Kayaking when you live in London - help?!

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KatieC
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Kayaking when you live in London - help?!

Post by KatieC »

Hi everyone

Really wasn't sure which would be the most appropriate section of the forum for this so I've decided to put it here! Let me know if you think I should re-post it elsewhere...

I'm moving to London in about a month and I'm trying to suss out how I'll carry on kayaking. I currently paddle with Leeds Canoe Club - it's a mainly adult club, we mostly do white water, and we always like a pint afterwards :) I'm looking for something similar to this in London. Regents Canoe Club has been recommended. Any other thoughts...?

Also, I'm trying to get my head round how chuffing heck I will manage the logistics of kayaking when I live in London. I won't have a car and, from what I've seen so far, it's unlikely I'll be able to store my boat at home. Even if I could store my boat at home, I can't quite imagine myself hopping on the Northern line with my boat and all my kit to get to wherever I need to be... But obviously I won't be the only person in this situation - so how does everyone else do it?!

I'm just starting to look for somewhere to live now, and I'm wondering how much of a factor all of this should be in the location I choose. I like the idea of Hampstead or Highgate but happy to consider most areas at this stage...

And on that point, if you know of any spare rooms in London that would suit a full time Nine-to-Fiver who likes to spend her spare time on the river, generally enjoying the great outdoors, watching a film, having roast dinner with friends....let me know!

Thanks all

Katie

DaveWortley
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Re: Kayaking when you live in London - help?!

Post by DaveWortley »

I've sent you a PM with some info you might find useful.

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Onecar
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Re: Kayaking when you live in London - help?!

Post by Onecar »

I regularly paddle with Battersea Canoe Club.
Based in west London on The Thames.
Very friendly and active club. They run lots of Wales / Dart trips as well as yearly Alps and Scotland trips.
Evening paddles on The Thames and a very active male and female polo team.
http://www.batterseacc.org/

edit because I forgot to mention they have a secure lock up on the banks of The Thames at Barnes where you can keep your boat.
Last edited by Onecar on Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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maryinoxford
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Re: Kayaking when you live in London - help?!

Post by maryinoxford »

KatieC wrote: it's unlikely I'll be able to store my boat at home.
A good-quality self-bailing inflatable can be serviceable for white water paddling.

However, adding all the kit, it's still a rather bulky bundle to take on the Underground...
Not in Oxford any more...

peteri
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Re: Kayaking when you live in London - help?!

Post by peteri »

Not sure the information Scout gave you - but worth looking out for Paula Volkmer (regular on here) or Flic Meares (all over facebook!) both of whom are London paddlers.

Pete

jaq
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Re: Kayaking when you live in London - help?!

Post by jaq »

Regents are friendly and seem quite active, I went to a few sessions earlier in the year until life got in the way but now I'm able to go to some of the sessions I really do need to start going again. They can't help with boat storage though.

I can confirm that TFL is not very open to you carrying a boat on the tube, even if it's smaller than their published maximum sizes as my 2fun is. Well Kentish Town wouldn't let me on (I deliberately went quite late when the tube would be more or less empty), they were OK with me going on to the train station but warned me they couldn't risk that any of the several changes I'd have to make would let me on as it really was their own discretion, I decided against it as I was already risking being stranded far from home until the first buses in the morning without getting into another argument about the 'safety' issue of a very small boat. Buses are obviously no-go too.

My experience is that there are several options for moving your boat around London:

- Walk
- Own a car or van
- Rent a car or van
- Be friends with someone else who owns a car or van
- Ask a taxi company (if it's a small, clean boat that would fit inside a car) I didn't try this but a small boat would fit inside the galaxys that Addison Lee drive.
- Have a courier service take your boat and meet you there, there are several of these that transport things around London on short notice (again, not something I tried, I assumed it would be more expensive than just hiring a small van, which I usually paid £30 a day for)

After 6 months I caved and bought the worlds smallest van, which handily doubles up as a portable storage shed for my kit.

If you're moving to Hamstead or Highgate that's quite close to me, I've barely paddled at all since I came to London and really miss it so might be up for sharing lifts and such.

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Adrian Cooper
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Re: Kayaking when you live in London - help?!

Post by Adrian Cooper »

KatieC wrote:the location I choose. I like the idea of Hampstead
Don't we all! Surely if you can afford to live there, you'll be having your butler take you to the river.

Lots of good advice coming but sorting out a transport strategy has got to be your priority.

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Onecar
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Re: Kayaking when you live in London - help?!

Post by Onecar »

As for where to live I'd opt for somewhere around Hammersmith. Really nice vibrant area with great access to The M4 / M25 and next to the river.

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TechnoEngineer
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Re: Kayaking when you live in London - help?!

Post by TechnoEngineer »

Why not live somewhere which has a good transport connection with LVWWC and hire their boats?
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Re: Kayaking when you live in London - help?!

Post by garya »

Highgate and Hampsted are good areas so are Muswell Hill and Crouch end which are near by. Grew up around those areas and they are very nice. Camden Town is great too with lots to do at in the evenings and weekends.

Think about how easy it is to get from you place to the nearest tube. its the only way to get around town with any speed buses are slow not great on your own late at night sometimes.

The places to paddle are regents canal, river thames or river lee and Lea Valley. The only exticing water is river thames in london pool at the right state of tide and Lee Valley White Water. Lee Valley can be easily reached from liverpool street mainline or victoria line tube if you change at tottenham hale. There are also lots of buses from north london that stop at waltham cross as well.

some sort of place with garden or garage is a must and hard to find in inner london, most people store there boats at thier clubs. Owning and parking a car in inner london is also expensive. for trips is is sometimes easier to get a friend or pool together and hire a cheap transit van between the group... it actually works out cheaper and easier than messing around with roofracks and the like on a hire car and also provides cheap accomodation if you have a camp bed in the back.

An other option for short term storage is one of the many lockup storage wharehouses, most of these offer 24 hour access.

Edmonton canoe group baseed at http://www.hymb.com can offer secure boat storage on thier rack and are a short 10 min paddle from the lee valley WW course along the river. They are also right next door to cheshunt station for easy trasport from town.

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Carter
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Re: Kayaking when you live in London - help?!

Post by Carter »

Tower Hamlets Canoe Club - http://www.towerhamletscanoeclub.co.uk - have a pretty active White Water section. We head to North Wales Devon and the like once or twice a month, have an exclusive club booking at LV legacy course every month and in the last 5 years club members have done multiple trips to France, Austria, Spain, Morocco, India & Nepal... Meet every Tuesday from 6:30pm. It's £100 a year for membership including all kit hire & pool usage and for an extra couple of quid a week, you can keep you boat in the boat cage

Drop me a PM if you want more details.

Paul

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Pam Bell
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Re: Kayaking when you live in London - help?!

Post by Pam Bell »

I didn't drive when I lived in London, but I managed to get in a lot of paddling by joining a club which had boat storage facilities and cycling there. At that time, Shepperton had a boat shed beside the weir - there must be others. You'd just need to negotiate lifts for weekend trips then...

KatieC
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Re: Kayaking when you live in London - help?!

Post by KatieC »

Thanks ever so much for all the info and advice so far guys - really helpful. Happy to hear any more tips anyone out there may have!

Cheers

Katie

enjoyer
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Re: Kayaking when you live in London - help?!

Post by enjoyer »

There are lots of good clubs in London.

Find somewhere affordable to live that makes your daily commute manageable ... and then sort out a club by looking here:
http://www.canoelondon.com/clubs/

North London has the advantage of being nearer LVWW.

Good luck.

JimmyP
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Re: Kayaking when you live in London - help?!

Post by JimmyP »

enjoyer wrote:
North London has the advantage of being nearer LVWW.

Good luck.
That is a very big advantage if you are planning on going to LV regularly as travelling across London can take upwards of an hour. I live in the East end and roughly 15 miles (45 mins) from LV.

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Randy Fandango
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Re: Kayaking when you live in London - help?!

Post by Randy Fandango »

JimmyP wrote: I live in the East end and roughly 15 miles (45 mins) from LV.
Aah yes -- the inverse law of car travel to paddling destinations whenever travelling through London is involved.
I live in Dartford, roughly 30 miles (30 mins) from LV....
Giles

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Chriscofferson
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Re: Kayaking when you live in London - help?!

Post by Chriscofferson »

+1 vote for Regents.
I have been paddling with Regents for only a few months but have paddled in London for a few years. As part of regents, the members are dotted everywhere around london so moving your boat around shouldnt be a problem.

I do have the luxury of being able to store my boat at home but I would say give Regents a shout and see if you can leave yours there. The club is pretty friendly and they seem to be quite regular with trips. Most seem to be of the grade 2/3 variety but as I am told their membership base is in the 250 mark so there are plenty of people to match paddling ability and trips to.

Hope some of that helps.

Mike79
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Re: Kayaking when you live in London - help?!

Post by Mike79 »

There are Regents members all over London but most are concentrated in the north and east, and not too far out. Look for places in Finsbury Park, Islington, Stoke Newington, Hackney or anywhere near there and there'll be plenty of paddlers close by. If you don't have a car you'll be at the mercy of those who do- so you'll just have to make friends. Regents doesn't have space to store your boat, but plenty of Londoners get by with their boats propped up in the hallway/bedroom/wherever. Throw out your telly and put your boat wherever that would have been.

Most "official" Regents trips are at a relatively easy level but there are paddlers at all levels in the club who paddle in every corner of the globe, you just have to get to know them (and they have to get to know you), plus we now have Lee Valley which is a godsend.

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Sickboy
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Re: Kayaking when you live in London - help?!

Post by Sickboy »

Randy Fandango wrote:
JimmyP wrote: I live in the East end and roughly 15 miles (45 mins) from LV.
Aah yes -- the inverse law of car travel to paddling destinations whenever travelling through London is involved.
I live in Dartford, roughly 30 miles (30 mins) from LV....
Giles
And I live in Catford and it can take 25 mins or 1hr 25 mins to get to LV, travel across the capital has to be planned.
Threre's a surprising amount of paddlers in the smoke, go round the clubs and see which ones make you feel most welcome and are of most use to you.
Rum and coke, best served by the pint.

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KrisH
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Re: Kayaking when you live in London - help?!

Post by KrisH »

For transporting boats why not try joining one of the car share clubs in London such as Hertz on Demand, Zipcar etc where you can rent cars / vans by the hour...

DaveWortley
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Re: Kayaking when you live in London - help?!

Post by DaveWortley »

KrisH wrote:For transporting boats why not try joining one of the car share clubs in London such as Hertz on Demand, Zipcar etc where you can rent cars / vans by the hour...
Fine for a quick session at Lee Valley/Hurley but works out bloody expensive for boating weekends away, and you can't book whole weekends at short-notice, so not great for rain-chasing....

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Re: Kayaking when you live in London - help?!

Post by andy g »

Katie
Finding accommodation in London which suits both your lifestyle and your wallet can be challenging. You will probably need to make compromises between proximity to transport links and price.
When you have found the right area , look around for quirky places that might just have a garden shed or similar where you might be lucky enough to be able to store a boat, after all they don't take up that much more space than a bike and plenty of people have evolved ingenious ways to store those in London.
There are so many clubs in London, that it would make sense to go for one relatively near your accommodation which meets your needs in terms of its activities, otherwise you will spend a lot of time and money on travel.
If you choose the SE quadrant of London please come and try out Meridian Canoe Club, but as others have said the Canoe London website has a good list.
Good Luck
Andy

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