London has over sixty canoe and kayak clubs, providing paddling opportunities for children and adults of all ages. Many clubs will welcome adults over 50, regardless of your ability or previous experience.
Canoe clubs often focus on particular canoe sports, some of which are more active than others. Many clubs also offer ‘try it out’ and introductory sessions – which are a great way to check out a club and see if it is right for you.
You can find your nearest canoe club using the Canoe London map at http://canoelondon.com/canoe-clubs-in-london/.
Those seeking a gentler start to the sport should consider clubs which practice recreational paddling, touring and sea kayaking – all of which can provide great exercise and plenty of fresh air, without being too taxing for beginners.
The Thames is a great resource for kayakers, and many clubs are located along the river’s banks. Many of these clubs will welcome members of all ages, but a couple of clubs offer opportunities specifically aimed at older paddlers.
- Westminster Boating Base has a great, central location and runs regular Upper Deckers sessions which are open to adults aged over 50. See the poster below for more information, or visit http://www.westminsterboatingbase.co.uk/Watersports.htm.
- The Chelsea Yakkers is a self-managed group operating from Cremorne Riverside in Chelsea, for over 60s, with a limited membership.
If you are looking for something a bit more exciting, white water kayaking can be great fun, but expect to take the occasional knock and swim. The Lee Valley White Water Centre runs regular sessions for adults aged 35 and upwards. The sessions start on the lake and build up your experience until you are ready to kayak the Lee Valley Legacy course – an experience that will definitely get you buzzing! See http://www.visitleevalley.org.uk/go/whitewater/
You will find most clubs friendly, welcoming – and open to people of all ages. Drop a line to your local club and give kayaking and canoeing a go – it’s a great way to get some exercise and fresh air, and explore your local waterways.