Club sessions – Saturday
At 2pm we have an open session for members and visitors. Please arrive by 1:45 pm, so that we can show you round. Visitors can pay as you paddle for your first four sessions before you will be asked to join.
The range of club equipment is wide but there is only so much to go round! This is a chance for all to get on the water and paddle the different types of canoe and kayak we have at the club. Late arrivals may not be able to get on the water if we are already busy or the sessions have already started.
Depending on the weather conditions and numbers, you will be out for about an hour. The club is usually open until around 3:30 pm.
What to wear
You may get damp, so wear old clothes including trainers or beach shoes. Bring a towel, a bag and a change of clothes so you can go home warm and dry.
It is best not to wear jeans – they aren’t great when wet. If it is cold or wet, a light waterproof jacket, over trousers if you have them and a hat can be a good idea.
Don’t wear wellington boots, walking boots or flip flops. Avoid heavy jackets for paddling as they would make it hard to swim if you did fall in.
What we provide
We have a full range of canoes, kayaks, paddle boards (SUP) and paddles for you to use, that suit most sizes, ages and abilities. We will give you a buoyancy aid and if you have done the capsize drill, a spraydeck. There are a limited number of light paddling jackets and over-trousers if the weather is cold and wet. If it is very cold there are some basic paddle mitts (pogies) to keep your hands warmer. It is hard to grip the paddle shaft when wearing ordinary gloves and they can make your hands colder, when they get wet.
We have a small range of paddle boards (SUP) for use within our sessions or as part of a specific group session. These come in different sizes. We will lend you a helmet as the sides of the canal are hard!
There are male and female changing rooms, with fan heaters for the colder months and hot water is available to wash your hands afterwards.
Lockers are provided to put your valuables and non-waterproof things such as car keys and phones in. Even then we can’t guarantee security. Please don’t leave valuables lying around or in kit bags in changing rooms.
Tea and coffee making facilities are also available, just bring sugar (always running out) and milk.
Outside the club, there is metered on street parking for up to two hours between 8 am and 6 pm. There is a small car park opposite the club entrance that can only be used at weekends when visiting the club, space permitting. We are a 10 minute walk from the City Centre and bus station. Why not cycle down? Cycle racks are available to use.
What to expect
Visitors are asked to sign in on a visitor’s sheet, providing a name, address and contact number. You should let us know if you have any medical conditions that we need to be aware of.
You must be able to swim at least 25m unaided. Younger paddlers may get on better in a double boat, with an adult to start with. Conditions such as air temperature and wind strength and what you are wearing, may dictate whether it is suitable for you to paddle.
Are we here all year round?
Yes, but check the calendar for the latest news. Occasionally the canal does freeze but then we have an opportunity to tidy up the club and do some maintenance or use the indoor paddling and rowing machines.
Training for awards
Check the calendar for dates or ask us if you want help. There are training sessions for those club members who want to gain their British Canoeing personal performance awards; Start – Discover – Explore. These sessions usually run in the summer months and paddlers need to book first to ensure a place. Club coaches are recognised by the national governing body, British Canoeing and they can train and assess you over the introductory awards.
We support voluntary club members who regularly give their time to help others, by paying for coaching and leadership awards and first aid training.
Club sessions – Weekday
On Monday and Wednesday club members meet in the evening for a paddling session of around one hour on the water. This is coach led, speed and endurance training, in the faster and longer, more unstable touring and racing kayaks. There are stable boats to start you off and build your confidence and technique. This is a good general exercise session for experienced paddlers. Some of our paddlers also compete in regional and national competitions.
The club has a small amount of loose weights and a bench which can be used by adults and those over 16 under supervision. We have two paddling machines which replicate the paddling technique on land and a concept rowing machine.
We try to organise paddle trips for club members to local rivers such as the Avon at Warwick and Stratford. Some paddlers go to paddle on Stratford Weir and further afield.
If you have a group of 5 or more that want to paddle, then get in touch by email and see if we can arrange a session at a time to suit you. We usually can fit in a session to suit your group’s ages and abilities after 6 p.m., when it is lighter at night, from May to August. We have plenty of experience of running a one-hour session for Cubs, Scouts and Beavers.
Some of us that train on the canal and then race at local and national marathon and sprint events. We have some club wing paddles and K1 and K2 boats of varying stability that you can use. We also have some downriver racing kayaks and race at local events over the winter.
Twice yearly we aim to clear rubbish on the canal and towpath over the two mile section out to Swan Lane Basin. There we link up with the Coventry Canal Society and their narrowboat Panther, to dispose of many bags of debris and leave the environment of the Coventry Canal cleaner.
Another group in Coventry run sessions at the Xcel Leisure Centre, Mitchell Avenue, Canley, on a Thursday evening. You can practice your capsize drill, support strokes and learn to roll in the warm pool. Some of our members attend these sessions too. Pay at the pool side.
The club is run by volunteers and the committee have a set of rules that visitors and members must follow. We are a section of Coventry Canal Society and use a room in Coventry Canal Warehouse run by Coventry Canal Basin Trust.
Gift Vouchers / Jaguar ELS Scheme
You can buy Mercia Canoe Club canoeing lessons as a different present for birthdays, Christmas or Anniversaries. Simply get in touch by email and let us know how many sessions are needed. We will ask you to make payment by bank transfer and email you the voucher.
We also run sessions for Jag employees under their Employee Learning Scheme.