Over the course of the recent Legenderry Maritime Festival, Foyle Paddlers entertained the massive crowds who flocked to the Clipper event, by providing a range of free canoeing and kayaking activities, both on land and on the water.
Club Participation Officer, Enda Cummins who helped organise the event, calculated that over the course of the nine day festival, nearly 1,000 people, aged from two to seventy years of age, took part in our taster sessions and moonlight paddles, with literally hundreds turned away due to demand. Participants came from all over Ireland and from various countries around the world.
Club Coaching Officer Alex Watt, together his team of coaches and support staff, helped welcome hundreds of members of the public of all abilities, and those with a disability, including some blind paddlers, autistic, and downs syndrome paddlers, who were all treated to a memorable and enjoyable experience on the river Foyle.
The highlight of the week was undoubtedly our ‘Moonlight Paddle’. Nearly 130 tickets were sold out within days. A huge crowd, consisting of members of the public were guided by 35 coaches and club members, on an enchanting night-time recreation paddle, through the heart of the city. Paddling in a range of rafted open boats, open boats, double and single sea kayaks, our flotilla of small craft, paddled under the Craigavon and Peace Bridges – each craft decorated with a range of lights and banners – finally, the contented travellers, disembarked at the council pontoon and were ferried back to Prehen by bus.
Foyle Paddlers Canoe Club members helped provide taster sessions, ergo simulated racing, and essential paddle safety advice during each day of the festival. Really positive feedback was received, about the professionalism shown by FPCC and their willingness to offer free canoeing opportunities. Many people commented on a wish to see more access to the Foyle and greater opportunities to participate in water-sports and paddling in particular.
The event was a credit to every club member who provided assistance and highlights again what can be achieved by a well organised, committed and successful club. Not surprisingly, we have received dozens of requests for membership. However, unfortunately we can only facilitate limited numbers, due to the uncertainty from Derry City Council about our Prehen Boathouse facilities.
Lots of photos taken throughout the festival are available on the facebook pages of the club (album 1, 2 and 3) and Navarat Turner (album 1, 2, 3 & 4)