A short notice trip to Nottingham proved fruitful for three canoeists this February when they shot to the top of the Trent Loop Challenge Leaderboard.
Peter, Mike and Jon know each other through theSong of the Paddle group and decided to take on the latest Go Canoeing Challenge Route together.
The Trent Loop Challenge is a twelve mile paddle on the River Trent and Nottingham and Beeston Canal. It starts and finishes at the National Water Sports Centre, Holme Pierrepont. Only a handful of people have taken on the challenge route since its launch at the end of last year, with the previous fastest completion time being 4 hours 56 minutes.
Amidst weeks of foul weather the trio struck lucky with a crisp, sunny day on 4th February. Heading out along the River Trent towards Trent Bridge, the route then moves onto the Nottingham and Beeston Canal. This part of the loop took the paddlers into the heart of Nottingham and past the old British Waterways building and canal warehouses.
As the canal leaves the centre of the city it passes the headquarters of Boots the Chemist (or Alliance Boots), a company which was founded in Nottingham in 1849.
Arriving at Beeston Weir, the paddlers transferred their open canoes back onto the River Trent; pausing for a fifteen minute food break. The weir makes for a good stopping point, with a cafe nearby and the chance to be mesmerised by the roaring water.
This next section was the toughest for the group, with a long, wide stretch of river ahead of them, leading to Clifton Bridge. Once past this point however, the journey starts to take in more sights of Nottingham. Passing under a series of bridges and along the attractive, tree lined, Victoria Embankment. The sports enthusiast may spot the historic Trent Bridge cricket ground in the distance before they pass the City Ground; home of Nottingham Forest football club.
Peter, Mike and Jon arrived back at to the start in 4 hours 18 minutes, shaving an impressive 38 minutes off the previous best time. This meant they had plenty of time to watch the white water paddlers back at the National Water Sports Centre, whilst having a cup of tea, before heading home.
The group are now listed, at the top of the Trent Loop Challenge Leaderboard, as Quentin De Nottingham. Will you be the next paddler to reach the top?!
It was a fun paddle. I completed it in my Birchcanoe, which I built on a wooden stitch-n-glue canoe building course over three years ago. I suspect some of our paddling colleagues will take up the challenge now that we have set a target.– Jon Simpson