Olympic Test Event: World Rowing Junior Championships @ Eton Dorney

By London_Duncan Last edited 83 months ago
Olympic Test Event: World Rowing Junior Championships @ Eton Dorney
Experienced spectators staked out the territory three quarters of the way along the 2000m course, but towards the start, where we presume most general admission punters will picnic next year, there was plenty of room to get a good view of the action.
Experienced spectators staked out the territory three quarters of the way along the 2000m course, but towards the start, where we presume most general admission punters will picnic next year, there was plenty of room to get a good view of the action.
Ample car parking (£10) along the bank this week, too, but for the Olympics it will all be at Windsor Racecourse, just over a temporary bridge
Ample car parking (£10) along the bank this week, too, but for the Olympics it will all be at Windsor Racecourse, just over a temporary bridge
Plenty of room on the grass to watch, but next year there will be grandstands for 20,000 spectators here
Plenty of room on the grass to watch, but next year there will be grandstands for 20,000 spectators here
The single scoreboard was excellent, but we hope there are more next year. They should keep the course commentators, incidentally. Knowledgable and engaging
The single scoreboard was excellent, but we hope there are more next year. They should keep the course commentators, incidentally. Knowledgable and engaging
Only one big screen each side, too, so far. People seemed to refer to the scoreboard instead, but they will be vital for spectators nearer the start in 2012
Only one big screen each side, too, so far. People seemed to refer to the scoreboard instead, but they will be vital for spectators nearer the start in 2012
We doubt you'll get this clean a shot of the finish line next year. We loved the bubbles rippling up from a submerged hosepipe to show the oarsfolk where to heave that final stroke
We doubt you'll get this clean a shot of the finish line next year. We loved the bubbles rippling up from a submerged hosepipe to show the oarsfolk where to heave that final stroke
For now the bar is king by the finish line. With ice creams nearby too, just the place to be in Friday's sticky sunshine
For now the bar is king by the finish line. With ice creams nearby too, just the place to be in Friday's sticky sunshine
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Food prices from the sole outlet were not exorbitant and the selection was reasonable.
Food prices from the sole outlet were not exorbitant and the selection was reasonable.
Not many bathroom facilities on offer, but plenty for the demand on the day. Sadly, no taps to fill water bottles though
Not many bathroom facilities on offer, but plenty for the demand on the day. Sadly, no taps to fill water bottles though
There was also fun to be had away from watching the races, particularly at this equipment manufacturer and at the mini-games for kids offered enthusiastically by a well know confectioner
There was also fun to be had away from watching the races, particularly at this equipment manufacturer and at the mini-games for kids offered enthusiastically by a well know confectioner
Certainly a day out we'd recommend if you're thinking of going this weekend. Hard to draw conclusions for next year though when the scale and arrangements change considerably
Certainly a day out we'd recommend if you're thinking of going this weekend. Hard to draw conclusions for next year though when the scale and arrangements change considerably

On Friday morning Londonist ventured across the M25 to the lake at the Eton Dorney venue near Maidenhead and Windsor to take in the World Rowing Junior Championships which are doubling as LOCOG's test event for the 2012 Olympics. Overall, we had an excellent time, but it was hard to draw many strong conclusions regarding the Games experience because this week's hundreds will be next year's 30,000, one third of which are likely to be on the grass near the start with the others in temporary stands further up.

This week you should set your SatNav for Court Lane, Windsor SL4 6QP (or Eton College Rowing Centre if you have that POI), but beware. It may try to take you down Marsh Lane to the venue from the West or up Huntercombe Lane to the M4 on your return, both of which are closed to event traffic (you'll be sent down Lake End). Also, avoid any attempt to steer you into Dorney Court - you need to drive on another 400 yards. The good news is that the signs on nearby roads are plentiful and clear. For the Olympics themselves, incidentally, this won't be an issue since there'll be no parking on site, with all drivers being directed to Windor Racecourse where a temporary footbridge will lead to the lake.

The entry price of £10 (£15 this weekend) wasn't bad for an adult getting nearly three hours of international youth sport, though having to pay the same price each for a pair of accompanying eight year olds seemed unnecessarily harsh, especially when the same price would get you a "family" ticket admitting one further adult and child.  Programmes are £4 and good value. Take a look at our gallery for more observations on the Eton Dorney experience.

Last Updated 06 August 2011