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History of the Club

All that we had ...

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The shed, a cricket pavilion from Annfield Plain, costing £300, brought over and put up by members, had not yet come to Whickhope. This was finally put up and declared fit for use by a Works Officer in October 1983.

'Resolution' (lain MungalI) and 'Fable' (Charles and May McPhail) were the largest yachts, most members sailing in 15 to 22 feet size, not in the comfort experienced today. Racing was popular, members were keen, but all the races were friendly. There must have been some bad weather, but those days seemed to be sunshine and racing winds.

Membership had increased to 63 by 1987. The Motor Cruising section was still separate. After many years, in 1985, because both sections sailed at Whickhope, it was suggested it made sense to amalgamate the Motor Cruiser Club with the Yacht Club. This finally happened on January lst 1993 under the Yacht Club name.

Two mooring buoys, bow and stern, and laid north / south against the prevailing winds caused much discomfort for the boats and eventually, in 1983, they were re-laid east to west. Much later, in 1989, these were changed to the swinging moorings we have today. It cost £150 per mooring plus diver costs of £300 a day. This was paid for by the £6000 per year paid through Kielder Water Club to Northumbrian Water for maintaining the moorings.

The clubhouse at Leaplish, the green hut, was formerly the construction site laboratory which was re-erected about where the Leaplish conference centre / swimming pool is now. Everyone had to take a turn at galley duty, which became more controversial and a nuisance as some good sailing weather was missed.

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Building the marina at Leaplish ...

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Derek, David, Iain and Cecil fitting fingers to the marina

At this time, in the beginning, the building was also shared by the Reivers of Tarset who ran a boat hire/sailing school from it before they got their own building at the head of the west slipway. Their building is now the Bunkbarn.

Caroline Waitt was the first "Water Sports Officer" and she dealt with registration, not only for club members but also for the large number of day visitors who brought their own boats to Kielder in the early years. Caroline served for the I982-84 seasons and she was strict. Yachts and owners had to conform to Northumbrian Water Rules, for example, flares on board were checked and all boats had to pass an engine noise test before Caroline allowed them to stay on the water.

Alan Hetherington came after Caroline for the next two seasons. He lived on site in a caravan when on duty and did much to reduce the theft and vandalism prevalent at Leaplish at that time.

One of his reports included the following incident which occurred on 30th July 1987:

  "Six youths aged 16 - 18 tried to use the Reivers rescue boat, but had no petrol. They then broke into the petrol store, filled milk bottles for petrol bombs and threw them behind Reivers' building. Later an attempt was made to start a dumper truck The next morning the police collected them from their tents and they were charged."

Boats on moorings at Whickhope did not escape, on one night 20 were broken into. Following this many members avoided using strong padlocks on the cabin door, better to have a broken padlock than a smashed door.

After many negotiations, Northumbrian Water (before privatisation), built a magnificent new clubhouse, at an estimated cost of £300,000, which is now the Boat Inn at Leaplish (This is much changed from the original building). Grants were applied for from the English Tourist Board, who wanted the toilets to be made public. The clubhouse was opened by David Scott Cowper on Monday, 6th June 1988.

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