Club sessions – Saturday
At 2pm we have a general open session for members and visitors. Visitors can pay as you paddle for the first four sessions. The club is usually open until around 3:30 pm. Please come for 1.50 pm if it is your first visit, so that we can show you round. Late arrivals may not be able to get on the water if we are already busy or the sessions have already started. The range of club equipment is wide but there is only so much to go around! 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.
What to wear
You may get wet so wear old clothes including beach shoes or trainers. Don’t wear jeans – they aren’t great when wet. If it is cold or wet, a light waterproof jacket and a hat is a good idea. Don’t use wellington boots, walking boots or heavy jackets for paddling as they would make it hard to swim if you did fall in. Bring a towel, a bag and a change of clothes so you can go home warm and dry. You will get damp!
What we provide
We have a full range of canoes, kayaks, paddleboards and paddles for you to use that suit most sizes, ages and abilities. We will give you a buoyancy aid and (provided you have done the capsize drill) a spraydeck. There are a limited number of jackets if the weather is cold and wet. If it is very cold there are some basic paddle mitts to keep your hands warm. It is hard to grip the paddle shaft when wearing ordinary gloves.
We have a small range of Paddleboards (SUP) for use within our sessions or as part of a specific group session.
There are male and female changing rooms, with fan heaters for the colder months and hot water is available to freshen up afterwards.
Lockers are provided to put your valuables and non-waterproof things such as car keys and phones in. Please don’t leave valuables lying around or in kit bags.
Tea and coffee making facilities are also available. There is a good supply of tea and coffee, just bring sugar (always running out) and milk.
Outside the club, there is metered on street parking for up to two hours between 8am and 6pm. There is a small car park opposite the club entrance that can only be used at weekends when visiting the club, space permitting. Why not cycle down? You can lock your bike up outside the club.
What to expect
Visitors are asked to sign in on a sheet, provide a name, address and contact number and also to let us know if you have any medical conditions that we need to be aware of.
You must be able to swim at least 10m. There is no minimum age but younger paddlers may get on better with an adult to start with. Conditions such as air temperature and wind strength, as well as 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 equipment.
Training for awards
Check the calendar for dates or ask us if you want help– On some Saturdays at 12pm there are training sessions for those members who want to gain their British Canoeing 1 and 2 Star awards and those younger paddlers who want to complete the Paddle Power challenge. These sessions usually run in the summer months and paddlers need to book first to ensure a session. Club coaches are recognised by the national governing body, British Canoeing and they can train and assess you over the introductory awards.
We support club members who regularly give their time to help, 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 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. Some of our paddlers also compete in regional and national competitions.
The club has a small amount of loose weights and a bench press which can be used by adults and those over 16 under supervision. We have a paddling machine which replicates the paddling technique and a Concept 2 rowing machine. There is also a static bike.
We try to organise paddle trips for club members to local rivers such as the Avon at Warwick and Stratford. These usually take place on a Sunday. Members will be invited depending on the likely conditions. 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 September. We have plenty of experience of running a session for Cubs, Scouts and Beavers. Groups of adults are also catered for, whether you want an introduction to paddling or are taking on an adventure challenge.
There are a small number of us that train on the canal and then race at local and national marathon and sprint events. We have some club K1 and K2 boats of varying stability that you can use. We have some Downriver kayaks and race at the popular Barrow (near Leicester) series of downriver time trials over the winter.
Twice yearly we aim to collect rubbish on the canal and towpath over the two miles out to Swan Lane Basin. There we link up with the Coventry Canal Society narrowboat Panther to dispose of many bags of debris and leave the environment of the Coventry Canal cleaner.
We no longer run a pool session ourselves. Another group run sessions at the Xcel Leisure Centre, Mitchell Avenue, Canley, on a Thursday evening. You can practise your capsize drill, support strokes and learn to roll in the warm pool.
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.
Why not buy some 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 in the pool or at the club are needed. We will ask you to make payment by bank transfer and email you the voucher.