World Gig Championships return to the Isles of Scilly after two years

  • Watch Sam Blackledge's report

Thousands of people attended the first day of the annual World Gig Championships in the Isles of Scilly which has finally made a return after two years.

Teams of newcomers and experienced rowers lined up today (29 April) for a weekend of competitive racing - a focal point of the year in the Islands.

The World Championships were first held in 1990, only attracting a few crews from Cornwall, but this year, 120 teams will take part.

The Chairman of the organising committee, Kevin Sherris, said this year's events have been welcomed by everyone.

This year, 120 teams are taking part.

"It's been a bit of a strategic nightmare really but we got there eventually" he said. "Looking at the faces of the people here they're absolutely loving it.

"They're not having to think about Covid - they're just here to enjoy themselves", he added.

One participant told ITV News: "It's the ultimate test for gig rowers. Putting yourself against all the best crews, seeing where you are and how you've developed.

"It's extremely competitive on the water and in the bars afterwards as well".

Another participant, who was a newcomer this year, said: "I'm expecting it to be quite hard, but a lot of fun, with boats everywhere - just an amazing experience."

The Championships are also set to provide a much needed boost to tourism which makes up around 85% of the economy.

"It's a great boost having the island so full", one shop owner said.

"The majority of spend will be in the pubs but it's still the fact that the islands are full to bursting has got to be good", she added.