CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Devon Life today CLICK HERE

Steve Lock: a great gig to get

PUBLISHED: 10:00 25 July 2017

Steve Lock is

Steve Lock is "living the dream", travelling the world instructing gig rowers

Archant

Judi Spiers talks to a North Devonian who has found himself travelling the world to instruct newcomers in a sport close to his heart

“Living the dream!” That’s all North Devon’s Steve Lock can say when asked how he’s enjoying his life in Bermuda coaching the pilot gig racing team. Knowing Bermuda well and seeing him in his new habitat I know what he means. So how did ‘Locky’, as he is known to everyone, who ran a string of successful pubs in North Devon including Instow’s The Wayfarer and The Quay and the Cranford Inn at Cranford, wash up on Bermuda’s tropical shores?

Well it was all down Debbie Jones and her husband, both members of the Bermuda Historical Society. Debbie took up the story as we sat at the St George’s Pilot Gig Racing club in the blazing sun at 10 in the morning.

Over in the UK for their son’s wedding in Somerset, and with a daughter dating a Devonian, they decided on a few days in Devon which included a day out on Lundy. It was a freezing day and whilst waiting at Appledore to catch the boat they knocked on a café door which Locky, a member of the Appledore Pilot Gig Club, happened to be running.

Debbie reveals: “When we got inside there were gigs everywhere, pictures on the wall commentary playing everything.” Debbie explained to Locky that Bermuda had a history of gigs due to the way the island is structured.

Not beating about the bush Locky told her: “‘You’d better get gigs back - not for historical reasons but for racing.”

On her return to Bermuda Debbie met up with the historical society and Steve was invited over to sell the sport at a week of meetings with government and tourism officials. Locky, who I am convinced could sell ice creams to Inuits, won them over and landed himself a job teaching them how to row!

Steve Lock is Steve Lock is "living the dream", travelling the world instructing gig rowers

The cause was also helped by the discovery that Roger Gillett from the Tourism Authority was a former gig rower from Rame in Cornwall! Locky, Roger and I actually spent the best part of a fundraising evening at Debbie’s beautiful home telling Jethro jokes, which, I’m sorry to say don’t travel across the sea as well as Locky does but kept us happy!

But the locals have fallen in love with the gigs as Debbie says: “You can’t help but love them…they are the gig version of Thomas the Tank Engine!”

Locky has now trained over 300 rowers since he has been there with 105 in the club ranging from 16-75, mainly women. When asked in the press why mostly women one person, who shall remain nameless, apparently replied: “The men are really busy!”

“He got some stick for that” said Locky, “as all the ladies are mothers and most have two children!”

Well the Prime Minister was too busy but not so the Governor, George Ferguson.

The icing on the cake was the success of the Bermuda Ladies A team at the World Championships in the Isles of Scilly last year. They came 51st out of 152 teams. When you consider that the top 50 all go over the line almost together and that the team had barely been rowing for a year, were freezing and had never seen waves like it let alone another team rowing it was a brilliant result.

“At one point” Locky related somewhat misty eyed, “we had Falmouth behind us and Appledore’s ladies just to the right of us and I’m shouting ‘Ladies we can do this!’”

I’m told what he actually said you wouldn’t want your gran to hear in a commentary! “It was the best thing I’ve ever done in my gig rowing life,” he admitted.

Well that was then but Locky came back to Appledore last October to find an e-mail waiting from Kuwait. Apparently they had been following the progress of the Bermuda gig rowing via social media as they had had boats for three years but never rowed them properly and wondered if he would like to do in Kuwait what he had done in Bermuda?

As Locky says: “It was a no brainer! I picked up the e-mail on a Friday morning and I was in Kuwait Saturday night.”

For a man partial to beer and bacon he admits it has been “a massive culture shock”. But he adds that the people are kind and generous. He is just coming to the end of his stint stopping for Ramadan and summer when the temperatures reach 45-50 degrees!

Who knows what’ll be waiting for him when he gets back to Appledore.

Living the dream indeed!

Steve's original gig rowing roots were formed with the Appledore teamsSteve's original gig rowing roots were formed with the Appledore teams

Ten things Locky loves about Devon

1. The people (Appledore especially)

2. Hockings ice cream

3. Appledore Lifeboat

4. Hatherleigh Market

5. The farm shops

6. Coastline and beaches

7. It’s a county for all seasons

8. It’s next to Cornwall, my second favourite county.

9. There are places to hide from the madding crowds

10. Driving in the Devon lanes

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Devon Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Devon Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Devon Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from People

Friday, December 7, 2018

Devon Life received this heartfelt letter from Mr Michael Thompson, of Torbay, which is felt particularly poignant to share with our website audience at this time of year

Read more
Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Bursting with festive inspiration, KATE WILLIAMS seeks out the best presents for a perfect Devon Christmas

Read more
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Devon has had more than its fair share of high achievers over the years but how well do you know our county’s singers, authors, sportspeople, explorers and TV personalities? This is an edited version of a quiz compiled by MARGARET BRECKNELL in the December 2018 issue of Devon Life

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

PHILIP DALLING recalls two Exmoor legends who shared a deep love of the moor and its natural resources, and gained national fame through the media

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

In the month when we mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, STEVE ROBERTS highlights the terrible cost in human lives it inflicted on the county of Devon

Read more
Friday, November 16, 2018

Actor Tom Burke talks to JUDI SPIERS about his production of Don Carlos staged by his own theatre company Ara, in association with Exeter’s Northcott Theatre

Read more
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

In the latest in her series throughout 2018 profiling inspirational women, KATE HASKELL talks to England Women’s Cricket Captain, Heather Knight

Read more
Friday, October 26, 2018

There is more to Georgia Toffolo than an award-winning TV show, as HOLLY EELLS discovers

Read more
Friday, October 26, 2018

Striving to be the best in the world, homegrown Devon professional squash player Lyell Fuller is seeking sponsorship to help reach his goal. KATE WILLAMS finds out more

Read more
Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Tavistock Rugby Club in Devon is celebrating after being awarded a grant of £2,500 to fund private showers for referees at their Sandy Park ground, as part of rural energy provider Calor’s annual funding scheme

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Devon’s Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, also known as The Black Farmer, tells KATE WILLIAMS about his new book, Jeopardy, encouraging the embracing of risk to enrich life

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

As five members of Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton celebrate 125 years of collective volunteering, we look back on their time with the organisation

Read more
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

CAROLYN SEAGER reveals how long after her mother’s death she discovered her amazing career in the service of her country

Read more
Tuesday, September 18, 2018

An author known for her novels depicting life on the Channel Islands is nonetheless happiest writing from home here in Devon

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy



Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search