IT was a bittersweet weekend for young Hexham rowers who were preparing to represent the Northern region at the season’s opening national regatta on Saturday.

Strong winds caused by Storm Hannah led to the event, at Peterborough, being cancelled because of forecasted wind speeds of up to 50mph.

But Pauline and Geoff Higgins, of Hexham’s Queen Elizabeth High School, found a solution to soften the blow for the 14 selected QEHS rowers.

The Hexham youngsters still travelled to Peterborough, where they embarked on a 3km training jog after a six hour bus journey.

The following day, the rowers were treated to a tour of other national rowing venues, which included Dorney Lake, which was used during the 2012 London Olympics, and a visit Eton Rowing Centre.

The group initially planned to watch the Great Britain Junior Trials Regatta, but the event was also postponed due to the weather.

Nevertheless, they toured the venue, and also spent time at the National Rowing and River Museum at Henley on Thames. The rowers even found time to stop off at the National Water Sports Centre, at Holme Pierrepont in Nottingham, on the way home.

Pauline said: “Following the cancellation of the national regatta due to Storm Hannah, we hatched a plan to soften the blow.

“After arriving at Peterborough and taking part in a training jog around the course on Friday, we had a hearty meal and an overnight stay, before continuing the tour on Saturday.

“It was an interesting weekend based around rowing. There was a lot to see and do, and I think everyone both enjoyed and benefitted from the trip. The disappointment of the cancelled racing became a fading memory.”

On arrival back at Hexham, Pauline and Geoff were presented with flowers and chocolates by the young rowers.