The Go Canoeing week was bathed with warm sunshine and perfect conditions for introducing over 65 people to canoeing at the Castle Island Canoe Centre at Enniskillen. A series of paddling sessions took place over the week with stand up paddling, canoeing and kayaking. A wide spectrum of ages and abilities brought its challenges, and it was great to see our coaches and young volunteers giving encouragement to those who needed that reassurance that they are safe, that boats turning around it is quite normal and that they will eventually master paddling in a straight line. One particular child had a great fear of the water, and it wasn’t long before they were joining in jumping into the water and having such a great time.
The first Saturday and the fast growing paddle sport of Stand Up Paddling proved a great way of introducing people to the water and paddling, and after a few safety instructions a demonstration of paddling, a gentle push to find out the dominate leg and soon people where kneeling down on the boards and taking their first few strokes. Once one was up, a few wobbles the odd scream and tumble back down on the board, the others soon joined in. Many local children took part on the paddles in open boats through the week around the town, making the most of the fountains of water to cool off. Some then pretended the canoes where submarines, others pirate ships but all managed to come back unscathed.
For some the attraction of being able to go on the recreational paddles around Lough Erne was a motivation for a number to get started in kayaks on the last weekend. Nice warm water after a few weeks of sunshine was a good time to introduce the capsize and rescues as well as the basics of paddling. Over the next few weeks will see some of these new paddlers join us in the Blueway 10 k challenge, and so now looking forward to a few months of summer and lots of paddling.
The Go Canoeing week is a great way of making known the opportunities of paddling, and look forward to it being a feature in the paddling calendar. Thanks again to the coaches and volunteers who make this possible, opening up the adventure of paddling with so much enthusiasm to others.