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Paddle Peak inspires 240 local youngsters at the Cromford Mill Outdoors Weekend

Paddle Peak headed up by Escape UK (Belper based adventure providers) and Peak UK (Darley Dale based paddlesport equipment manufacturers) ran come and try kayaking sessions over the scorching bank holiday weekend as part of Cromford Mill’s Outdoor Weekend. 

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Free of charge sessions for local youngsters ran every half hour on the Cromford Canal around the Wharf. Every session was fully booked up and gave the young paddlers a great intro to the wonderful sport of kayaking.

Instructors included James Bebbington and Sally Montgomery, who were just back from filming the Expedition TV series with Steve Backshall in Bhutan. 

Freestyle Kayaking Demos were given daily by international athlete’s including James Bebbington, World Champion, wowing the sun baked crowds into the different disciplines of the sport.

Olympic Champion Etienne Stott was canal side with his medal, inspiring the youngsters with his story from boy scout to London 2012 glory and beyond. 

The weekend was part of Paddle Peak’s vision to inspire and enable local youngsters to take up paddlesports. 

Paddle Peak’s goal now is to set up a waterside activity base with changing facilities, boat storage and class rooms for use by local clubs, emergency services and activity providers. The base will give local young, disabled and less fortunate people the chance to try and take up paddlesports. In turn promoting healthy exercise, lifestyle and good mental well being. 

One parent commented on the weekend’s paddling “ Well done. My boy loved his time on the water and has asked if when he’s older he can get a kayak!" a passerby added, “Looks like great fun and lovely weather. Great to see the children on the water.”

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What an amazing turnout. This weekend we’ve seen almost 250 local kids enjoying kayaking on the Cromford Canal. Hopefully we’ve inspired a few to come back for more. One day perhaps we’ll have a Derwent Valley Olympic Champion!! This weekend we’ve seen the potential. Now we must get a local community base and venue set up to enable our youngsters to thrive in our wonderful valley and sport.

– Event co organiser Pete Astles from Peak UK

Huge thanks to the following for making the weekend such a massive success: Peak UK. Escape UK. Cromford Mills. Pyranha. Ainsworth. James Bebbington. Etienne Stott. Sal Montgomery and all the volunteer coaches.

For more details on where and how you can take up Paddlesports in the Derwent Valley checkout: www.paddlepeak.org or email [email protected]

Paddle Peak is a group of Derbyshire paddlesport businesses, clubs and professionals, powered by a shared passion. Their vision is to work collectively on the following areas:

Access - Open up the River Derwent Valley for paddlesports. 

Inspire - Enable local youngsters to take up paddlesports 

Care - Preserve the River Derwent Valley and protect its wildlife. 

Share - Responsibly and respectfully share the River Derwent Valley with other users. 

Promote - Boost the visitor economy by promoting local business.