PCC Update

River conditions impact on races

April report by: Vicky Metcalfe

Many of our members were involved in the Easter weekend Devizes to Westminster journey that we undertake each year, and many will know of the outcome of the weekend… the race being cancelled midmorning on Saturday, due to increasing flow on the Thames in particular, but as it turned out, also on the Kennet and Avon Canal! In the end the race was stopped at Dreadnought, Reading, just as the paddlers went onto the Thames.

Extremely challenging conditions, on ground and on water made this a test of great determination and along with others of the race fraternity we now wait to see how certain aspects will be dealt with in the future.

Meanwhile the Race Group has moved back onto the water for Tuesday evening training, and we are back on the river at Pangbourne on Saturdays having had several sessions on the canal due to high river levels. We have held a Come N Try session and we currently have eight on the ‘Intro to racing boats’ course.

Members are looking forward to the summer races, the first in region is at Basingstoke on May 20th, here’s hoping for good weather!

Lovely paddle through the Oxfordshire countryside into Oxford via the Rivers Ray, Cherwell and Thames

Adventure Dolphin’s paddling trip on Sunday 22nd April from the tiny Oxfordshire village of Islip to Oxford saw our group of 14 negotiate three rivers, and see some of Oxford’s most famous sights.

We were a little unsure as to what the state of the river would be as there had been thunderstorms the previous night and the River Cherwell had been in flood the week before, but much to our surprise the River Ray, which was our starting point, was at a reasonable level.

After a muddy scramble down a bank we set off; just a kilometre on and we went over the weir which was pretty uneventful – in fact, we almost missed it as the water levels were the same on either side!  Further on and we reached the confluence of the Ray and Cherwell and entered a fast-flowing stream which made for an easy and extremely pleasant journey.

This was, however, short lived as we soon came across our first obstruction and the cry ‘Send in the tree fellers’ was raised.  Ian Flanders, Adrian and Sally Moon set about clearing a path through the branches. Adrian declared “the tree felling award goes to Ian who chose to tackle a bough of 20cm diameter with a pruning saw, a task made more difficult as the offending branch was underwater.”

The route took the group through the outskirts of North Oxford, paddling past Summertown, the home of Chief Inspector Morse, before stopping off at the ever-popular Victoria Arms –  so popular all need to be warned that it can be extremely busy on a fine warm day.

Back on the water we paddled past Oxford colleges, Parsons’ Pleasure and the weir next to the punt rollers. We seemed to attract lots of interest from walkers and picnickers as we passed by. Perhaps it was the sight of a large group of paddlers or maybe it was the dog fishing for sticks from a canoe.

The route continued past the medieval walls of Magdalen College and Magdalen Bridge, and then on through the Botanic Gardens with the magnificent backdrop of college towers, church spires and Christchurch Meadow. Much amusement was had as the group played what Adrian described as “dodge the punter” as we tried to avoid the many punts being erratically steered.

We had almost made it when we found our way blocked by a maintenance barrier that meant that we had to portage from the Cherwell to the Thames.  At this point one of our party decided that he really needed to find out what the water felt like. To put it another way one of our kayakers had an unexpected swim while climbing out by the high bank.

The final leg saw the need for us to avoid many college boats, whose rowers insist on going backwards, before we finally finished at the Riverside Centre at Donnington Bridge.  It was a great paddle – we were luckier than expected with the weather and we had lots of opportunities to test our manoeuvring skills whilst chatting with friends.

Report by Ed Edwards Trip Leader with contributions from group members who were:

Ian Flanders and Ian Blatchley (additional river leaders), Adrian Moon, Sally Moon, Jane Edwards, Corinna Bailie, Alison Stephens, Ray Cook, Lizzy Feuillade, Sue Elwood, John Elwood Elaine Greaves, Colin Greaves and Tenzing.

 

March update – Pangbourne Canoe Club

The weather has had a lot to answer for this month as several key events in the racing calendar have been cancelled due to poor weather conditions.

It started with the Thameside 2 on Sunday 25th February, as a very sharp Easterly wind blew hard and cold. Despite the elements, all of our Pangbourne paddlers completed the course from Reading Canoe Club to Longridge Activity Centre.

Jarvis M won the Junior Singles, while Caroline W and Fay B came 4th in Ladies Doubles.
Peter W, Steve Mc and James B raced in Mens Singles and Tommy F and Owen B in Junior doubles. Janet G with Adrian M and Vicky M and Liz from Basingstoke completed in Canoe Doubles.

Next on the calendar was the Sunday 4th March Waterside C. The first of our events to be hit by the Beast from the East. Most of the 23 miles from Pewsey to Newbury was frozen and unfortunately, there wasn’t much improvement for the last section of the series…..a 35 mile stretch from Devizes to Newbury the following Sunday (18th March) which also succumbed to the weather, the event being cancelled due to snow on the approach roads to the canal.

The 18th March also saw the group submit its entries for the Devizes to Westminster, as we began to gather kit and prepare support crews – all important pieces of the big race picture.

In the meantime, our Club entries for DW – Easter weekend – look promising with the following participants in the Four Day classes, starting on Good Friday:

• K1-Peter W, James B, Ruth S, Jim Lemin
• K2- Juniors Tommy F and Owen B
• Junior/Vet – Tim and Molly D
• Endeavour – Caroline W and Fay B

In the straight through event starting on Saturday morning:

• K2 – Jeremy W and Phil R
• C2 – Janet G and Adrian M – Vicky M paddling with Liz M from Basingstoke
• Junior K2 Simon TC (AD member) and Alice paddling under Fowey CC
• Endeavour K2 Shirley K (AD member) and Miriam M (past AD member) paddling under Newbury Cane Club colours

Congratulations to Jarvis
Congratulations to Jarvis Macnab on his recent assessment race for team GB in which he finished 18th against 29 junior (boys) competitors, racing 5 laps of a 4k circuit with portages.

The race was hosted by Elmbridge, on behalf of the Marathon Race Committee (MRC), just downstream of Shepperton Lock on the Thames. Commenting on the race, Jarvis said: ”It was an ‘interesting’ experience as we were all pushing the line. I took a swim on the last turn as it was a hard fought race. I enjoyed the experience and I’m looking forward to the next time!”
Jarvis is currently ranked in Div 2 (only div 1 above him!) and is now training with Reading Canoe Club having started with us as an under 12 paddler. He progressed well with considerable support from Matt Westall and Mark Wigglesworth as he rose through the Divisions. He continues to race with us today as a member of Pangbourne Canoe Club/Adventure Dolphin.
Delighted by his achievement, Vicky Metcalfe, Pangbourne Canoe Club Coordinator said: “It’s some time since we had a paddler in the start list of a K1 Assessment race, where the committee are looking for potential paddlers for the GB squad, so to have a junior male in such a race is a brilliant occurrence for us as a club. He really is right up there with the top GB paddlers!”

DW VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
30th March – 2nd April 2018

DW has been organised every Easter Weekend since 1948 by Volunteers.
We need a team of 300 people to help us safely run the race – every year!

Volunteering is a great way for previous competitors and support crew to give time back to DW. and help others realise their goals. It’s also an opportunity for future entrants to learn about the race, the course and the people that make DW unique.

Many volunteers come back year after year, passing on important skills and knowledge. Volunteering for DW can be hard work and great fun. But it can also be rewarding, addictive and you’ll join an amazing community.

Key volunteer roles needed during Easter Weekend include:

  • Devizes (Start) Team
  • Umpires
  • Safety Teams
  • Checkpoints & Comms
  • Marshals
  • Campsite crew
  • First Aiders
  • Westminster (Finish) Team.

    Many roles are flexible, so volunteer for a couple of hours or all weekend. To volunteer, get in contact including your availability, preferred location and role, by e-mail or DW Facebook page:
    Rachel Dennis – DW Volunteer Co-ordinator
    dwvolunteers@gmail.com

    We’d like to hear from groups available to work as a team anywhere on the route, as well as each tide at the Westminster Finish Village (Sunday 16th AM & PM, Monday 17th AM).

    Thank you – DW Race Organising Team

    P.S. Date for your diary: DW will be 19th – 22nd April 2019

    Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race
    125 miles | 77 portages | 300 Volunteers
    www.dwrace.org.uk

Pangbourne/Adventure Dolphin Canoe Club… Race group news

Pangbourne/Adventure Dolphin Canoe Club… Race group news

This year’s Waterside Series, run by Newbury Canoe Club (CC), kicked off on 4th February participants racing from Great Bedwyn to Newbury (13.5 miles).

Adventure Dolphin’s (AD) members paddled in K1, K2 and C2 classes under the Pangbourne Canoe Club team name, with other members and friends supporting paddlers and volunteering in various roles including marshaling or in the kitchens providing food for all.

Our paddlers got off to a good start, especially our Junior K2 pair; Tommy F and Owen B, and Jarvis M who is paddling with another junior from Reading CC. Ruth S took on the series in K1, having paddled K2 for the past two years with Jim L, who is now supporting her having helped so much with her training this winter.

Categories include:
Juniors: under 19
Seniors/veterans: over 35
Masters: 50 upwards

2018 is a special year as it marks the 50th anniversary of the first series. An invitation went out to those who had paddled in the first series back in 1968. Four “LEGENDS” paddled on Sunday, sadly none of them where AD members, but the occasion was celebrated in style with a short presentation before the prizegiving,

The following weekend saw seven paddlers do the Thameside 1- hosted by Reading CC. Racing from Aldermaston upstream to Reading CC’s club house, with a major North Westerly wind to boot, making the last two miles a true challenge!

The second race in the Waterside series was Newbury/Aldermaston/Newbury, 18miles which took place on Sunday 11th February. The Thameside 2 is on 25th February – racing down the Thames from Reading CC to Longridge Activity centre, near Marlow (20 miles)

Now, half way through the series, the last two races are on 4th and 18th March. Please check the results for all the races. There may be prizes for those who do all 4 Watersides, and don’t forget, we are always grateful for your support. So, if you find yourself able to give a bit of time please do volunteer, Bill Whitaker runs the Volunteer team, so please let him know via email: membership@adventuredolphin.co.uk

Results:
Waterside series: www.watersideseries.org.uk
Thameside 1 and 2: http://reading-canoe.org.uk

For further information about Pangbourne Canoe Club contact: Vicky Metcalfe at: Vicky.metcalfe@adventuredolphin.co.uk

Usk River Trip

Ray Cook, member, reports on Adventure Dolphin’s recent white water paddle on the River Usk from Sennybridge to Aberbran Bridge on Saturday 3rd February 2018.

Ray says: “The weather conditions were good for the time of year, although it was rather cold. We meet and started our day with breakfast at the Services just past the Seven Bridge, before traveling in convey to Sennybridge (Powys).
“Our adventure began before we even hit the water as the drop off point was a little wet and muddy which meant a couple of cars had to be pushed off the grass back onto the dirt track, but once on the water we we’re able to practice turns, ferry gliding and braking out before we all headed off down river.

“The first drop quickly approached and most managed to get down it without incident. Scampi, Trip Leader, did have a mishap and it took a few tries before he managed to push himself back up with his paddle and I capsized. This drop and I have history in that I capsized going down it a couple of years ago. I was confident that it was not going to happen again, but a minute later, my head was under water, the spay deck popped and I was swimming.

“The 12 of us successfully negotiated the next two drops and found plenty of play spots and waves to surf on. All in all, it’s a lovely stretch that offers varied drops and play spots which for me at least help to improve skills and confidence on white water.”

Leaders/helpers’ day success

More than 60 of Adventure Dolphin’s leaders and helpers came together for their annual training event (Sunday 28th January 2108) which included a range of outdoor activities and club updates.

The morning session, run by Outdoor Academy reminded coaches and helpers alike what it’s like to try something new for the first time as they introduced participants to a mobile caving system, field archery (like clay pigeon shooting), kelly kettling and the climbing wall.

Following a superb lunch whipped up by our volunteer catering team, the afternoon covered a series of topics including DBS checks, volunteer hours, the future of Dolphin Centre, amends to coaching qualifications from British Canoeing and the latest marketing initiatives that are being undertaken.

Helper, Ollie Hatchett said, “It was my first training day and I was surprised by how good it was. The caving was brilliant, I loved the chilli and the updates were really helpful.”

The day was organised and run by Trustees Kevin Dennis and Ed Edwards with input from Group Co-ordinators, , Chairman – Clive Williams, Trustee – Tim Metcalfe, Coach – Claire Hardwick and Marketing – Donna Hatchett.

 

Snow Sunday

Well even with the snow falling 6 of us hardy paddlers took to the water on Sunday for a paddle down river. Fantastic views of the snow covered hills around us.

Kayak/Canoe Basket Ball

This week’s Sunday Paddle took on a different look as we all tried our hands (and Paddles) at our new version of net/basket ball.

Everyone had a great time trying to understand the rules as we chopped and changed them allowing the game developed. It was great fun, a good work out, and all in preparation for the curry lunch back at the centre .

 

Proposed Trips for the upcoming months

The trips planning group are proposing the following trips, please can you let us know if any of these take your fancy for a paddle

New proposed trips:

Sunday 22nd April – Ed
Trip Leader
Local Paddle – Oxford Paddle

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Sunday 6th May
Trip Leader Ian B and Ed assisting
Thames including St Patrick’s Stream and Hennerton

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Sunday 20th May
Trip leader Ed
Oxford – Wolvercote Circuit

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Sunday 17th June
Trip leader Claire
Coastal trip – circumnavigation of Portsmouth Island

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Sunday 1st July (date change from last night)
Trip leader Ed
Abingdon Circuit

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Saturday 21st July
2 star assessment
Scampi and John B

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Sunday 22nd July Claire
3 star touring assessment

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Sunday 5th August
Trip Leader Ed and Adrian
Thames Tideway
Putney to Tower Bridge and return.

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