Well, you made us hold our breath there didn’t you?! This National Go Canoeing Week we set a target of 45,000 miles for the nation to paddle. We were pretty confident you would all join in and help us but we weren’t banking on lots of you holding out on logging your miles until the last minute.
Just as we were getting ready to push the panic button and start ringing around distant relatives to find out if they had happened to hit the water during the week, you all clicked the ‘Log Miles’ button and sent the total through the roof!
Now that we have picked ourselves up off the floor we wanted to say a massive thank you and celebrate all the ways the awesome paddling community helped to make this our most successful ever National Go Canoeing Week.
45,000 miles just wasn’t far enough for you all and in the end you registered a whopping 57,674! This is about how far a A380 airbus (the world's largest passenger plane) flies for Qantus in a week. Not a very relevant fact but it’s hard to find facts about mileage that high.
Every mile counts during the week and we appreciate those who paddle one mile as much as those who barely leave the water. This year’s high mileage totals were particularly impressive though. We don’t want to give too much away here as our prize winners will be announced next week but we imagine some of you needed a long lie down after all that effort.
We love reading your stories on how you’ve clocked up those miles. This year lots of you took on one or more of our Canoe Trails, using the information we supply for a fun trip on the water. Families took to the water in their abundance with lots of parent, child and grandparent miles logged. Four parent/child duos from Truro Canoe Race Club headed out to complete our Three Lakes Challenge, with Gary and his son Oscar completing in a time that propelled them to the top of the challenge leaderboard.
They weren’t the only ones to take on the Three Lakes Challenge however. Alan Minister clearly didn’t feel the challenge was enough and he combined the Three Lakes with the Three Peaks challenge...and cycled in between the lakes/hills!
On a seperate challenge is Philip Sowden who logged his miles for the week as part of his three month expedition to paddle the entire Bliss Canoe Trail. Seventy year old Philip paddled 50 miles during the week but over the entire three month period he will cover a huge 862 miles. You can read more and donate to his fundraising total for Macmillan and SNAPP here.
We also had people geocaching by boat, spending holiday time on the water, completing Duke of Edinburgh expeditions, marshalling the swim section of triathlons, going on SUP and steam train trips and taking their award assessments.
The annual 100 Mile Canoe Test saw 70 young people spending the Bank Holiday weekend on the River Severn and logging 700 miles for the week. A well organised event, run by Andy Oughton, which grows year on year and is a real test of stamina for all involved.
We could hardly ask the whole nation to go paddling and not hit the water ourselves could we?! During the week we held a staff paddle with a school sports day theme. Not only did we discover that egg and spoon and blindfold races are far more fun in a boat but that a version of on the water Hungry Hippos can really bring out the competitive side of British Canoeing staff members!
Glory was hotly contested, capsizes were roundly cheered and our sides nearly split with laughter as we clocked up our miles for the week. A great way to celebrate all the hard work put in by staff in the run up to the week.
Also holding a staff afternoon was one of our trade partners, Palm Equipment. They sent us a great video of them all having fun on the water for the week.
The first weekend of National Go Canoeing Week brought us Paddle in the Park, an event run in conjunction with the National Water Sports Centre. British Canoeing staff worked alongside staff from the centre to deliver a fantastic weekend of paddling activities, workshops and fun events. The following weekend we were on the road again, getting hundreds of people on the water at the Keswick Mountain Festival. We loved seeing so many of you at both events.
Also present at the weekend were some of our British Canoeing Women’s Paddling Ambassadors. Not only did they help us with the running of the event but it was also great to see them sharing their passion for all types of paddlesport.
Despite the fact you tested our nerves we think you’re all awesome for helping us reach such a fantastic total for the week and want to say a big thank you to each of you who logged miles.
National Go Canoeing Week 2019 will run from 25th May to 2nd June. Make sure you put it in your diary now so you can move any less important invitations such as your best friend's wedding or your Diamond wedding anniversary.
We’d hate for you to get bored waiting for next year's National Go Canoeing Week so, to keep you all going, we are launching a challenge for you all to take on in the month of August. The imaginatively titled August Paddling Challenge (yes, it took us a while to come up with that one) encourages you all to get out and paddle 30 or 60 miles throughout the month.
We don’t expect you to just do this for the smug sense of achievement however; when you register your completed challenge with us we will send you a free boat sticker! You can find out more about the August Paddle Challenge here.