Sunny weather, a bank holiday and the start of National Go Canoeing Week – a confluence of events that demonstrate fate has truly smiled on the outdoor activity enthusiast this weekend. Whatever you had planned for the coming days, rips those plans up – you are going canoeing.
National Go Canoeing Week starts on Saturday 26th May and runs until Sunday 3rd June, with events that paddlers of all standards can enjoy. The organisers of the event have set a target of 45,000 miles that they hope to hit by tallying up every trip on the water taken over the course of the week.
There are several ways for you to get involved and contribute your own miles to the goal, and if you’re already a keen paddler the easiest way is just to get out on the water and log how far you go. If you’re new to the sport, however, there will be starter sessions and guided tours offered by canoe clubs throughout the UK. You can find a list of clubs on the Go Canoeing website broken down by area, and what activities your local club is offering over the course of the week.
Another way to get involved in the festivities is by attending the Paddle In The Park event that takes place on 2nd and 3rd June at the Holme Pierrepont National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham. You can take a vessel out for a spin on the white-water courses at the centre, attend workshops, or try a range of flat (rather than raging) water activities like stand-up paddleboarding, lazy tubing and flat-water raft racing. It’s just £5 apiece for a day pass for access to either the flat-water or white-water activities, while a pass for the white-water workshops cost £15.
If you are planning on canoeing by yourself during the week then consider celebrating the occasion by trying a new route. There are 140 canoe trails around the UK to explore, and six challenge routes. The latter are between six and 25 miles (10km-40km) long and dotted all over Britain, with the 25-mile route around Loch Awe in Scotland considered the most testing. You can find more details about the challenge routes on the Go Canoeing website – just remember to make sure you log your trip to contribute to the overall challenge afterwards.