Richard Sainsbury and his brother, Glyn, are currently training to take on the Go Canoeing Three Lakes Challenge in 24 hours. As part of their preparation they spent their Easter break training, including taking on another of our challenge routes; The Trent Loop Challenge.
Friday and Saturday were spent on local lakes and canals, including a swim when hit by 24 mph winds on the lake! Having consumed a good quantity of food and drink on Easter Sunday the brothers weren’t feeling 100% on bank holiday Monday but they still pushed ahead and headed to Nottingham to take on the Trent Loop.
The drive down was a little somber but having got to the National Water Sports Centre and looked at the water they felt much happier. It was calm and mild with low boat traffic, so conditions looked favourable.
Richard has narrowed their Apache 15’ a fair chunk, making it faster in a straight line but meaning some stability is lost. This paddle was to be a good test for their Three Lakes attempt in June.
The first mile is upstream but the brothers found there was very little current on the day and they made good progress to their first portage, onto the Nottingham and Beeston Canal.
The plan was to go for a good time to test their training so there was very little time to stop for pictures along the route. They mentioned to us that although they found the first lock easily it could be missed if you do not know where to look for it. The ramp off the river is quite steep and it is hard work to carry a canoe up.
They put into the canal, grabbed a picture and pushed on. Richard has a weakness for inner city canals and enjoyed this part of the paddle the most.
Making good time they reached the next lock in no time; hopping out and back in at the portage. The next stretch took them out of town and they knew they were making good progress when they overtook two barges and a boat.
Overtaking a barge on a canal is quite tricky as you are only going marginally faster and the barges bow waves naturally pull you in towards the boat.– Richard Sainsbury
It is easy to know where to get back onto the River Trent because the Nottingham and Beeston Canal runs out at Beeston weir. Here Richard and Glyn were able to restock and refresh at the lockside facilities before searching for their way back into the river. With the water level low it was trickier than usual to negotiate the concrete blocks at the get in point.
With the current helping they set off with gusto, finding the time out of the boat had eased tight shoulders. From this point it is a straight paddle back. The duo did not encounter any traffic for the first couple of miles and, although tired, were able to push reasonably hard most of the time.
Rounding the last corner they spotted the buoys marking the weir at Holme Pierrepont. Their journey was over and in an impressive 3 hours 18 minutes.
Richard told us the Trent Loop Challenge had been great training for their bigger challenge later in the year and gave them a chance to properly test out their kit:
The bent shaft paddles are great for locomotion and produce much more go for your effort but correcting is more difficult. At times it feels like your paddle is jammed against the boat. Keeping it almost on the surface seemed to work better. In rougher weather I would revert to my normal red kite paddle– Richard Sainsbury
The Trent Loop Challenge had originally been measured at around 12 miles but Richard and Glyn reported it at nearer 14 miles. They were not the first people to tell us this, so we have been able to update the challenge information accordingly. This means the Trent Loop is even more of a challenge than we had originally thought!