Ann Glanville

The year is 1842 and you’re biting your nails in Le Havre harbour.

You’re in an all-male French rowing crew, waiting for your opposition.

The trouble is, it’s four women, skippered by the greatest female rower of all time.

Meet Ann Glanville of Saltash, all 6ft (and the rest) of her, with shoulders as broad as Brunel’s Bridge and enough children to nigh on fill a pair of rowing eights.

You’re heard about her feats.

How she earns her keep by ferrying corn, meat, drapery, passengers and the odd carthorse across the River Tamar in any storm. 

How she’s left grown men in sweaty tears at regattas from Liverpool to Hull to…Le Havre.  

Yes. Today, it’s down to you.

You spot her Achilles heel – she’s a professional and you’re just lowly amateurs, so you pull out. 

The referee tells you to put your toys back in the boat and fires his gun.

You lose by a country mile.

She also wipes the floor with a bunch of scratch sailors, walking away with her 3 fellow rowers held aloft as well as a hefty wager.

You turn to the sedate sport of boules while she returns to Saltash and is known as MOTHER for evermore until her dying days deep into her 80’s.

To this day, she gets a daily dousing at Caradon Rowing Club where they named a gig after her mammoth reach.