Wallingford Long Distance Sculling Head was first held in 1974. Originally competed over a 6000 metre upstream course from Moulsford Boathouse to Wallingford Marina, this was dropped in favour of a 4000 metre course from Cholsey Ferry to the same finish because of difficulties overtaking in the narrow channel at the Four Arches Railway Bridge.
Over the years both the start and the finish lines have been moved due to “outside influences” (trees growing, boat houses being moved etc) and the course raced in 2009 had been reduced to just over 3600m. In 2010 the course has been lengthened to match the Wallingford Head of the River course and the race is now contested over 4250m from Moulsford Railway Bridge to the OUBC boat house at Wallingford Marina.
The event was originally in one division for single sculls only. A second division was added in 1990 to enable competitors to double up. Since 1991, the event has included divisions for double and quadruple sculls. Events and divisions are set to encompass all classes of rowing for all ages and both sexes equally in order to promote participation by the full spectrum of oarspersons.
Many top international oarsmen and oarswomen have competed at Wallingford Sculls, including Steve Redgrave, Greg Searle, Guy Pooley, Anne Marden, Johnny Searle, Dan Topolski, Colin Cusack, Mike Diserens, Eric Sims, Martin Cross, James Cracknell, Ali Gill, Dot Blackie, Sue Appelboom, Simon Berrisford, Wade Hall-Craggs, Rupert Obholzer, Nicky Dale, Guin Batten, Debbie Flood, Simon Goodbrand, Helen Casey and Paul Mattick – not all as winners!