Thursday, 26 July 2012

Kennet Waterside Series and DW Race dates for 2013

Potential participants in Newbury Canoe Club's Waterside Series of canoe races and/or the annual Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race will no doubt be aware of the 2013 dates already.

However, a small minority of other river users seem to find the concept of boats racing along a cut canal difficult to comprehend (or even that such athletes might need to practice a bit first).  In 2011, for example, Bracknell based Newtown Angling Club's March newsletter reported in its club match results section that for its "East Towney" match on 23.01.11 that

"The diary entry for this match simply reads – weather reasonable – prospects good - no fish…CANOES! – and this basically is a pretty succinct summary of events on the day. This venue looks a bit bleak in winter but conditions weren’t too bad, chilly, a bit grey and overcast with a gentle breeze and the water showing a tinge of colour. No sooner had the whistle blown than umpteen canoes descended upon us – apparently they were training ‘en masse’ for some charity event, or other, paddling down to Westminster – pity they hadn’t advised their angling brethren (who pay to be on the bank) of their intentions, we could have gone elsewhere." [Source:]

In order to help such organisations' future planning the following dates may be of assistance.

Sunday 03 February 2013: Waterside A - Start: Great Bedwyn 09.00 to 12.00 Finish: Newbury 11.00 to 14.15 

Sunday 17 February 2013: Waterside B - Start: Newbury 10.00 to 11.30. The turning point is to the west of the A340 road bridge near Aldermaston Wharf.  Finish: Newbury 12:00. to 14.30.

Sunday 03 March 2013: Waterside C - Start: Pewsey Wharf 09.00 to 11.00 Finish: Newbury 12.00 to 14.30.

Sunday 17 March 2014: Waterside D - Start: Devizes 07.00 to 08.30 Finish: Newbury 12.30 to 14.30

Please note that some of the race dates are occasionally cancelled or changed if the K&A Canal/Kennet Navigation are frozen, so please check for updates here:
It won't bother anglers who will be enjoying the closed season rest, but from Friday 29 March - Monday 01 April 2013 (the Easter Bank Holiday) the Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race will take place (it will be the Friday and Saturday that will affect the Kennet & Avon Canal and the Kennet Navigation).  If you're not paddling elsewhere on the day (lots of suggestions on this blog on alternative sections of the River Kennet for recreational paddlers to avoid the race competitors), why not spend a couple of hours cheering on the teams who raise £1000's for charities each year by participating in this gruelling 125 mile marathon.

On a final note for those "who pay to be on the bank"

- Individual BCU Membership (which covers the obligatory licence to paddle on the Kennet and the Thames) is currently £37.00 per year (adult over 23 years), £29.60 (for 18-22 years) or £22.20 (under 18). This compares to the current full season coarse rod licence of £27.00 (senior/disability concession of £18.00, junior concession of £5.00, and children under 12 free).

- Annual club membership of, for example, Reading Canoe Club is currently:

 OAP ( over 65)
£  75
Novice (little experience & up to 3 times/ week)
£  60
Junior (after 1. year & lower than B group)
£  70
Intense Junior ( A & B group)
£  20
* Many recreational focused clubs offer lower membership fees, and you don't have to be a member of a club to enjoy recreational paddling, but you may not get far racing without such.  It's a bit like trying to fish on the Kennet without access to privately controlled club waters; perhaps anglers should be lobbying such as the AT for more free access.

- Then there's the taxes we all pay for making up the £9.4m shortfall between the EA expenditure on fisheries and income from rod licences [2009-10 figures].  Update: 2010-11 EA accounts here.

- There's also the income to fisheries from the public purse from such as the Millenium Commission /EA funded Fish Pass Project on the Thames and Kennet (£1.4m+ from memory (although the Millenium Commission's website seems to have disappeared)), the additional EA funding for the fish pass at the weir at the head of Drapers Osier Bed Stream (£63k), and numerous contributions by such as the EA, Natural England and Thames Water for river rehabilitation programmes on private upsteam fisheries, e.g.

- Despite the unlikely prospect of any GB angling medals, fishing clubs are also benefitting from the current Olympic funding:  Which is fine; I'd much rather see young people enjoying outdoor activity time with their families than stuck on a game system (or worse) whilst Ma and Pa head for the pub. 

Update: I forgot the cost of entering the Waterside series of races:

Senior: Pre-entries £10.00 per seat per race, or £36.00 per seat for the whole series.  Late entries £3.00 per seat per race.
Junior: Pre-entries £8.00 per seat per race, or £28.00 per seat for the whole series.  Late entries £3.00 per seat per race.

Could we now drop the argument that canoeists and kayakers don't pay towards shared use of our inland waterways?  Tight lines and happy paddling.