As some of you already know, I enjoy kayaking.
Last year, I went with the Bedford Vikings to the Nene Whitewater Centre. Less than a twenty-minute drive from where I live, the centre offers the opportunity to try your hand at running rapids without having to worry about transporting your kayak and kit from one end of a river to the other and back again.
It’s a fabulous place. And, although you usually need to have a level three star or above to use it as an individual, as a club member, it is possible to have a go during and organised event even if you’re only qualified to a one star level. As a large group, surrounded by enough expert paddlers willing to jump in and haul you out if you get into trouble, the centre allows less experienced paddlers onto the course.
The UK’s first pumped artificial whitewater course
Nene Whitewater is the UK’s first pumped artificial whitewater course. As their website explains;
“Three pumps control the discharge of water down the 300 metre whitewater course allowing the Centre to control flow rates thereby altering the course’s difficulty and skill Levels required to paddle it. The Centre and whitewater course will truly be an exciting sporting adventure for the complete novice or the expert paddlers and provide ‘Access for All’.”
Catching kids is fun too
As an adult member of the Vikings, I also spent several hours being one of those responsible for catching the younger kids who veered off course as they paddled through some of the more challenging obstacles. Standing up to my thighs in cool water in the dusk on a Wednesday evening, watching kids excited expressions as they successfully survived one rapid after another was almost as much fun as running the course myself…
You haven’t lived until you’ve shown the young ones that being forty-something doesn’t mean you can’t survive your first attempt round some raging rapids as well as they did (however loud you scream while doing it)!