(Article written by Ian Richardson)
Welcome to all our new members and many thanks to all those who have renewed membership. Enjoy your paddling; this year and for many years to come. The club already provides a good range of opportunities and aspires to do more as membership grows.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, membership tailed off during the Covid pandemic but, as greater freedoms have returned, membership has begun to grow again: we now have more than 100 members.
As a club run entirely on the voluntary efforts of members, every contribution is appreciated: it is not necessary to take on particular or onerous responsibilities. Small contributions of time and effort can make a real difference, particularly at events like the open day and race day (more on these later). If you feel able to help, or want to know how you might make a difference, please speak to Guy, Bill, Andrew or Ian or to one of the coaching team. For those who already volunteer, thank you and please keep up the good work!
Congratulations to our six new Paddlesport Instructors (pictured): Rob, Peter, Martin, Guy, Mandy and Briony, together with their professional instructor/assessor, Phil Hadley (centre). All six will be valuable additions to our coaching team; helping members and visitors to develop their paddling skills and to stay safe on and around the water.
Past Chair of SPS, Bill Norris is reminded of his trip advice…
Oswestry Community Games
Pictured are some of the club volunteers on the SPS ‘stand’ at the 10th Oswestry Community Games. The free event, in Cae Glas Park, showcases some of the finest local clubs and associations and was held on Sunday 12th June. The event organiser commended SPS for its efforts and the difference the club had made to the event.
Many members look forward to club trips, and those who have been on a few can usually recall favourites or regale funny stories, usually at the expense of fellow members.
A number of trips have already taken place this year – some of which are mentioned in this newsletter – and more are to come: book your place when they are advertised by email and get along to build your paddling experiences and memories.
Provisionally, upcoming trips will include:
Sunday 24th July: Cressage to Jackfield (Ironbridge) – a scenic paddle on the River Severn, ending with the option of paddling the Jackfield rapids and playing in the white water, followed by a bbq. Guy, Mandy and Ian braved the recent hot weather to scout this one for you (it was a tough job but someone had to do it!) (Moderate difficulty)
12th or 13th August (evening): Viewing the Shrewsbury firework display from the River Severn. (Easy)
Sunday 21st August: Bridgnorth to Arley or Bewdley. Another scenic River Severn paddle (moderate difficulty)
Saturday 3rd & Sunday 4th September: River Wye: A two-day paddle from Symond’s Yat to Monmouth, camping overnight. (Moderate)
Sunday 11th Sept: Llyn Padarn (Llanberis lake) or Four Mile Bridge, Anglesey. A potential two day trip on lake or estuary. (Easy)
Sunday 18th Sept: Llangollen to Chirk. A classic club journey, taking in the Pontcysyllte and Chirk aqueducts and the Chirk tunnel. This trip will be 2022’s ‘Karen Porter memorial paddle’. (Easy)
October – date to confirmed: Corwen cabins to Horseshoe Falls +. From Horseshoe Falls, the option of either Llangollen via canal (Easy) or Mile End Mill via the River Dee, including white water at Chain Bridge and Serpent’s Tail. (Difficult – grade 3/4)
Further details will be released nearer the time of each trip.
You can see our calendar of events at: https://www.shropshirepaddlesport.org/shropshire-paddlesport-events-diary/
Many thanks go to our member, Joe Whittle for carrying out repairs to the metal external staircase that serves the upper level boat store. Better known for his skills in an open boat, Joe’s wider skills have proved to be very useful: thanks, Joe!
The installation of hand-driers completed the programme of works to repair and upgrade services to the clubhouse: with successful grant bids, the cost to the club of work to the sewage treatment plant, heating and hot water system and hand driers has been negligible.
Trip Report: Chester Canal
Off we paddled for a lovely 7.5 miles (or was it 8 miles!) paddle into Chester and out the other side. Suburban housing gave way to restaurants and trendy pubs before we entered the historical part of our journey paddling past the cathedral and city walls.
Despite setting off with full stomachs, we needed to refuel after the 6 portages, fortunately all portages were downhill. One of the group took an early bath as they decided to save time and seal launch their canoe down a grassy bank into the canal.
Lunch was outside Telford’s Warehouse, next to the suitably named ‘William’s Moorings’ Our paddle concluded with sunshine and a welcome tail wind.
A very enjoyable day out with great company !
Bill Norris, Trip co-leader
New purchases over recent months have included two hybrid touring/sea kayaks, together with paddles and spay decks; an open canoe, outfitted with a sailing rig, and a number of buoyancy aids. All are being well used and the kayaks, in particular, have proved to be popular.
The surge of interest in paddle-boarding has resulted in demand for use of the club SUPs outstripping supply and so two new SUPs have been purchased and are due for delivery this week (w/c 18th July). In addition, the diversity of the club’s craft will be reinforced by the arrival, expected on 20th July, of a fibreglass coracle. Modelled on a traditional coracle design but of more robust construction, the coracle is being manufactured by a relatively local business, Arrowcraft, who are based in Bloxwich, Walsall. The coracle will be difficult to miss, in bright SPS yellow, and is sure to be useful to members practising for intended entry in the ‘Coracle Relay World Championships’, held annually in Shrewsbury in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.
Coracle World Championships
The ‘Macmillan Coracle World Championships 2022’ will be held at Shrewsbury on Friday 16th September.
Up to 48 teams of 4 will take part in the relay race, over about 6 hours. Organisers say most teams wear fancy dress but it’s not compulsory: just have fun, enjoy the crowds, the food and the bar. It is possible there may be an after-race party at the nearby Boathouse pub (to be confirmed).
If you are interested in being part of a team, and have not already done so, contact Bill Norris firstname.lastname@example.org for further details, including entry fees/fund-raising plans.
Club Open Day
The club’s annual ‘open day’ returned in 2022, after a Covid-enforced gap of two years. Would anyone come? The early signs, detected through social media activity, suggested a strong level of interest. On the day, the weather was fine and a good number of club volunteers, both paddlers and family members, turned out to help; whether with setting things up, managing parking, providing catering, registering visitors. issuing buoyancy aids or leading activities.
A highlight of the day was the presentation to the Club of British Canoeing’s ‘Quality Club’ award. The award was received by Club Vice Chair (now Chair), Guy Brotherton from British Canoeing’s Club Support Officer, Jonathan Scowcroft.
Working with Oswestry School
The Club’s collaboration with Oswestry School continues to benefit both organisations. In return for the use of the Club’s facilities, equipment and some practical support, the Club has use of the School’s swimming pool, the use of School canoes stored at the club and, over the summer, loan of a number of SUPs.
SPS: ‘Quality Club’
The Club’s efforts to be the best club we can be are reflected in the recognition by British Canoeing of SPS as a ‘Quality Club’. Only a minority of clubs have achieved this award which would not have been possible without a great deal of effort in collating and reviewing policies and procedures. For this we are particularly grateful to club member, Claire Dickinson, ably supported by (then) Chair, Bill Norris, SPS Secretary, Lindsey Watson and others. Having achieved the award we now need to ensure we retain it by having, reviewing and improving a broad range of appropriate policies, procedures and activities.
Club Race Day
‘Race Day’ returned to the Club in 2021 after Covid had caused the 2020 event to be cancelled. Unfortunately, the event planned for Sunday 10th July needed to be cancelled and it is now hoped that this can be re-arranged for Sunday 9th October. The races form part of the national Hasler series of races.
Race Day is the highlight of the SPS paddling year for the club’s racing paddlers and is well-worth supporting. It is also a great opportunity to showcase the Club to paddlers from across the region and beyond. Please look out for confirmation of this year’s event , announcement of which which will also be accompanied by a plea for support from the wider membership for assistance in running the event.
SPS racer, Ed Wigley – a blur as he passes under a bridge at speed in the SPS ‘Race Day’ in the Hasler series of races.
Suggestions and help required!
The reality is that club activities are, invariably, organised by a minority of the club’s membership. It doesn’t need to be this way. If you think you might be able to help, in whatever way, please let others know. This can be done however you wish but club meetings and Saturday mornings are good times to share your offers of help or suggestions for improvements with Club officers or members of the coaching team. We look forward to hearing from you.