PCC 2018 Review

New Junior Record for Jarvis at Ross Warland

The main event since the last newsletter was the Ross Warland Memorial Challenge – a 20-mile race starting and finishing at Banbury Canoe Club. Our thanks to Banbury for hosting this.  Congratulations to all who took part, paddling this not insignificant distance in either K1, K2 or C2 is not for the faint hearted.  In all, there were 175 paddlers in 107 boats (K1, K2, C1 and C2).  Jarvis M paddling K2 with a Reading paddler broke the Junior Record in a time of 02:47.39. –  the highest of fives to you Jarvis!

Also, boldly going where no paddlers has gone before, Vicky M with Liz from Basingstoke Canal Canoe Club, were the fastest C2 (double canoe) on the water completing the 20 miles in 3:37.01, more than 10 minutes ahead of the next C2 to finish.  This may be the fastest C2 time in the history of the race, we are fairly sure it is the fastest for two female paddlers.

The crews of Robin T/Tommy F and Steve M/Paul A put in a good performance in K2 finishing in sub 3hours 30minute times.  Caroline W/Fay B were not far behind in a very respectable 3:40.42.  Peter W/James B paddling C2 beat their target time of 4 hours. Jonathan C/David C competed in their first long distance race (in fact, their first race).  They had a good first ten miles plus but towards the latter part of the race they capsized on more than one occasion: this would have been end of sports for a lesser crew but they just got back in the boat and finished the race.  Well done gentlemen!

Other Races

The Stour Descent due to take place in December was cancelled due to high water so we did not take part. Vicky M/Liz M raced in the last Thames 10K series race (The Royal) and were the only C2 on the course – these ladies are really taking their DW training seriously. This was supposed to be a 10K race, but it was more like 14K.

Winter Paddling Safety First

Now that the cold weather is beginning to hit, we need to remember to wrap up warm.  Wear layers – you can take them off if you’re too hot but if you go for a swim and don’t have appropriate kit you are putting yourself at risk.  Pogies, beany hats, a cag, spray-deck and buoyancy aid etc could save you from hypothermia.  If paddling in the dark you must have a white light showing front and back (technically through 360 degrees).  This is more so that you can be seen than to see.  Wear bright clothing with reflective/luminous strips, again to be visible.

Correct kit!  Steve and Paul and Ian and Tim paddling in conditions where most people would not consider leaving the comfort of their bed, never mind going paddling.

Jensen pushes Peter along in a K2. Ian and Robin in the background – all suitably wrapped up!


Coming Events

Our next race is the Frank Luzmore Memorial Marathon: 20.5 km, 3 portages over boat rollers or locks between Elmbridge and Richmond on Sunday 6th January 2019.  We look forward to a good turnout for this as its good preparation for DW.

The dates for the 2019 Waterside Series of races are: –

Race A 24 February 2019 Great Bedwyn to Newbury 13.5 miles 21 portages
Race B 10th March 2019 Newbury to Aldermaston & Back 17.5 miles 19 portages
Race C 24th March 2019 Pewsey to Newbury 23 miles 35 portages
Race D 7th April 2019 Devizes to Newbury 34 miles 35 portages


The dates for the 2019 Thameside series are

3-Mar-2019 Thameside 1 Aldermaston to Reading, 12 miles, 12 portages
17-Mar-2019 Thameside 2 Reading to Marlow, 19 miles, 8 portages


This year we have several crews training for the Devizes to Westminster Race over the Easter weekend.  All the above races are good preparation for this.


Review of the Year

With the Charity taking over The Centre from West Berkshire the summer courses were very important. We had the paddle machines out at the Come and Try sessions and some racing boats which gave people the opportunity to experience life in a fast boat. We also ran two Introduction to Race Paddling courses on Thursday evenings.

Come and try

On the actual racing front the year got off to a good start in January with Peter W and James B winning the Senior Men’s C Class in the Frank Luzmore Memorial Marathon in 1:43.32.  James was promoted to division 5 based on this result.

Peter and James on the Frank Luzmore Race: 30 stone helped with the momentum into the wind.

…and the victors receive their tee shirts

The summer provided excellent weather for paddling and The National Championships at Reading in July was a fabulous event right on our doorstep.  The top result was gold for Vicky M in the VLK1 – we have a National champion in our midst!

Tommy at the Nationals

Owen sprints through the portage

Tommy -Nationals beach portage – a quick exit.

2Simon (racing for Fowey!) coming into portage

The Watersides and Devizes to Westminster Race were affected severely by the weather: Watersides C and D being cancelled and the DW stopping at Dreadnought Reach. With a late Easter we can hope for better weather in 2019. All our crews were disappointed to stop early after spending months preparing for the event. However, they will be back for Devizes to Westminster 2019.

Travels further afield

This year Vicky M and Liz from Basingstoke Canal Canoe Club travelled to France to compete in the Dordogne Integralle, an 80-mile canoe race through some interesting water and beautiful scenery.

Peter W travelled to Cornwall to compete in the Fowey Hasler, coming fifth in div 4 K1 in 1:13.02.


The Club was represented at Nottingham Sprint Regattas in July and September. Nottingham is arguably the “home” of sprint racing and these are national championships so there was strong competition from clubs nationwide.  Daisy, Jensen and Rees competed as juniors.  For Jensen and Rees this was their first experience of sprints.  Our main sprint paddlers, in no particular order, are Simon TC, Owen B, Conor M, Tommy F, Mark W, Matt W, Robin T.

The main events are run over 200m, 500m and 1000m so distances are short compared to marathon where the shortest race is normally about 6.4km.  The best results were Conor M and Simon TC winning Bronze medals in the Men’s under 23 1000m K2 in 4 m 28.87 s and Matt W paddling with a Bishop Stortford paddler taking Bronze in the Men’s Open K2 200m final in 43.85s. Fantastic results in a National Event!

Simon having a well-deserved snooze after winning his Bronze medal

Daisy and Jensen (left) at sprint regatta

Hasler Series 2017-18

Peter W produced a summary and analysis of 2017-18 Hasler Series Results (thanks, Peter).  This shows that we have had a good year with 36 paddlers entering Hasler races during the season.  We didn’t make it to the finals but there is always next year! Top of the points scoreboard were Jensen M and Owen B.  Owen was promoted from division 6 to division 4 and Tommy to division 5 over the course of the season (he is now in division 4, promoted at the Nationals), so our younger paddlers are doing well.  We have some good paddlers but are keen to increase numbers so if you are interested in having a go in a racing boat contact one of the race coaches – if you choose to wait until the summer months that is probably quite sensible!


With so much happening it is difficult to choose just one event, but for me the highlight of 2018 was our own Hasler race in September, back at Pangbourne for the first time in a few years.  So many members of Adventure Dolphin from all paddling disciplines, not just the Race Group, pulled together to run an enjoyable and efficiently managed event which raised the profile of Adventure Dolphin within the local community and with British Canoeing. Thanks again to all those who volunteered.

Waterside series 2019

February will see the start of 2019’s Waterside Series, a set of four races organised by Newbury Canoe Club (NCC) that covers part of the Devizes to Westminster (DW) race course, designed to give DW competitors the chance to experience and practise the whole DW course in the weeks before Easter.

Traditionally, Adventure Dolphin members have helped to marshal these races, and in return we have received a financial contribution to our club.  So, here’s our call for help – if you are a marathon paddler who is not racing or supporting a crew, or a paddler within the club, please would you join us as a marshal to assist with a variety of activities such as making sure that the paddlers, supporters and the general public are kept safe when the portages around locks involve crossing roads.

All families are welcome and if it’s your first time, you’ll be partnered with someone who knows the ropes!  Refreshments are provided free of charge and we can assist with transport as locations include: Kintbury, Marsh Benham, Bulls and Aldermaston locks.  The average day starts around 9am, and finishes at approximately 1pm depending on the location.

If you can help or would like more details, please contact Bill Whitaker via email at: bill.whitaker@adventuredolphin.co.uk

Race A: 24th February

Race B: 10th March

Race C: 24th March

Race D: 7th April

The Teign was quite a paddle!

The River Teign white water kayaks and open canoes trip (North Dartmoor) on Saturday 17th November proved to be an excellent day out for all, with some interesting technical challenges, set within the beautiful woodlands of the Teign Gorge in the National Trust grounds of Castle Drogo.
Ian Blatchey (Scampi) organised the trip and took a quick dip as he got on (Shhh don’t tell anyone!). Alison Stephens turned out to be our star paddler, Mike Kew was excellent and Cliff Coombes was our joker!
Many of our paddlers are still confused about the correct way to pronounce ‘teign’! Pub locals called it ‘teen’. Doesn’t match the ‘teign’ in Teignmouth (‘tin’) or Bishopsteignton (‘tane’)!!
Much doom and gloom was posted on Facebook by various people prior to the trip. Their opinion appeared to be based solely on water levels on gauges. One person said the river was ‘empty’ and another suggested it wasn’t worth bothering with. Not true.
Just for everyone’s information we did not paddle the river blind. Sally and Adrian Moon did a comprehensive recce the day before. They walked the entire higher technical section and observed from both sides of the river.

Yes, it was low and certainly technical in places meaning decisions had to be made about lines etc, and the open canoeists decided to portage in places (thanks again for your help Colin Greaves!) No point in risking a broken boat or body. Fallen trees across the river also slowed us up. Although we all agreed that it was a great day’s paddling.

Sally, Lizzie and Jane enjoyed the river side walk, and Tenzing (Ed’s dog) had a fantastic time running around when he wasn’t in the canoe or riding the rapids!

To see what other outings our Trips Planning Team have in store for us visit our online calendar.  December includes the Santa Paddle on the 16th, a trip to the River Barle on 29th December and the Boxing Day paddle starting at Pangbourne, followed by mince pies and mulled wine.


Mermaids! What in the Thames?

Our Sunday morning paddlers came face to face with a self-confessed mermaid last month. The mermaid AKA, open water swimmer, Lindsey Cole, swam past them while on course to complete her 200 mile swim of the Thames to  raise awareness of the environmental effects of single-use plastic.

Lindsey took to the water at the beginning of November in a wetsuit, tail and woolly hat about 20 miles from the source of the river at Lechlade, Gloucestershire, and is describing herself as an “Urban Mermaid” as she is appealing to passers-by to litter pick and add to her mermaid sculpture that is being towed by her support canoe.

It is thought that by the end of their travels (Teddington) that they will have created a giant mermaid sculpture made out of plastic bottles that is representative of how we are choking our rivers with plastic.

To find out more about Lindsey’s story visit the BBC News website

A team to be proud of

A team to be proud of

Congratulations to all of our volunteer members who received awards at British Canoeing’s Southern Region (Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Hampshire) award ceremony on Tuesday 20th November, held in Pangbourne.

Attended by various clubs throughout the region, our members received awards for long service, impact and volunteering.

Club Impact Award for 2018
Jointly to Ian Blatchley and John Bethell

Young Volunteer Coach of the Year
Ellie Hatchett

15 Years Service Award for Services to the Southern Region

Kevin Dennis

Outstanding Contribution and 25 Years Service

Adrian Moon
Alan Brown
Cliff Coombes
Ed Edwards
Ian Blatchley
Ian Flanders
John Bethell
Ken Tomkins
Maggie Dennis
Sue Harris
Vicky Metcalfe

15 years service
Andrew Middleton
Bill Whitaker
Claire Hardwick
Colin Greaves
Mark Edwards
Ian Palmer
Kevin Dennis
Lizzy Feuillade
Paul Atherton
Penny Tomkins
Steve McCluskey
Tim Metcalfe

Well done to everyone

LEL course now available

Adventure Dolphin (AD) is set to run a ‘Lowland Expedition Leadership’ (LEL) course in January.
The Level 3 qualification enables delegates to develop essential leadership skills that they can use in the outdoor environment to arrange trips and expeditions.

The course (spread over three months plus an assessment weekend) covers everything from navigation, and remote supervision, to outdoor clothing, camping and cooking, as well as organisational skills and risk assessment leadership.

This course is ideal for anyone working in a wide range of educational and aspirant outdoor professionals, or for those wanting to participate in the delivery of Duke of Edinburgh Bronze/Silver awards.
AD has more than 30 years’ experience in delivering LEL with many of our members completing the course so that they can facilitate overnight expeditions for young people.
A substantial fee reduction is available for Adventure Dolphin members and leaders wishing to undertake this training. Partial funding may be available to DofE leaders based in West Berkshire.
For further information please contact: aat.brown@adventuredolphin.co.uk
Click here for further information about the qualification and relevant course dates.

Safety Alert – Weil’s Disease

Safety Alert – Weil’s Disease

Weil’s disease (Leptospirosis)

We have been made aware of a paddler in the East Midland’s region who was diagnosed with Weil’s disease (Leptospirosis) on Saturday 17th November.  Our thoughts are with the paddler and their family, as they fight the condition.

Please find below some helpful information:

Weils Disease (Leptospirosis)

All water users should be aware of this potentially fatal infection.

This is a bacterial infection normally believed to be spread by rat urine, though can also be transmitted by cat, fox and rabbit urine. Transmission is usually through an open wound or abrasion but can also be coursed by ingestion of contaminated water.

Symptoms are lethargy, diarrhoea, headaches, vomiting and muscle pain; sometimes referred to as flu like symptoms, if untreated can be fatal.


Prevention measures against water borne infection are:

  • Cover all cuts and abrasions with waterproof plasters.
  • Always wear footwear to avoid cutting the feet.
  • Avoid capsize or rolling practice in suspected waters.
  • Where possible shower soon after the activity
  • As a minimum always wash your hands after paddling and before eating or drinking

If you feel ill after paddling you should tell your Doctor as soon as possible and let them know where and when you have been on the water.

The NHS publish the following guidance:


Further information and support is available when required by contacting:


PCC News

Winter Training
Winter training is now well underway with sessions on the water on Saturday mornings and Tuesday evenings as well as Circuit Training on Wednesday evenings. All members are welcome to circuits but do just check if it’s your first time to make sure the session is on. The main event for the Race Group since the last newsletter was the Banbury Hasler. All paddlers are now wrapping up well on the water balancing the need to keep warm if you have a swim with the problem of overheating.

Banbury Hasler Report

The Cold and Narrow Canal
On Sunday 28th October we travelled to Banbury to race in their annual Hasler event.  This is run on the canal which is narrow in places (in fact, there are no wide bits) so quite different for those of us used to the Thames. Paddling up to the start was like steering the Star ship Enterprise out of space doc.  It was also cold and windy in comparison with the conditions we have raced in over recent months. There were also portages for all divisions: two in divisions 7-10 (4 miles), six for divisions 4 to 6 (8 miles) and fourteen for divisions 1 to 3 (12 miles).  It is unusual for divisions 7 to 10 to have any portages so the course was quite testing.

Promotion to Division two for Jarvis
The highlight was Jarvis M winning his division 3 singles race in 1:42.34, three minutes ahead of the rest of the field.  At this level, three minutes is a large margin as if he was in warp drive and the other boats were on impulse power! This resulted in Jarvis gaining promotion to division two, a tremendous result.  Jarvis now trains with Reading but maintains his allegiance with Pangbourne in Hasler races.

More Hats for Vicky
Vicky M, paddling in C2 (double canoe) with Liz from Basingstoke came second in division 6 doubles, paddling well against people with double the number of blades (i.e. kayak paddlers).  They were also the fastest canoe on the water that day. Hence, they won a hat, the traditional prize at Banbury. A C2 beating a K2 is rather like a Klingon Bird of Prey beating a Federation Star ship.

A Mixed Bag
The rest of the Race Group had mixed results: Simon TC and Stu Q (paddling with Tommy F as a last -minute arrangement) both felt ill and had to retire from their races. Jensen M also retired due to the cold conditions. Owen B had a good race coming 5th in 1:15.31 in division 4 singles. Steve M came 13th in division 5 singles in 1:20.26, missing twelfth place by just three seconds! Hazel B and Chris R managed a very creditable 7th and 9th place respectively in division 9 singles.

The Next Race
The next race is the Ross Warland Memorial Canal Challenge on Sunday 25th November, again at Banbury.  It’s a 20-mile event where a crew can paddle the full distance or as two teams in a relay.

Reading Santa Run 2018

This event should have been in every Club Member’s diary by now as a way of raising funds for Adventure Dolphin while making a super pre Christmas event for all. Hopefully the Social Group will take on the coordination as I will be stewarding on the day but happy to liase with whoever beforehand.

The outfits – Santas for adults and elves for children – are included in the entry fee and then members gain their own sponsorship for taking part. Many charities earn themselves a great deal of money!

I have already left a pile of the original fliers in the development room and now have posters etc. If this could be promoted at any upcoming events, in the newsletter or by a separate mailing, we should be able to enter a formidable group. The Adventure Dolphin Team should look fantastic, a team photo must be taken!

Kind regards


Reading Santa Run 2018-Join in the festive fun!!!

Why should you take part?

  • Raise money for your own organisation
  • Raise your profile in the public arena
  • Raise money for the Rotary Charities
  • Have fun – a great family fun day out

1Km. course for young people

 –  babies in buggies, and dogs including guide dogs! The course is suitable for any physically or mentally handicapped people, visually impaired or those with hearing difficulties we would love to see you all take part!

All to be dressed in festive outfits – all outfits included!

There is also a 5Km. course that you can race, run, walk, jog or even stroll if you like – however you do it you will raise money for charity.


Posters and flyers are available on request to promote the event

Contact Santa Run Marketing:


River Dart “Railway Paddle”

River Dart “Railway Paddle”

The aim of the weekend was to do two day paddles on the Dart in sequence starting at The Dart Country Park and finishing in Totnes. This is traditionally termed the “Lower Dart” and “Lower Lower Dart”. Instead of fighting for parking at the muddy lay by or at The Salmon Leap Café, we egressed at Breara Farm Campsite, where we stayed on Saturday night.

Eight of us paddled solo canoe (Unfortunately two had to go home after forgetting some of their kit!). For some this was a first canoe journey on moving water and having a forgiving flow and shallow levels was ideal. The only difficulty was a lack of depth at times. This meant reading the river to avoid grounding was essential. We even managed a little poling. Despite a significant peak in water levels the weekend before, water levels were again low. The river gauge at Austin’s bridge was just above 0.5m and we would not suggest driving down to Devon if it were any lower.

The campsite was quiet (except for us) and some of us, who got up in the night, were treated to an amazing panorama of stars, owing to the lack of light pollution and the clear sky.

There have been some issues with the egress at Staverton and so on Sunday we continued to Totnes. After Staverton the river is a mellow grade one, with one broken weir above Dartington and then a large weir at Totnes. Once over this we were into salt water of the Dart estuary. Egress at the ramp by Totnes Rowing Club was easy.

We all drove back up towards Buckfast and had a cream tea at the Salmon Leap Cafe, before the drive home.