based in the adjacent field. When you arrive please sign your son or daughter in.
The boats will need to be rigged ready for the first division so PLEASE BRING YOUR SPANNERS to help the children and coaches. The boats will have to be carried to the lake and they are heavy so again parental help would be appreciated., particularly since there are often hold ups getting on the water.
As a spectator you will have some time to kill, usually there is someone selling hot drinks and rolls and sometimes the Boat house is open for snacks, this is usually the warmest place so tends to be very full of parents, and towards the end of the day sweaty athletes.
This is a "Head Race": a time trial: the crews will all paddle up to the start where they will wait their turn to race down. The race is over 1800 meters, crews are released at 10-15 second intervals to race down, a good sign of success is to catch or overtake as many other crews as possible and not be caught. Parents often line the bank shouting encouragement and then race to the pontoons to help with getting the boat out of the water and the students warmed up and reunited with their shoes.
Race times are published in the window of the boat house office shortly after the end of the division, unfortunately if there are other crews in later divisions competing in the same race the final placings aren't available until the end of the last division.
At the end of the day we will need to de-rig the boats, and put all the kit on the trailer to take back to Longridge, with lots of help we can do this quickly, and help from tall dads is very much appreciated to get the boats back on the trailer.
The athletes will need plenty of warm clothes and ideally lightweight waterproofs, without a doubt they will get cold sitting in the boat waiting to race. Lycra leggings or tight fitting tracksuit bottoms don't get tangled in the slide and for the same reason a short waterproof jacket hat and gloves. They will race in their PE tops.