ROWING enthusiasts and day-trippers have been urged to “stay away” from this weekend’s Durham Regatta.

The 188-year-old event returns to the River Wear in Durham today and tomorrow, after a two-year absence due to bad weather in 2019 and the Covid spread last year.

It will be on a scaled down basis, with members of the public urged not to attend, despite the good weather.

Regatta chairman Nigel van Zwanenberg said: “It seems unusual to ask for the public to stay away, but Covid restrictions mean that there are to be none of the usual riverbank entertainments.

“The only way the regatta will be able to go ahead within Covid guidelines is if spectators stay away.

“The only activity will be rowing on the river.

“Given the expected good weekend weather, people may find this difficult to accept, but we reiterate that spectators should not come along to watch, otherwise there is a real concern that the event will need to be called off.”

Rowing takes place from 8am for most of the day on both days, but only over the short course today due to ongoing repair work on New Elvet Bridge.