They came to Bowness from all over Furness and West Cumbria in September 1993.

Rarely had so many total beginners gathered on the same day to do some serious racing against each other in rowing boats.

They came with their cushions, with their hands swathed in sticking plaster with survival kits the oarsmen and oarswomen who were to compete in an event twice as long as the celebrated Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race.

Only a few had rowed before. A consultant from Furness General Hospital had rowed for Pembroke when at Oxford; a member of the Ulverston CID team had rowed on Loch Lomond; one or two had rowed on the Fitness Suite machines at Barrow Leisure Centre.

But to most out there on the glassy surface of Windermere, it was the first time out to help St Mary's Hospice raise funds for an extension at its Ulverston base.

The event was an eight-mile sponsored row from Bowness to Ambleside and back.

So, with at least £25 sponsorship riding on each competitor, the 36 teams started out in intervals in boats donated by the Bowness Bay Boating Company.

Early morning mist was still rising off the water as the first of four teams from the Sheffield Hotel disappeared into the distance. Their rivals followed as the sun broke through and spirits rose, enthusiasm in every stroke.

Two-man crew David Hanson, from Bowness, and Peter Steele, a Barrow fireman, set a new record of 1hr 58 mins.

Also in 1993 an early start from Wasdale Head meant members of the Barrow and South Lakeland Youth Hostel Association were quickly able to climb Scafell Pike - and boost the St Mary's Hospice appeal.

The six walkers - George Binstead, Roy Jackson, John Robinson, Mike Fenton, Brian Richmond and Derek Walmsley raised a total of £750 after their 23-mile sponsored walk.