Newsletter, March 15th, 2024

Summer on the Way!

After a soggy winter you are probably looking forward to some pleasant spring and summer paddles and light nights. Our summer season starts on Thursday 4th April, from 5.30 p.m. From then on, we meet each week on Thursdays, and also on alternate Sunday afternoons at 1.15 p.m. Our first Sunday session of the new season is on April 7th. This year we have 30 minute longer sessions and can be on site until 4.15 p.m. The dates for you diary for the first half of the season are:

April; Thursdays; 4, 11, 18, 25 Sundays; 7, 21

May; Thurdays; 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 (May 9th. Deva CC AGM)

Sundays; 5, 19

June; Thursdays; 6, 13, 20, 27

Sundays; 2, 16, 30

As far as membership goes, our prudent treasurer, Simon, has asked not to be sent payment until April when he will send out reminders.

Deva Family on TV!

Of interest to all Deva members, and especially those with children (and those with grandchildren), will be a Channel 5 programme entitled “Meet the Experts”. Each week a young person gets to demonstrate their expertise. Episode 9 of series 2 is all about kayaking, and features Idris Ellis. His dad, Deva member John Ellis, also features (in a supporting role!). During the programme Idris gets to go kayaking on the Dee in Llangollen with Darren Clarkson. You can see the 15 minute programme by signing into the catch-up service, My5 and searching for Meet the Experts, Series 2, Episode 9. Well worth watching and should be BAFTA nominated.

Change at the Top

B.C. rebranded as Paddle UK As you may be aware, British Canoeing, our governing national body, has changed its name to Paddle UK. This is to reflect the wider range of activities it covers which now includes paddleboarding, sit-on-tops, the many kayak disciplines as well as canoeing which has led to a considerable growth in its membership. More details about the name change can be found here.

Bio-Security Plan for the Dee Estuary

I have recently had the pleasure of attending a meeting with Natural England and Natural Resources Wales, Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru. They are in the process of writing a biosecurity plan for the Dee Estuary with the aim of controlling the problem of invasive species, both plants and animals. Seeds or eggs from invasive species can be very small and easily transferred from one body of water to another on canoes, kayaks etc or on personal kit such as shoes, clothing, PFDs etc. Several invasive species have already been detected in the Dee, and the aim of the biosecurity plan is to monitor, control and limit their spread. It also aims to be watchful for ‘horizon species’, which are not in the Dee at present but are in other UK locations and may arrive in the future. An example of an invasive creature is the mitten crab, which probably arrived in the UK in ballast water discharged from ships. It has spread to many European rivers and can cause bank erosion where it burrows and decimate native species. There are many other examples of plants and animals that are possible threats to our environment. As responsible river users we need to make sure we check, clean and dry kit after each trip. We can also record and report the location of any suspected invasive species we see when on the river. More information about species identification will be made available soon and we will pass this onto Deva members. In the meantime, CHECK- CLEAN- DRY. ‘Clear Access Clear Waters’ Work Goes On As part of our ongoing work to improve the environment of our rivers and seas, we will be organising a river clean event during the season to remove litter from the Dee. Simon Lawson is taking on the role of Club Environmental Coordinator and will be calling for volunteers and announcing details in the coming months.

Coaching and Trips

We want to widen club activity by encouraging members to run club trips. If you have an idea for a trip, then have a word with Ray McCann who will advise and help you plan it. We already have some ideas but would like to see more on the calendar. If you are interested in leading trips or coaching for the club, then also see Ray or a member of the committee. To keep the club active and lively we need coaches and leaders to help out at every level. If you would like to qualify as a club approved coach or leader, then also see Ray. Those of us who have already done so will tell you how rewarding it can be, and that leading and coaching will also improve your own paddling.

Adventures at Sea

Colin Hayward writes… The number of club members showing an interest in touring or sea kayaking has increased dramatically in recent times with the Sunday winter sessions at the riverside seeing demand for club sea kayaks regularly hitting double figures and outnumbering the white water paddlers. I would like to think this is at least partly due to the stories and photos of sea kayak trips making an impression. Since the weekly club sessions finished for the winter back in September 2023, I have personally completed 20 sea kayak journeys, many of them accompanied by various club members. These winter adventures also included the odd river or canal paddle if the weather on the coast was too rough, but whenever possible we ventured out onto the sea. I have been attending the pool sessions at Northgate right through the winter and I’ve spoken to plenty of newcomers who have expressed an interest in getting involved with sea trips this summer. The primary route to getting invited to paddle on the sea is to ask to be added to the ‘Deva B’ list or speak to myself or Bill Neary at the riverside. I’ve included a couple of photos from some of our winter paddles which may whet some appetites further.

Thanks Colin.

We are looking forward to a successful summer season paddling a variety of craft on both salt and fresh water.