MORE than 100 rowers gathered on the River Severn yesterday morning to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the British Rowing Tour.

With oars at the ready, 108 rowers met at Worcester Rowing Club on Grand Stand Road before starting a three day journey rowing from Worcester to Upton, before going on to Tewkesbury, Gloucester and finishing at Purton near the southern end of the Sharpness Canal on Sunday afternoon.

The 70.5km tour — this year organised by Upton Rowing Club — welcomes all ages and abilities to take part.

Peter Barker, club president, said the rowers are looking forward to the next few days.

He said: "We've spent the best part of a year organising this event. We last organised the event in 2008 and this year it has been much bigger. We've had about 100 rowers to get in to 20 boats, and on Sunday we'll have about 30 more rowers joining us. It takes a lot to organise who is going where but it should be a fantastic event."

Last year's event took place in Scotland, and the year before saw rowers manoeuvre the waters of the Thames, but Mr Barker said it is nice to have this year's event at home.

"It's great for us to host the event, as it draws a lot of people into the area. It's very enjoyable for everyone, it's great fun but it is hard work. It's tough rowing 30km one day, 20km the next, and then another 20km in the final day. It is more about endurance than high performance — although it's low intensity you are rowing for hours so it isn't easy. It is a good workout.

"We really do welcome people of all ages. This year we have rowers in their 70s, a man in his 80s, and this year we have more women taking part," he said.

Although the weather is supposed to improve over the weekend, Mr Barker said he did worry at the start of the event.

He said: "The weather is improving as we go on, but I was concerned about the wind yesterday morning. But it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, and we've been able to row through some rough waters."