The Goring Gap Boat Club was founded in 1991 by a small group who enjoyed messing about on the river but who realised that most people who live in Goring and Streatley did not have access to one of the most beautiful reaches of the Thames. With this aim, some craft were acquired and a base was found at Thames Bank Nursing Home in Goring – the Boat Club was born. The principal aim of the Club was, and still is, to enable local people to enjoy this beautiful stretch of the river through the use of un-powered boats.
Later, whilst sitting in a local hostelry, the founder members of the Boat Club also raised the idea of reviving the Goring and Streatley Regatta. This had been a major local attraction for 26 years until the outbreak of the First World War. In 1992 the first modern day Goring and Streatley Regatta was held on its original site at Bishop’s field just above Cleeve Lock. Boats were borrowed, marquees raised, and a great time was had by all. The revived Regatta was declared a great success. Since then the Regatta, hosted by the Goring Gap Boat Club, has gone from strength to strength. Over 600 competitors took part in the many rowing and other boating events in last year’s event, with nearly 6000 people coming to join in the fun and enjoy the many bank side activities also provided in addition to the river activities.
We estimate that over the years well over 1500 local people have participated in the rowing and other water borne competitions, some of whom have gone on to compete at national level
When the club was first re-established it was based at the Boat House of the Thames Bank Nursing Home. However we had to leave that site when the Nursing Home was redeveloped, and since then the Goring Gap Boat Club has been trying to find a permanent new home. The Boat Club’s dilemma has been compounded by the lack of any obvious alternative site on the river despite an extensive search over the last 6 years. For a couple of years we were fortunate to be able to use the Swan Hotel in Streatley as a temporary base. We hoped to be able to build a boathouse on the site, but were unsuccessful in a number of planning applications.
However, just when we despaired of ever finding a new home, we were made a generous offer by the Oratory School who have a very well equipped boathouse at Whitchurch, a few miles downstream from Goring and Streatley. We were able to rack our boats at their boathouse, and launch from a hard standing onto a very picturesque stretch of river. We still kept our punts and rowing dinghy at the Swan.
In April 2012 the club moved – but not far. We have established our own racking and storage space adjacent to the Oratory boathouse, with independent access to the river. This is an interim arrangement and we are still working hard to find a permanent home in the Goring Gap, where we can finally keep our boats under cover, and fulfill our founding aims – enabling local people to enjoy a beautiful stretch of river.