Jane and I tried something new in our wombling life today – litter picking on water. The Canal and River Trust organised this at Thurmaston lock on the north side of Leicester (part of the same canal that runs past our back garden) and provided canoes. The running of the session was facilitated by a local water sports club called Paddle Plus, who brought along some experienced paddlers to keep us all safe.
It isn’t the first time we’ve been on the water but it is the first time in a long, long while. I think my last time was as a youth group leader, over twenty five years ago, and I probably ingested too much water as I ended up being horribly sick all the way home and for a day or two after. Before that, Jane used to belong to a rowing club. Fortunately, no ill effects are apparent this time, although we can tell that we exercised some muscles that aren’t used to being worked out.
A canoe is fairly stable, as long as you remember the golden rule of not leaning your head and upper body over the side. That would shift the centre of gravity and be more likely to shift you into the water. However, you can manoeuvre yourself with the paddles (which also give reach for redirecting things floating in the water) and the grabbers are just as handy on the water as on land.
I would definitely sign up to do it again. Would I want to get my own watercraft? Possibly, although it would have set up costs and ongoing costs (even something as small as a paddle board needs to be licensed). However, I would consider it, with the pleasure of being on the water and having the canal at the end of the garden.