No, it isn’t. Having said that, if you want to see how fast you can get round, then that is fine by us. We will time all participants to the nearest second and publish the results on the website.
If we are really efficient they will be published at the club by the end of the day. You will get eternal glory, and a chance to beat your personal best next year, but no prizes. The course records are online.
If you want to speed round bear in mind there will lots of paddlers ahead of you – we will be starting off paddlers over 2 hours or so, with the fastest last. There will also be narrowboats, pedestrians and cyclists and it’s possible (but not that likely) you may have to wait to pass through a tunnel. On the other hand this adds to the tactical challenge! Please note it is mandatory to wear a buoyancy aid.
The Ring Challenge is suitable for any competent paddler who can get round their chosen course in a maximum of 8 hours. Participants who are under 16 must be accompanied all the way round by a competent adult who is also participating. Normally this would be in another boat, contact us if you are thinking of following them by bike etc.
We welcome any sort of boat you can paddle, as long as you can get round in 8 hours tops – K1, K2, sit on tops, touring canoes and kayaks, sea kayaks, stand up paddle boards and coracles. We haven’t had a coracle yet but we’ve has all the rest. Dragon boats and K4s unfortunately do not fit round the corners in the canal.
If you have a heavier boat you may want to consider bringing trolley wheels as some of the portages are quite long and they could prove helpful particularly towards the end when limbs are feeling tired.
It all depends on how fit you are, what sort of boat you are paddling, how fast you are, whether you are speeding round or after a leisurely paddle etc… It is best to choose a distance that you are confident you can do over the day – you can always go for a longer distance next year. You will have a maximum of 8 hours to do the course if you start at 9 am, or 7 hours if starting form Offerton (which is 15 mile distance to do). Don’t forget – it is not just the distance, the portaging is half the work.
For information on choosing your start time please see Routes and Start Times
There are two weirs near or en-route. Diglis Weir is a mile or so after the start of the challenge, river right. You will turn off to join the canal before you get there, river left. Just in case anyone misses the turn off we will have a rescuer standing by, but you can’t miss it – there are giant orange buoys.
Bevere Weir is about 3 miles from the finish, and is a mandatory portage. There will be marshals to help you on the bank and safety cover at the weir itself.
There are 3 tunnels. The first two are marshalled, i.e. there will be people to tell you when it is safe to go through. The final one is near Worcester, and its more of a wide bridge than a tunnel. You will be able to see when it is clear to proceed – make sure there is not a narrowboat coming.
It is as safe as we can reasonably make a long distance canoe challenge. If you are interested in seeing the risk assessment just let us know, and we can email it to you. As we know to our cost, all watersports have inherent risks, and it’s important that you consider whether the event suits you, and let the marshals know if you are struggling. It’s better to stop than take unreasonable risks.
There will be marshals at what are the most potentially risky points – tunnels and weirs. Please read the safety notes (also on the back of the routecard you’ll get on the day) and ask us if there are any questions. Please note that it is mandatory to wear a buoyancy aid, and that shooting of the weir is not permitted (as we will not have a rescue boat in position downstream, it’s not particularly dangerous in itself)
When you enter you need to choose one of the start times. See Routes and Start Times for more details. Basically the faster you are likely to complete the course the later you should start. If you are not sure which one to choose let us know and we can discuss.
If you are doing the full 21 mile Ring then you will need to be at the Club a few minutes early to register. If you are doing the shorter route you will start at Offerton at 10am. We will run you back out there at the end of the day.
We do not want to rush anyone but the marshals do have to go home at some point. If towards the end of the day it doesn’t look like you are going to make it, we will regretfully have to call an end to your paddle. We will of course give you and your boat a lift home.
You are of course free to stop for a picnic or whatever. Please don’t go to the pub though, it makes the marshals sad and jealous.
Obviously we cannot force you to stop, but if you did decide to carry on you would be on your own, with no food/services, and you may find the car park locked on your return. You will have 8 hours to do the full challenge so this is unlikely as long as you choose a suitable distance for yourself.
Did we mention the mandatory buoyancy aid?! There are some terms and conditions on the application form which you should read. The most important things are the mandatory buoyancy aid; look out for each other; be considerate to pedestrians and other waterway users and please obey the marshal’s guidance.
The British Canoeing racing rules do not apply to the event. Where a portage is officially signposted we ask you to follow the signs rather than taking shortcuts. (For those familiar with the route this is via the pontoon to Diglis Basin and the Eastern path at Bevere Weir, on the Bevere side, not via the lock island). There are no problems with a marshal or anyone else giving you a hand to carry your boat or help you out.
If you are a member of British Canoeing (the BCU) then you have liability insurance as part of your membership. This means that you will be protected should you damage or injure someone else or their property and they sue you. It does not cover you for any injury or loss you suffer.
The event itself is covered by the BCU’s public liability insurance. This covers the club and the organisers of the challenge in case we get sued. Hopefully none of this will be required.
It is difficult to say. There will be up to 120 people, although we hope they will not get too bunched up. It is June so there will be a fair number of motor cruisers and narrow boats. We have told the local angler associations and it is unlikely you will see many of them on the canals. There will probably be quite a few anglers on the final leg on the River Severn. They are not always easy to see, so please keep out from the bank.
As normal on a British waterway you should keep to the right hand side and overtake on the left.
Picking the date is a complicated business which involved much research, consideration and beer. We have tried to avoid clashes with local events, regional Haslers and major national canoeing events. Weather, the number of fishermen around, availability of the Racecourse for parking, height of the reeds, school holidays and irritation level of swans all play a part. We have a spreadsheet if you are really interested…
Sorry, No. We know people often enter canoe events on the day but it is important for safety and quality that we are able to plan it properly.
The closing date for applications is about a week before the day. After that, if we have time and available spaces, and you pay the £30 late entry fee (no concessions) then we may be able to accept late entries.
This is really not very likely. There is a routecard and marshals to show you the way at any point where you might go astray. You can always phone Event Control if you have any problems. Basically stay on the waterway and keep turning left and you will return to the Club.
We will also be marking off boats as you pass the checkpoints so we know everyone makes it back safely. We have a sweeper marshal who paddles around at the back of the field to make doubly sure.
If you can make it to a marshalled point please speak to the marshal. Often a rest and some food will do it. We can provide first aid, and transport you and your boat back to the club. If you cannot make it to a marshalled point, please phone Event Control or tell another participant and we shall try and extract you. Obviously if it is an emergency phone 999 for an ambulance or Fire Brigade (water rescues) then Event Control.
There is no need for a “car park changing shuffle”. Worcester Canoe Club will provide changing rooms and hot showers in the clubhouse. There will also be a free hot meal for you.
This is England – we have no idea! However it is July, so we are hoping it will be gloriously sunny. In the hopefully unlikely event of serious flooding, thunderstorm, or hurricane we will have to cancel or reroute the event.
Full Ring – there is free parking available a short distance from the Canoe Club at the Racecourse (Pitchcroft). This can be used by those doing the full Ring It has a height barrier so if you are more than 7 feet high including boats you will either need to unload before the barrier or use our smaller car park at the canoe club itself.
Offerton Cruise – There is parking at Offerton for those starting there.
That should be fine, as long as we can find a spare space in out boathouse. Just let us know a few days in advance.
Worcester has the usual array of hotels and B&Bs, plus a city centre Premier Inn and Travelodge. The nearest campsite for tents we know of is in Lower Broadheath: Peachley Leisure, which also takes caravans and motorhomes. There are a lot of other caravan sites as well.
Yes. As part of your entrance fee we provide free food and water as you go round the course and a hot meal when you return to the club.
There are two food stops if you are doing the full ring, one at Offerton (after about 8 miles from the club if you are doing the full ring) and one at Porters Mill (in another 8 miles, so 16 miles or so from the start). We provide water (small bottle or in cups), and normally some combination of bananas, malt loaf, mini sausage rolls and most importantly flapjacks. Seriously they are worth doing the ring for just for that. So feel free to bring your own food or help yourself to ours. You will need some sort of fuel to jeep you going though.
We will give you a food voucher at the start which can be used when you return to get a free baked potato, baked beans and cheese.
If you have any questions, problems or comments please do get in touch. The best way is to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We can phone you back if you provide a phone number.