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FAQ

So is it a race?

Who is it suitable for? What sort of boats?

Which course should I choose?

Tunnels and weirs?

Is it safe?

What time does it start?

How long have I got to do it?

Are there any rules?

Am I insured?

How busy will it be?

Why mid July?

Can I enter on the day?

What if I get lost?

What if I injure myself / get tired out etc?

What is available at the finish?

What will the weather be like?

Can I park?

Can I leave my boat the night before?

Where can I stay in Worcester?

Contacts and Questions

So is it a race?

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 minute 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 fastest times recorded so far was Philip Thorogood who completed the challenge in 3 hours 3 minutes and 54 seconds in a K1 and James King & Poppy Taylor who did it in a K2 in 2:51:04

In a practice run it took me 5 hours and that was not hanging about.

If you want to speed round bear in mind there will lots of paddlers ahead of you – we will be starting off paddlers over 3 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.

Who is it suitable for? What sort of boats?

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 – K1, K2, touring canoes and kayaks, sea kayaks, stand up paddle boards and coracles. 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.

Which course should I choose?

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. 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

Tunnels and weirs?

There are two weirs near or en-route. Diglis Weir is a mile or so after the start of the challenge. You will turn off to join the canal before you get by. 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.

Is it safe?

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.

There will be marshals at what are the most potentially risky points – tunnels and weirs. Please read the safety notes (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.

What time does it start?

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.  We will run you back out there at the end of the day.

How long have I got to do it?

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.

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.

Are there any rules?

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.

Am I insured?

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.

How busy will the river and canal be?

It is difficult to say. There will be up to 100 participating boats, although we hope they will not get too bunched up. It is July 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.

Why mid July?

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!

Can I enter on the day?

Sorry, No.  Sorry, 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 Wednesday 12 July. 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..

What if I get lost?

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 shall return to the Club.

We will also be marking off boats as you pass the checkpoints so we know everyone makes it back safely.

What if I injure myself / get tired out etc?

If you can make it to a marshalled point please speak to the marshal. 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).

What is available at the finish?

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 and you may buy drinks from the bar. You will also get a souvenir  to commemorate your achievement.

What will the weather be like?

This is England – we have no idea! However it is the middle of July, so we are hoping it will be gloriously sunny. In the hopefully unlikely event of serious flooding, lightening or hurricane we will have to cancel or reroute the event.

Can I park?

There is free parking available a short distance from the Canoe Club at the Racecourse (Pitchcroft) for those doing the full Ring.  The Offerton Cruise (15 miles) starts at Offerton and parking will be available.    If anyone needs disabled parking let us know as we can arrange this for right beside the canoe club.

Can I leave my boat the night before?

That should be fine, as long as we can find a spare slot in out boathouse.  Just let us know a few days in advance.

Where can I stay in Worcester?

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.

Contacts and Questions

If you have any questions, problems or comments please do get in touch.  The best way is to email us at worcesterring@hotmail.com.

We can phone you back if you provide a phone number.

 

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