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

Tim

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.

www.readingsantarun.co.uk

Posters and flyers are available on request to promote the event

Contact Santa Run Marketing:

sheila.hobbs@readingrotary.org.uk

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.

 

Allier 2018

Allier 2018; from wings to white water!

Although not my first time to this amazing, beautiful and stunning river, it very much felt like it. As many of you know, I regularly train hard with the marathon group, preferring to race competitively, instead of throwing myself down crazy rapids; and with GCSE results day looming, going on this year’s French trip seemed like a bit of a ludicrous decision………how wrongly I interpreted the situation.
From start to finish, I can honestly say that this year’s trip was firmly the best French trip in recent years. After setting up camp on a (thankfully!) dry day, we rested in hope of regaining some energy lost from a long exhausting drive down to Langeac.
On the Sunday, a nice gentle warm up paddle from Langeac to Lavoute Chilac to get back into the flow of things (excuse the pun). On the Monday, after having loosened up, we tackled the Parades to Langeac; having to face the mighty weir flume – a personal highlight of the section, with some potential laughs as a few swims occur here.
Then on the Tuesday a very, very early start (a tough life getting up at 7:30am) was well worth it for the gorgeous paddle from Chapeauroux to Alleyras – otherwise known as ‘that section with 40 rapids’ – with a few technical bits to keep us on our toes. Although a great paddle, we returned to a half- swamped campsite which may have been a good paddle in itself, but morale was bought up by a quick change to pizza and chips for tea (a wise move by the trip leaders some would argue).
Then came Wednesday……. the grade 3 section (dun…dun…dunnnnnnn). Not only was I paddling this section to prove others I could still ‘probably paddle’, but I wanted to show myself that I was still capable of paddling a technical section of white water. The doubts disappeared quickly as I tackled the section with relative ease, possibly better than I did a couple of years ago (ask the coaches as I believe I’m rather biased, who would have thought?) reassuring me why it’s my favourite section of the river. Thanks to the dynamic duo of Liam and Boothy for taking me down this section, without which I wouldn’t have realised I can still paddle on moving water.
Thursday. Day off for some. Results for others. Anyone on the trip would be able tell you how fear consumed me the night before, anxious about not being at home to open them. Again, my worries were unnecessary as I passed all my subjects, and gleefully celebrated with a drink on the house from the local bar- a regular evening spot for some on the trip.
Then Friday came, the final day of paddling and the penultimate day in France. The dynamic pairing of Gillespie/Fitzgerald teamed up again (open canoe this time!!) to brave the Parades to Langeac section – no problem for Janet obviously as there were no portages for things to go wrong (I’m sorry Janet, I just had to). Open canoeing was different and very much interesting on white water – an experience I have Ian Flanders to thank for, and would definitely recommend to those who haven’t endeavoured before- challenging me in new ways as an already confident paddler.
Saturday was interesting to say the least. The group started with an early morning high rope session beside the river (so we can technically claim that it was still a river trip). I would like to thank the Frenchman who ran the high rope course for putting up with laughing Brits during their briefing for the sole reason that the briefing was in French. Camp was quickly dissembled and we were on our way……to Ikea, for MEATBALLS!
A long drive was ahead of us, and being in the trailing bus, was very confused when the leading bus (being driven by none other than Mr Dave Booth) detoured into the centre of Paris. A quick photo in front of the Eiffel tower for the Instagram (tommy.fitzy, hit me up) as well as negotiations with a French salesman for a laser (he started at €25 and we ended up at £12, so the real question here is, Why am I not in Brussels negotiating our Brexit deal?
Overall it was a fantastic week away with many laughs – but not so many rolls- made even more enjoyable by the company in which I was surrounded for the week.
I would personally like to thank Dave, Liam, Paul, Ian, Corinna (Fizzy to some), Janet & Jack for collectively help run the trip, without who the trip may never have ran. And finally I’d like to thank my Dad (Tony to the rest of you) for working tremendously hard to make this year’s trip possible- whilst committing to his role as treasurer as well as his full time job (plus having children to take care of)- which was enjoyed by all those who were there.

Tommy Fitzgerald

Adventure Dolphin launches new Paddlesport Section

Jack Hulse, one of the Paddlesport Team Leaders said: “We are keen to create new opportunities for our younger members to come together and try something new. The sessions will be split into two groups, and following Adventure Dolphin tradition, they have been named “The Penguins” for our 11-14 year olds and “The Dolphins” for those aged 15-18 years.

Each session will enable participants to develop their skills as we prepare for a special Halloween Spooktacular event on Saturday 27 October 2018, where Paddlesport members will compete against each other to win prizes.”

Session times
The sessions will run fortnightly on Sunday mornings. Sign-in is from 9.30am, to be on the water for 10am, with a 12noon finish.

Don’t forget, the Sunday morning paddle is on at the same time, so Paddlesport members could leave their adults (1 star holders +) with Nick, Chris and Don for a paddle too!

How to become a Paddlesport member
To be eligible you must:
– Be aged 11-18 years old from 1 September 2018
– Be a current member of Adventure Dolphin
– And have attended at least a Paddlesport Fun course or above

If you meet all of the above criteria, please register your interest by emailing: paddlesport@adventuredolphin.co.uk

Paddlesport Spooktacular event
To enter the Spooktacular event, you must be a Paddlesport member (or an associated family member). So, don’t forget to put the date in the diary and further details will follow nearer the time.

Paddle boarding comes to AD

It was a warm Sunday afternoon. The ducks quacked and the swans preened.

The sun was out and 13 people turned up to our inaugural Stand Up Paddle Boarding sessions. We had a fully booked session. We had both families and individuals participate.

We toured around the Mill Pond, Lock Cut and went up to the islands. We covered how to paddle stroke, reverse paddle turn, and the tricky step back turn.

All participants did very well. We had a 100% success rate where everyone stood up on their paddle board; and this includes some who previously had not been able to do that.

We had a great day paddling amongst the ducks and the swans.

Thanks to The Outdoor Academy for the SUP loan and to Claire and Penny for their support.

We are set to hold another session on 30th September. Visit our online calendar for further information.

Introduction to Kayaking and Rolling

Pool Courses

Adventure Dolphin is set to run two pool courses this Autumn. “Introduction to Kayaking” and “Kayak Rolling” start on 14th September at The Oratory Preparatory School Swimming Pool, Goring Heath, in Oxfordshire.

The first course will run for six weeks: Friday 14th, 21st & 29th September, 5th, 12th & 19th October, while the second, four week course is on Friday 2nd, 9th, 16th & 23rd November.

Introduction to Kayaking
This course is ideal for people wishing to try out kayaking in the warmth of a swimming pool. You will be introduced to the sport through a variety of activities and games that will develop:

– Safety Awareness
– Boat Handling
– Boat Balance
– Water Confidence both in and out of your boat
– Paddling Skills

Time: 18:15 – 19:15 (45 Min in water session)

Minimum age: 8 years old

Kayak rolling
Through the guidance of our coaches you will be given the opportunity to learn how to roll or develop your existing rolling skills in our pool kayaks.

Please note course pre-requisites:

– You must be able to swim 25 metres
– Be both water and boat confident
– Be able to capsize with a spray deck on

Time: 19:00 – 20:00. (45 Min in water session)

Minimum age: 12 years old

Course prices
Course 1 – £60 for members and £66 pounds for non members
Course 2 – £40 pounds for members and £44 pounds for non members

Click here to book your place.

For further information contact: Corinna Bailie – membership@adventuredolphin.co.uk

 

Abingdon Round and Swift Ditch

On Sunday 1st July a group of 21 Adventure Dolphin members met at the paddler friendly Abingdon Marina to sample the Thames, the River Ock and – a perennial favourite of the club – Swift Ditch (this latter always known as Swift Ditch by paddlers but more boringly identified as merely “Back Water” by the Ordnance Survey on their maps).

The group met with a typical mixed bag of craft – kayak, OC solo and OC tandem – and the paddle was ably lead by Ed Edwards assisted by Claire Hardwick, Ian Flanders and Adrian Moon. Ed doubled as our tour guide for the day with enlightening snippets about the buildings and entertainment opportunities of Abingdon appearing to know a great deal about Abingdon jail and which pubs were best to impress girlfriends.

After the obligatory faffing, and Claire’s comprehensive “A to G” briefing, we left Abingdon Marina and set off upstream on the Thames but soon left the major river by passing under the old iron bridge at the entrance to the River Ock. The name Ock apparently originates from a Celtic word meaning salmon – a useless piece of information from Adrian.

The Ock was at a better level than might have been expected after the dry spell of weather and after a few hundred metres paddling and wading upstream we reached the spot at which a portage took us over onto the Wilts and Berks Canal and our return via a small shoot back onto the lower Ock. Back on the Thames Ed put on his tour guide hat and took us on a small diversion into the mill stream requiring some undergrowth removal by Claire (quicker on the draw with the pruning saw than Ian on this occasion).
Having passed up through Abingdon Lock (far too hot for all that portaging business) we headed across the top of the weir into the upper mill stream (more pruning work) and on to a suitably shady spot in the Abbey Gardens that happened to be in striking distance of toilets and an ice cream van – what more could we want.

Our numbers swelled (by 1) after lunch with the arrival of Jane Edwards who hadn’t been able to join us earlier as she had been otherwise occupied with the latest addition to the Edwards clan, one Quinn Alexander, born to son Ash and partner Kate in the early hours of that morning.

Lunch having been duly consumed we headed back across the top of the weir and on up the Thames towards the highlight of the day, Swift Ditch. The entrance to this gem, and the original course of the Thames, involves a 2 metre high drop over a weir at the former flash lock. A number of our group entertained us here by taking a cooling swim – their maiden swim in some cases, no names mentioned. Having restored all parties to their respective boats the paddle down Swift Ditch went without further incident and provided some welcome shady trees and respite from the sun and high temperatures that we have become accustomed to in recent weeks. Unusually for Swift Ditch no pruning work was needed.

Just a few hundred metres below Abingdon Marina Swift Ditch re-joins the Thames and the circuit was completed – a varied trip just a little different than the conventional downstream paddles we are more used to taking. Thanks to Ed who manged to stay awake all day despite having been involved, like Jane, in the early morning run out for that Edwards family addition.

 

To see all the pics click here.

What an epic paddle – Wolvercote to Oxford, 20th May 2018, report by Ed Edwards

Wow, what an epic paddle. It seemed to have a bit of everything that a flatwater tour could ask for. River, canal, backwaters, tiny streams, urban, rural, herds of free ranging cows and horses on Port Meadow, picnickers on the banks, cyclists, walkers, over trees, under trees, even through trees!

Once again an AD paddle enjoyed blue skies. The start was at Wolvercote Car Park at the north end of Port Meadow, north of Oxford city. A lovely get-on next to a stone bridge and the first boat on had Tenzing in it. This was an attempt to stop him jumping in and out of everyone else’s boat as they were getting on. He still jumped in and out except it was the same boat very time meaning that more and more water was entering the boat via his coat. About five minutes after starting the trip we had to stop to bail out – 18 bails!

So, down the river to Tumbling Bay the site of the old outdoor swimming which is now full of reeds. A portage and then down Bulstake Stream, a backwater of the Thames. Narrow? No, not as much as Hinksey Stream which we took to reach our lunch stop at The Fishes in North Hinksey. Of course, it meant the saw had to come out again. Third consecutive trip!

Making our way back through the narrow up, over and through section we re-entered the Thames to paddle down to the mouth of Castle Mill Stream. This is the original route of the Thames going through the city centre and right up close to the Castle. Yet more branches but this time we realised that a pruning saw was going to be insufficient as a massive tree had come down across the stream. Team work portaging took us past this obstruction only to be faced with a ridiculously low bridge. Almost lying down in the boat to get through and then we saw the next obstruction. Lock gates and a climb up a two metre plus wall. A paddlers sling was set up as a stirrup and for some of us a bit of pushing and pulling from helpful hands and we were up.

The final leg took us through the City of Oxford joining the Oxford Canal and paddling back to Wolvercote via an ice cream van! Some more portages and narrow streams took us back to our start point. The circuit completed and at no point paddling against the current!

All agreed it was a fantastic trip. Donna summed it up as: Just wanted to say thank you for a super day out yesterday. The Hatchett clan really enjoyed the day and the fantastic company. On a personal note – this time last year I would never have thought that I would be willing or able to wade through backwaters, limbo under fallen trees, scramble up steep river banks, clamber across unmanned narrow boats, shimmy up canal walls with use of a sling, navigate the underside of a very low lying bridge arch, talk to complete strangers with a passion about paddling while sounding reasonably convincing that I know what I’m talking about, or enter a pub in wet gear with a very muddy backside……all in a day trip for an AD member ah. Epic!

See the pictures here

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.

 

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