Winter white water

by Ian Tokelove
Thumbs up from Barbara on the Legacy course
Colouful kayaks lined up on the snow next to the Lee Valley white water course

The reservoir at Lee Valley - this is the water that gets pumped around the two white water courses.

I kayaked at the Lee Valley White Water Centre yesterday. We had the sort of wintry conditions that see the UK grind to a halt, but the roads were clear enough to get up to the white water centre from my flat in south east London, picking up friends on the way.

Despite thick snow the centre lake had not frozen, although the iced conveyor belts initially struggled to get going.

We had a private hire of the centre, organised by Sean and Mike at Regents Canoe Club. We paid £400 for two hours use of the Legacy course and £400 for an hour on the Olympic course – so £800 for three hours of white water kayaking. Sounds like a lot, but if you can get enough club members to come along the ‘per person’ cost drops rapidly.

Our members paid £12 each for two hours on the Legacy course, and the better paddlers could pay an additional £20 for an hour on the much harder Olympic course. As we had a private hire, both courses were open to those who have not passed the tests to paddle on the courses. This presents a great opportunity for a club’s less experienced kayakers to get on the water and give it a go, all under the eye of the more experienced members.

Lee Valley also provided an assessor which allowed eight members to be assessed as fit to paddle on the Legacy course.

The pumps are switched on at Lee Valley Legacy course and the water starts to flow down the course.

As the pumps are switched on, the water starts to flow down the Legacy course.


Kayaks on the Lee Valley Legacy white water course

Kayakers enjoying wintry conditions at the Legacy white water course.


Kayaker smiles in their kayak on the Legacy course

Thumbs up from Barbara on the Legacy course


Kayaker below one of the big drops on the Olympic course

Andy on the Olympic course.


Female kayaker surfs on a wave on the Lee Valley Olympic course

Beata surfing a wave on the Olympic course.

Image credits: Sean Clarke and Andy Lodge.

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