Gillian’s journey, week five: Hard work pays off for Borderer and her crew


Gillian Paterson, aged 21, originally from Melrose and now studying at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, is president of the university’s boat club. She has spent the last few months preparing her crew to face rivals Aberdeen University Boat Club in their bid to take home the title of rowing champions in the 19th Aberdeen Asset Management Universities’ Boat Race. This week Gillian concludes her diary tracking her road to success.

On Saturday my crew finally faced our rivals for the 19th Aberdeen Asset Management Universities’ Boat Race, the north-east’s equivalent of the Oxford v Cambridge boat race, swapping the waters of London’s Tideway for Aberdeenshire’s River Dee.

With our club having won the coveted trophy in both the previous two races, we were hoping to make it a hat-trick and stop rivals Aberdeen from clinching their 15th win.

It was a highly-anticipated event for both my crew and I, plus the crew at Aberdeen University Boat Club and the wonderful crowd of friends, family and spectators who turn out in masses year after year dressed in team colours with their chants, banners and messages of support.

Following weeks of relentless training, the time had come for my crew to put their fitness, stamina and strength to the test. After a few words of good luck, I led the team carrying the rowing boat – clad in the traditional Robert Gordon University purple and black one-pieces – through the crowds of eager supporters down to the banks of the river for the title race at 1.45pm, which proved to be a close-run contest.

And it is with great pride that I can announce that we successfully achieved victory for the third year in a row, winning with a record-breaking time of seven minutes and 47 seconds, beating Aberdeen University by two lengths.

My crew showcased skill and determination with every stroke, racing to the finishing line where the crowd of eagle-eyed spectators burst into celebratory applause. We were full of happiness when we were called to the stage to collect the winner’s trophy for the third year in a row. It must be said though, Aberdeen University put up a great fight and we look forward to competing in next year’s 20th Aberdeen Asset Management Universities’ Boat Race already.

Watch this space.