Basingstoke Canal Canoe Club Latest News
Explore Course April 2022
Kayak Explore - Touring 23rd & 24th April 2022
Pina and Fi led the 2 day kayak explore course. The first one of these that we have run at the club. The course was fully booked with 6 keen candidates for the weekend.
The group already had good kayak skills, the majority having already completed their Discover course last year and having got in plenty of paddles since.
On the first morning we checked their existing basic skill levels and talked about becoming more efficient paddlers for longer distance trips. Looking at key techniques for this, such as forward paddling, connectivity, edging of boats and better blending of paddle strokes. We also looked at some skills for avoiding obstacles in the water with draw strokes on the move and also some bow rudders. Some key points were covered about looking after each other as a group and being as prepared as possible.
Knowledge wise we covered licensing for boats and also invasive non-native species and biosecurity.
In the afternoon we got very wet. Initially practicing some towing and easy rescue scenarios then onto our low braces which naturally led into capsizes. We generally had lots of fun learning and practicing different methods of self rescues, and rescuing each other until we were all exhausted.
Day 2 dawned bright and sunny. Meeting at Mytchett initially we did a trip planning session, looking at the information we need to know to plan even a simple trip just for a group of friends and how to find that information using various sources. We then planned a trip further up the Canal from Crookham up to Barley Mow and loaded up the boats. Tying on boats was part of the session but everyone was already very competent so we just added a few key tips and improvements and off we went.
The trip was very relaxed with lunch at Barley Mow on the picnic benches and we then returned at a leisurely pace having a nice chat as all good trips should. With a minor extension to Zebon copse swing bridge we then ended our trip and returned to the club for the usual boat clean down and sum up.
We are pleased to say that everyone passed and hopefully had a fun weekend too. As coaches we certainly enjoyed ourselves and we hope that this has helped inspire some confidence in others in their own skills and enable them to start to plan some trips further afield.
The new club touring boats were a real bonus for the course and meant everyone found a quality boat that fitted them. Equally helpful were the new flash paddles, bouyancy aids and spraydecks which kept us drier, made us more efficient and helped make us look and feel more professional.
Upper Thames Trip April 2022
On Saturday 9 April Pina ,Fiona, Jane, Rick, Keith, Anne, Brian and Tom met at Cricklade to paddle 17Km of the uppermost reaches of the River Thames. A local man assured us that we’d need to portage our craft the first 100m as the river was totally impassible, many had tried before and failed. Pina and Fiona did a recce along the Thames Path and informed us that we’d all get through although it might be a tight squeeze for the canoe. They were right and with the canoe turned on it’s side we squeezed that through too (don’t worry QM it was our own canoe). Though a number of other trees had fallen across the river we were able to paddle past all of them with a little sawing, sliding and shimmying.
The sun shone most of the day although it was a little cool even in the sunshine. There were few other craft on the water apart from a couple of young men who launched their canoe just after us intending to paddle to London. We passed a very well behaved flock of swans, juveniles we thought, not yet in protective parent mode. We spent a few minutes practicing our ferry gliding just before stopping for lunch. Our ‘high tea’ stop, just before Lechlade, attracted a large herd of young bovine creatures all jostling for a look at the strange humans with their brightly coloured plastic things, which might be worth licking to see if they were tasty. We have to admit, removing cow slobber from our kayaks didn’t feature anywhere on our risk assessment. Landing at Lechlade we trolleyed our boats to the car park. A good paddle, a beautiful day, great company. What more could one ask for?