Ben Seal, canoeing development officer at British Canoeing tells us why everyone should be taking to the water over Go Canoeing Week...
There are few better ways to view the world than from a canoe with a paddle in your hand! The joy of exploring new places and journeying along rivers and canals still gives me the same sense of excitement and adventure as when I was a little boy.
As with many people, it was Scouts where I discovered my passion for being on the water. I took my first few paddle strokes on the River Derwent in Derby and was soon exploring the canals and rivers nearby. I was often lucky to be loaned my brother’s old canoeing kit, several sizes too big but it made me feel like the coolest kid on the water!
Having coached and guided many people through their first experiences in a canoe, I am now in the privileged position to work for British Canoeing, the national governing body for our sport.
I am responsible for helping to inspire more people to get out canoeing and to support the thousands already involved. Part of my time is spent working with The Canal & River Trust on the West Midlands partnership to create more places to paddle and improve the environment for everyone.
The Midlands is rich with beautiful scenery and secret spots that can be accessed from a canoe or kayak - few people are aware of what lies on their doorstep. The West Midlands in particular is criss-crossed by a historic canal network. You would be amazed at how green and tranquil the urban environment can feel as you paddle your boat along a quiet stretch of canal!
National Go Canoeing Week (May 23rd – 31st) is a fantastic way to celebrate our sport. It’s the perfect time to get out and clock up a mile or two at your local club or centre. I’ll be out paddling this May, will you?
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