Uni advice

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Uni advice

Post by pondweed »

I need a bit of advice from those of you who have been around a bit.
I am currently applying for universities when I finish my A levels and want a good canoeing university. Can anyone recommend where I should be applying?
My main paddling interests are slalom and some river running. I would like to go somewhere I could continue to improve my slalom, I'm not going to be a Campbell Walsh but I'll be in Div 2 next year so am nt a complete numpty.
Could people recommend where i should be applying, I want to get away from the midlands (fly the nest) and hope to get good grades (a's and b's).
Which are the strong slalom universities where i can still paddle some rivers?

Ta V Much


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Post by MadHatter »

You first need to decide what course you want to do, its no good people telling you where are good places to paddle if they dont do the course you want. And I can garentee that if you go somewhere just to paddle and the course comes 2nd you will not get anything out of your uni life. The 2nd year blues are hard enough to get over if you really like your course!

So what courses interest you? Once you give us that we can start suggesting places that might be good for you to look at.

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Post by pondweed »

Sorry, I guess I should have mentioned that. I'm toying between Engineering and Maths at the moment, most places seem to do both quite well and those that don't want a lot less than my predicteds to get in.

Thanks agian


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Post by StoneWeasel »

Toying between maths and engerneering with slalom being your paddling focus. Surely the obvious choice would be Nottingham.


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Post by pondweed »

I know kicking around HPP might be sensible but i really want to be somewhere the options aren't artifical or weirs and like i said i'd rather get out of the midlands. Plus Nottingham get s abad press around us for crime. I may be convinced otherwise but can see myself getting a big dose of those 2nd year blues if all I could do was HPP.

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Post by Simon Westgarth »

Hmm, much like my decision makes a little while ago. For river running you need to be in the West of the UK, Bangor, Wexham/Liverpool, Swansea and Plymouth. If you really wish to push that slalom paddling, then Tee's, Nottingham, Wexham (Dee) or Swansea (Llandysul?). For a bit of both styles of paddling Wexham and Swansea can offer a solution. Still Wexham is not the best Uni around, Swansea is OK, but that depends on the course. If you go to Plymouth, its great when your down there, a lot to do with sea kayaking and surfin in the Summer, but its always a long way anywhere else!

I know little of Scotland's slalom training sites, so may be someone else can offer a solution there. Bangor has all the benefits of Plymouth, the surf is certainly less consistent and the bar bill cheaper.

Good luck

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Post by David Fairweather »

Bangor isn't that far from the Tryweryn if slalom is a priority. It's about as well placed as you can be for quality rivers on your doorstep. I'm not sure what the maths or engineering (does bangor do engineering?) courses are like.

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Post by honeydog »

You have Stirling Uni, you have the Scottish Slalom site 1.5 hours up the road you have the CR CATS slalom club within 2 miles from the uni and a training site there aswell. also you have a cracking grade 3-4 river (River allan) right on your door step and also another river called the lenny within 40 mins drive, also the kelty burn, calair burn, falls of cochart christ i could go on and on about stirling- nice place to be

Stirling Uni also have there own Loch in the campus where you could train!

They also have a good established kayak club & Polo Club Sor more info go the Stirling Canoe Club Website

Register and log in and pm either Keith Or Dom as they are in the uni club aswell.

Hope this helps

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Post by caveman_si »

like Mad Hatter said find the right course/courses for you then looking into the paddling side. As you'll spend more time on your course then on paddling and it is kinda import for future stuff to.

Pretty much anywhere in the country you can get to somewhere to paddle white water and pretty much anywhere in the country you can get to slalome events and train for slalom if you want to enough. So dont pick a uni by location alone.

Now if you are looking into maths/engineering and paddling i think The University of Liverpool is a good bet. Engineering and maths are supposed to be very good departments. And the canoe club LUCC is excellent (not that being a member of it makes me biased at all honest) as well as being half way between the lakes and North Wales (1.5hrs either way sees some decent paddling). The Dee at Llangollen can be as little as 45 mins away for slalom training.

Then there is Liverpool John Moores University again good for engineering no canoe club but you can join LUCC. And ive no idea about the maths there or even if they do it.

Manchester Uni no idea about the engineering and maths but i know they do it anmd that the enginnering is normally well spoken of. Again they are well placed for the lakes, North wales and slighty better placed for the north east paddling. A good caneo club too, a friendly bunch much like LUCC.

later si


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Post by Mr Hoppy »

When I was there Swansea Uni was mostly river running/polo/surf based, very little Slalom outside the Dysul weekend which was more around drinking prowess anyway. I'd have thought that at most uni's you're going to have to be fairly independant to do slalom competitively.

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Post by MadHatter »

Well unofficially Plymouth uni canoe club are looking at getting into slalom, we have some 2nd year members at the moment who would like to start competing again. There is talk of possibly having 2 clubs, the canoe club and possibly a canoe polo and slalom club so that everyone is catered for, but it looks like it might not happen for a few years. So at the moment its just a few people who you could hook up with outside club time.

The problem is that while we do loads of trips ( and yes sometimes travel times can be a bit long, though we have done trips as far as the lakes in the past) as far as I know there isn’t really a slalom site around here. While the rivers might not be as hairy as Bangors, they are still pretty sweet when they are up.

If you want more info about us check out the link below.

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Post by cdwlomas »

Hi Pondweed,

If it's good rivers, slalom and good Engineering/Maths that you're after then you can't go far wrong with Durham. They have a really active Canoe Club who also organise the British Universities Canoe Slalom event each year, they have some of the best white water in England on their doorstep, and they will even give you a bursary for coaching, and membership to Teesside to help improve your slalom.

You can't say fairer than that!

They also run weekly river trips and at least 2 foreign trips a year.

More info at http://www.dur.ac.uk/canoe.club

Hope this is helpful, if you want more info you can e-mail canoe.club @ dur.ac.uk

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Crime in Nottingham

Post by paddlersteve »

Just to stick up for Nottingham for a moment with regard to its bad press, I've been around for around 10 years no and it's no where near as bad at the press make out.

All the issues Nottingham has with crime are centred around local groups having issues with each other, for students it's no worse than any other large city. A bit of common sense is all that's needed - don't leave valuables on show and don't walk home alone through some areas when you had a few.

I certainly wouldn't count it out on those grounds. However, 9 years of living near HPP has left me bored with the place, but with reliable water, open all day every day - its about the only place in the UK you can gaurantee that.

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Post by freddie »

If you're interested in engineering and maths, then Loughborough should be at the top of your list. :p It's a great uni, and is very strong at engineering.
It's got a very good active canoe club, with some good strong salalom paddlers, and it's very close to HPP as well.

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Post by Ed Hopper »

Pondweed said:
I want to get away from the midlands (fly the nest)
Nottingham, Loughborough, Leicester, Coventry, Birmingham, Warwick, Derby and anywhere where HPP is the venue under recommendation are, therefore, out.

Obviously, I would say go to Durham as I went to Durham 94-97 and was heavily involved in the Canoe Club but as was pointed out above it gives coaching bursaries for committed slalomists (don't know of any other Uni which does this) as well as organising the BUSA Slalom and other regional events, having some good rivers nearby and being at least some of the way there when it comes to getting up to Scotland.

In addition to this, it has a really good engineering and maths departments and (if you can get in) it is a fantastic University to go to and it looks brilliant on your CV.

If you do decide to apply then you will need to select a College to apply to as Durham has a non-academic Collegiate system. Don't leave your application "open" or they'll shove you at the least popular college which has spaces left.



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Post by RichA »

I'm starting my 3rd year of engineering at Nottingham. I chose it for the simple reason that HPP is nearby and North Wales is about 3 hours away. All my uni choice were in locations that had hills and paddling nearby, eg Cardiff, Exeter etc etc.
Crime in Nottingham is worse than most places, but a bit of common sense should see you through ok. Fingers crossed!

PM me if you want any more info about the Notts engineering courses.

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Post by JamesA »

Exeter uni is the best. Not only does it have the worlds best lecturers and professors, but top quality bars, clubs and sneezing distance of Dartmoor. Trago Mills and Marsh Barton? Need I say more!

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Post by Joe Kirk »

Nottingham! Nottingham, Nottingham, Nottingham. Trent that is. The canoe club there get all over the place, Newark, Matlock, HPP obviously. Regular trips as well. Plus the crime isn't that bad. I've lived in Notts all my life until the past few months.
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Post by AliceB »

You first need to decide what course you want to do, its no good people telling you where are good places to paddle if they dont do the course you want

I have to disagree...having chosen my uni on basis of location first and then thought about which degree seemed to work for me! I decided that there was no way I would stick out 3 years of a degree course where I couldn't get out climbing...so I chose Bangor Uni...then the course and then got bitten by the paddling bug for the second time in my life...now I'm stuck with the infliction.

Bangor is ace for river boating and has it's fair share of play waves and holes in easy reach (some close enough that you can squeeze in a dip inbetween lectures). I addition, if slalom's your poison then, like others have pointed out, the Treweryn and JJ's aren't too bad a drive...and there are usually a few people headed out there at the weekends.

Also a little known fact is that the Sports Science department in Bangor Uni have had a lot to do with research in partnership with the Welsh Slalom squad...

As for the courses...that's the not so positive bit...

I think the Uni does (am fairly sure...check out http://www.bangor.ac.uk for the prospectus) offer engineering but have no ideas as to what he course is like and what recomendations it comes with. The uni's maths department has been on shaky ground for some time I believe.

Hope this helps...if you want to chat to fellow paddlers in Bangor to ask for advice go to http://www.undeb.bangor.ac.uk/canoe and post a message and I'm sure the lovely, if not strange and drunken, boaters up there will brain wash you into believing that you want to spent 3 years of wasted youth boating around N. Wales...oh yeah and studying!

Good Luck..

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Post by George H »

We are indeed always drunk!

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Post by Poke »

AliceB wrote:
You first need to decide what course you want to do, its no good people telling you where are good places to paddle if they dont do the course you want
I have to disagree...having chosen my uni on basis of location first and then thought about which degree seemed to work for me!
What works for one person might not work for someone else. I went for course first — and ended up in London for christs sake. I really wasn't thinking.

Still, with some dedicated travel time you can get anywhere at weekends and ICCC is a really active club... To be fair though, I still wouldn't recommend London to an active paddler.

I say find out which uni's do the course you want, then pick from that list based upon location.... (and give up slalom :-)
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Post by james c »

I know kicking around HPP might be sensible but I really want to be somewhere the options aren't artifical or weirs and like I said I'd rather get out of the midlands. Plus Nottingham get s abad press around us for crime. I may be convinced otherwise but can see myself getting a big dose of those 2nd year blues if all I could do was HPP
Fortunately thats not a very realistic picture of the Nottingham Universities. Both Nottingham and Nottingham Trent have very active canoe clubs with some good boaters. I've been boating with the guys from Nottingham University for several years now and , whilst we do regularly paddle at HPP and the trent weirs, the focus of the club is firmly fixed on river running . Over the winter the club does trips roughly every two weeks to wales / yorkshire and has run longer trips to scotland and dartmoor in the past . There are loads of people around who are keen to get away on other weekends as well when its raining , so its quite possible to not spend a single weekend it Nottingham over the winter if thats what you're after !

And hey if it doesn't rain for months on end there's always ........... HPP !

In the end you'll have a great time at any of the universities with active clubs , and finding a good course that you'll enjoy is most important !

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Post by pondweed »

Thanks for the advice, definitely food for thought for me and something to stear me when going through all the prospectuses.
I hear all of you making a good defence of the midlands and HPP, I didnt mean to upset anyone.
Think I'll take a close look at Bnagor and Manchester and the slalom bursaries sound interesting at Durham. Who knows i'm sure I'll change my mind lots of time before i finally send my applications in.

Thank you very much to everyone who made so many suggestions, I guess you all must have had a great time where you went which is a good sign for me worrying about making the wrong decision.


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Post by The Actual God »

I'd back Durham. A durham degree would set you up very well for life and there's no way your paddling would be held back. We are more about river running than slalom but you can still get plenty of training to keep you competing in the 2nd division. I'm going into my 2nd year doing physics and I'm loving it.

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Post by Erling »

What about Oslo? You can paddle in the city parks.

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Post by Chris_Headleand »

Georgey Boy wrote:We are indeed always drunk!
Not always... We paddle sober... Then drink afterwards!

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Post by adrian j pullin »

simon d westgarth wrote:...Still Wexham is not the best Uni around, ...
Wrexham is not a Uni at all. It is North East Wales Institute of Higher Education. It does not have University title, nor does it award its own degrees. It awards University of Wales Degrees. It does not do Maths. It only does Aeronautical Engineering, no other type.

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Post by Benedict Smith »

Surely the course you choose is the priority to determining the uni. This is the most important thing - and if you are seriously into paddling then as said many a time before on here,every year it seems at this time, you will find some form or other of paddling and some way or other to do it no matter where you are. Granted some places are easier than others to get access to rivers and slalom facilities but hey - you seem to have written off all the ones round HPP.

So sticking up for my old haunt - go for CARDIFF. Excellent engineering school, awesome city and plenty of rivers close by and several clubs (not just the uni club) to help you out on the slalom front. Perhaps even speak to the local shop - up and under - for further paddling contacts.

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Post by naefearjustbeer »

Knowing what I know know and Had I been a paddler as a teenager I wish I had gone away to uni and joined a uni paddling club. The course work would of been a secondary concern for me. Probally the wrong attitude to put out to youngsters these days but I have long since discovered that having fun and being happy is better for your general well being than qualifications and a fancy job. My work pays the mortgage pure and simple. My family and my hobbies keep me sane. However the better a job you get the more kayaks you can afford to buy ;-) My next mission is to save up for a proper surf kayak after paying the mortgage etc.

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Post by Yoghurt Monster »

Durham works really well for a kayaking engineer. I'm about to go into my 4th year of engineering, it's a very good department.

Like you I wanted to leave the midlands and go somewhere with a good engineering department with good river running not a million miles away.

We have lots of weekends away to Scotland/Lakes/Wales etc. We run the BUSA Slalom and have bursaries as has been mentioned.

In the 18 months members have been to the Alps four times, Canada, Slovenia, Kyrgystan, Portugal, Costa Rica and Uganda. We really are one of the more active clubs.

As well as the slalom bursaries, because we're collegiate it's possible to get travel grants from your college. St Cuth's gave me £1000 to go to Uganda for 7 weeks this summer and £300 for the Alps last year, better than a kick in the teeth.

Anyway, good luck with upper sixth,


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