KIWIS Abroad

Mercia Canoe club’s New Zealand visitors, Marcela and Andrew Nicholson made the most of the kayaking opportunities in the West Midlands, making some interesting comparisons with kayaking in New Zealand:

“With great spring weather we loaded up for a 100km/ two day paddle from the club in Coventry at the canal basin up the Coventry Canal and then out on to the Ashby Canal. We headed past the usual rubbish and rats around the early bridges of our club paddles. This noticeable mess has been the only unappealing aspect of kayaking here. Beyond Hawkesbury Junction, the rubbish is limited and it is amazing how quickly we got a scene of idyllic English country side. The endless rural bridges beyond Hinckley are a great way to mark progress. The rolling country side was alive with spring, the lambs and cows reminding us of rural NZ farms. Towns like Market Bosworth, and the easy access to Bosworth battle site also make for fascinating side trips. The idea of paddling canals constructed before New Zealand was even settled by Europeans is an interesting thought. At home we certainly make the most of paddling on our spectacular surroundings; our isolation however means we rarely if ever see another person. The wilderness of the South Island is spectacular but long haul trips involve extreme care and preparations. Touring here is relatively safe and canal water is relatively predictable. The tow paths ensure safe access to the nearest towns and easy access to supplies and accommodation. The canal boats are slow and courteous, everyone slows down and goes to their right. We were surprised to see no other tourists exploring this historic area. The concept of touring Britain by kayak is highly appealing. Before returning to New Zealand we aim to complete some bigger trips and loops of this fascinating system.”

Andrew and Marcela Nicholson (visitors 2010-2011)

Andrew later did a painting from the following photograph and presented it to the club:

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About Andrew Nicholson

Andrew and his wife Marcella arrived from New Zealand (via lots of other places) and joined the club while they were spending a few months working in Coventry. They did a lot of paddling and cycling while they were here!