Last Sunday saw another training race instalment for this year’s Cranleigh kayaking squad as they prepare for the Devizes-Westminster International Canoe Race to be run over the Easter weekend. The ‘Waterside C’ race challenged competitors to race from Pewsey Wharf in Wiltshire (with a 9.00am start) 23 miles, with 35 portages, over the county border to finish at Newbury in Berkshire. The course included tackling the Crofton flight of 9 successive locks (often on foot carrying the boats) and then paddling through the gloomy, unlit, 516 yard ‘Thomas Bruce’ tunnel at Savernake in Wiltshire – not a pleasant prospect for the claustrophobic!
The weather proved typically mixed with lovely spring sunshine alternating with freezing hailstorms and blackened skies: but that, in truth, compared favourably with last year’s -6 degrees temperatures for the same race! All the Cranleighans completed this exhausting test successfully, and Abi Dahl & Charlie Norton set a new Cranleigh girls’ record for the ‘Waterside C Race’ completing the course in 4 hours, 14 minutes and 54 seconds. James Doherty and Jamie Hemming led the way in for our boys’ crews, finishing in under 4 hours with a time of 3.58.25.
Well done to all of our crews on making the step up successfully to this higher level!