About Nigel Perry

Webmaster, Treasurer and occasional paddler.

Symonds Yat Videos

A bit late, but I uploaded a couple of video clips from a recent club trip to YouTube, which you can see on our channel, or just watch here:

Getting in. Hilarity ensued as Nick’s dodgy helmet (attached to the front of his boat, rather than his head) appeared to disintegrate on impact. Even the fisherman thanked him for the laughs:

We then paddled upstream to the large rock, where a few of us enjoyed the initially daunting seal-launch. After his early doubts, Aaron enjoyed the experience so much he repeated it. As usual, Mike was left with the tricky problem of getting into his boat and launching without anyone holding onto the back of his boat to stop it sliding too early. To everyone’s disappointment, this didn’t go wrong:

 

 

Canal Clearance

On Sunday, a few of us helped to clear the canal of a lot of accumulated rubbish. We worked our way up from the Canal Basin, intending to meet up with the Canal Society and their boat Panther at Swan Lane (“Club Line”), where a skip had been placed. They were clearing the stretch of canal from their base at Wyken Basin.

Even for those of us who had wisely chosen to walk along the towpath, this turned out to be harder work than anticipated. The boats (Open Canadians towing Kiwi double kayaks for additional storage) were entirely full of rubbish before we reached Bridge 3! The walkers, along with Andy in his solo Canadian, then returned to the Basin, leaving the others to battle the windy conditions all the way to club line with their haul. And then all the way back again…

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Ironbridge Trip Video

I’m finally uploaded some video from this trip from Ironbridge to Bridgnorth, which we did back in April. It was a pleasant and mostly sunny float down the River Severn, which was flowing more rapidly than anyone expected, making the 8 miles quite an easy paddle:

 

Fun Day Videos

I finally got around to editing and uploading the Head Cam videos (Adam Cam and Perry Cam) from the inaugural Mercia Fun Day on 26th August.They give a flavour of the fun that all you members who didn’t show up missed. I’ve also added a new menu option under “Pictures” to our YouTube channel.

The first challenge involved Big Adam’s magnificent Duct Tape Kayak, which we all managed to paddle without falling in, despite the size being optimised for Sue. Nick came closest to disaster, on account of not being able to get his legs inside:

The balloon game was good fun, though I couldn’t work out how balloons that seemed to spontaneously explode while you were attaching them to your boat miraculously became near-indestructible when you tried to burst them with  a paddle:

Gunwhale bobbing, in which you attempt to propel an open canoe by balancing  precariously on the sides of the boat and bouncing up and down was attempted by several, with reasonable success:

General foolishness was also in evidence. It turns out that teenagers can jump further than you might think:

Adam tried out his freestyle moves with a camera attached to his helmet, so we get to see it from his point of view:

Finally, some stills:

Canal and River Trust takes over from British Waterways

As of today, responsibility for looking after about 2,000 miles of canals and rivers in England and Wales is transferred from British Waterways to a new charity, the Canal and River Trust. This represents a large transfer of public funds to the new organisation, and the trust will itself be seeking new sources of income.

Time will tell what difference (if any) this will make to the canal system in general, and “our” bit of it in particular, but I was interested to see that the Coventry Canal Basin, and some of our paddlers, are featured on the canoeing page of the trust’s website (but without revealing the location!).

Leamington Race

Or, notes from a reluctant Div 8 racer, part 3…

As a concession to Laurence’s incessant badgering, I agreed to do the Leamington canoe race. There were a number of positive aspects informing my decision: it was local, it wasn’t a wash-ridden canal, and I didn’t have any mountain biking planned for Sunday. What nobody bothered to explain to me until I had already committed is that the four miles are punctuated by an infeasibly large number of turns. And my turns are best described as “leisurely”. Tricked again!

My ancient asymmetrical paddles snapped the other evening during what I jokingly refer to as “training”. Many years of metal fatigue had finally taken their toll, and I was left clutching a very short single-bladed paddle in my left hand, and a quite long single-bladed paddle in my right hand. I managed to remain upright, but forward propulsion proved problematic. Having failed at the ‘J’ stroke, I settled on a technique that involved pushing myself along the canal bank with one hand, whilst using one of the blades with my other. This got me closer to the basin, until Adam returned in a Canadian to rescue me – once he’d stopped laughing.

But I digress. The demise of my own paddles means I’ve been trying to get to grips with the wing paddles that nearly everybody who races has been using for years. They are definitely more efficient, but I can’t yet sprint as fast with them as with my old paddles, and they aren’t as good for turning or support strokes. And every now and then, they fight back and try to pull me in – probably when I extend the stroke a little too far back. So all in all, I decided that Leamington wasn’t the place to make my debut winged appearance, and chose instead an old pair of paddles that had been languishing in the club for years.

Unlike previous races, where I set off slowly and got engulfed in wash, I decided to set off fast. Somewhat to my surprise, this meant I lead the race from the start until about half way, when the eventual winner overtook me at one of the numerous turns. I didn’t manage to negotiate any of the turns without resorting to a reverse sweep stroke, whereas she managed to get round fast using only forward strokes. And edging. I tried that on the next turn and only saved myself from falling in with a rapid and vigorous support stroke. With wing paddles I’d probably have swum.

I remained in second place until shortly before what turned out to be the end of the race. My heat-befuddled brain had lost count of the number of turns and was expecting more, so I was quite surprised to find myself sprinting against somebody trying to overtake me. It was all too much effort, so I slacked off and let her pass. Then came the bell, and it was all over. Still, 3rd place and a mug. The best result of my brief racing career! And I would just like to tell Adam that tea tastes especially fine when drunk from an RLSCC mug…

Full results are now available online. The other Mercia results were:

Div 9: David Darragh came first, and was promoted to Div 8.

Div 6: Adam Beaumont came 4th

Div 5: Nigel Wooltorton came 3rd

Div 4: Laurence Garton came 2nd, Mike Fitzsimons came 5th (after briefly being placed first by 5 minutes thanks to a timekeeping error!)

Quite a good points tally for the club. And what do points mean? More races, probably. D’oh!