Basingstoke and Deane Canoe Club have started running a programme of introductory canoe and kayak sessions for adults. Last weekend participants put their newly learned skills to the test with a paddle down the scenic Basingstoke Canal from Odiham Wharf. The programme provides training in the basic techniques of canoeing and kayaking, with journeys on the Basingstoke Canal to test those skills. 

The eight intrepid adults who have decided to try out canoeing have already learned forward paddling and turning techniques. The Sunday paddle on the canal gave them the opportunity to try out the Club's touring kayaks, which were purchased this year with an Awards for All grant. These are long straight-running craft that have given them the chance to paddle a longer distance without struggling to keep on line, which can be a problem with shorter boats. The course will continue through September, with training at the Club's weekly meetings at Queen Mary's College swimming pool. By spreading the training between the canal with plenty of space and the warm, clean water of the swimming pool it will possible to provide good environments to learn a wide range of techniques and skills.

This course has been supported by a grant from Sport Hampshire and IOW under their Return to Sport scheme and the Canoe Club are hoping to run a similar course in the spring of next year. Coaching for the course has been provided by British Canoe Union qualified coaches from the Club. "Many people try canoeing or kayaking in their youth but do not become active in the sport. This programme, supported by Sport Hampshire and IOW, is giving them and those people who have never tried canoeing an opportunity to try this sport" said Peter Mansell, one of the coaches supervising the paddle on Sunday. For other "Return to Sport" opportunities please visit their website