Our good friends and neighbours at Cuckmere Valley Canoe Club invited us to join in with their exclusive booking of the Lee Valley Legacy Course in September. We had a fantastic evening on the water with paddlers relishing the opportunity to try the grade 2- 3 features course without having had to pass their assessment beforehand – one of the advantages of an exclusive booking.
Nicola Hern from CVCC wrote this trip report. “If asked, I would say that for someone who began kayaking in April, heading up to the Olympic white water course in September was a little ambitious, but hey no-one said I couldn’t go. On arrival at the impressive Lee Valley White Water Centre, Steve Douch walked us around the course and reassuringly pointed out that we would be using the non-Olympic course, and that one really didn’t look too scary.(I decided to ignore Amy’s comment of “It’s much worse than it looks once you are in.”) David Marchant very clearly explained and demonstrated, to those of us new to white water, how to be rescued: “Lie back with your feet out in front of you and raise your hands above your head ready to catch the throwline.” The vital bit of information that was missing was: do all this while you are in a human sized washing machine in its final, kitchen shaking spin cycle.
A generous number of coaches gave up lots of their time on the water to line the course and be ready to rescue those in the water. And it was carnage but fun carnage. I successfully made it all the way down the course, once, but it would be fair to say that the only skill I exhibited was to grab a place in a canoe with expert paddlers at the front and the back, so all I did was scream a bit and pretend I was being an effective team member. The other times when I failed to get past the second step, I still learnt a valuable skill, that of being rescued, which is not as easy as it sounds- see the earlier washing machine reference.
So even for a novice, this trip was excellent fun. It gave me a chance to experience white water with no rocks and lots of help, and to witness the skill of those mastering the rapids. Members from Bewl Water and Adur joined the trip, making it possible for us to have the course to ourselves for hours for only £15 per head. Definitely one for the 2018 calendar.”