There’s a canoe club; The Sharks (http://www.thesharks.org.uk/). “The Sharks organise a monthly canoe marafun racing league on the second Tuesday of the month (April – September) and on the second Sunday of the month (October – March) at Harefield to encourage participation. The league and the races are designed for paddlers of all abilities.”
It’s a time trial format at various distances, the longest being 6.4 miles. This involves 5 portages including the one at the far turn meaning that there isn’t a “dead turn” at the half way point.
It’s good fun and an excellent way to measure performance. There are medals at the end of the series for the fastest boats in each class, and a shield for the club with the most points. Points are based on number of boats from each club and not performance.
The course starts and finishes below the bridge at Coppermill Lock, opposite the Coy Carp (PUB!!). It uses a rather pleasant stretch of the Grand Union canal which has a bit of current on it. There’s ample parking at the PUB, good access to the water and good organisation. (Did I mention there’s a PUB?)
Anyway, I rocked up with The Darkness last week and finished in just under 62 minutes to claim the C1 fastest time of the year.
So, this is the view from the start. Paddle past the mill stream and under the bridge.
The first portage is an easy out, run down under the bridge and put back in.
The second portage is equally easy.
The turn is fun. Paddle under the bridge, out on the right, leg-it over the bridge and put back in at the camera position.
Thoroughly enjoyable and worth checking out.