The Big Paddle Clean Up 2024

Where: Rickmansworth – River Colne/Grand Union Canal & Bury Lake

When: Sunday 2nd June 2024

Volunteers: 14

Bags Filled: 9

Distance cleaned: 4.9km

As part of British Canoeing’s Clear Access Clear Waters, ‘Big Paddle Clean-up’ Campaign. Nomad Kayak Club members paddled the River Colne & Grand Union Canal in Rickmansworth on Sunday 2nd June 2024. The event was lead by our Clear Access Clear Water Champion Ian Walker

Ian and Nigel paddled the large red canoe which acted as the refuse (and rescue) vehicle. A further 10 kayakers (Dan, Darrell, Anton, Robert, Philip, Sue, Annette) , Hannah & Rachael cleaning the River & Canal banks by foot. This main group set off from the club house along the Grand Union Canal.

A sub group led by Graham Summers assisted by 2 new club members (Toby and Robby) paddled on our local water at Bury lake to clean litter on our non moving water.

It was a beautiful sunny day to run the River Colne Rickmansworth loop. Most paddlers portaged round the top weir.

Paddling onwards we scoured the banks seeking rubbish. The normal selection of bottles, cans, tennis balls and empty packets were gathered as we worked our way down the river.

The Colne was still running high for early summer and flowing very steadily in stretches with the low-lying trees presenting a challenging course for those not used to moving water. In a few sections fallen trees closed the river to small gaps where some of the less experienced kayakers did capsize. These were promptly rescued by Ian & Nigel with the rest of the group supporting. Ian braved the cold water to assist with navigation where trees had fallen and help guide people through safely.

There was one low bridge and a 3rd weir to negotiate carefully with the Canoe and Kayaks loaded higher with rubbish. All nearly survived remaining upright to the end especially when Nigel leapt out of the Canoe to help ensure safe passage for all. This this was near to the get out at Springwell lock car park where the river joins back into the Canal again.

8 large bags of rubbish were gathered plus a for sale sign and fishing lines and floats. All of the rubbish was loaded into Ian’s car (with protective sheet in place) & as Sue was a bit cold after a couple of dips she went with Ian to help at the rubbish dump.

Then all the other Kayakers & Canoe paddled back along the canal to our club house at Bury Lake.

The polo session had been moved to the afternoon so those feeling really keen could also get their fix of canoe polo although after over 3 hrs on the water in the morning we were feeling a little jaded.

A BBQ was offered to all after a good wash of hands. An interesting, eventful and fun event I believe was enjoyed by all.

Thanks to all who took the time and effort to help with the Big Paddle Clean-up. It certainly helps promote and show what a great club Nomads is.

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