If you have chosen to join Bideford Canoe Club you are most welcome. Never mind age, ability or apprehension, you will find a friendly and encouraging group of people, willing to help get you afloat and to enjoy the experience.
Some things which are useful to know:
- There are generally about 180 Club members, ranging from age 9 years to well into pension age. Membership runs from the January AGM round to the following January. If you join later in the year, you get a one-off reduction. Costs and application forms are shown under Membership and are reviewed each year.
- The Club premises (post code EX39 2NA) are part of Bideford Youth Centre and are accessed in Ropewalk, the narrow alley next to The Reds Rowing Club on the Quay. Parking is available on The Pill Car Park outside the front of the Youth Centre, opposite the Burton Art Gallery. Parking is free after 6pm. Walk through the gap next to Bathwick Tyres and turn left. We have a two-storey building with changing facilities but sadly no loo. The nearest public loo is on the Quay at the main bus stop.
- When you have joined the Club you will get regular emails mostly on Thursday, letting you know what is happening at the weekend. As weather and conditions can’t be predicted too far ahead, we organise hopefully and adapt as we know with more certainty. Simply respond as stated if you want to join an activity.
- The Club has achieved British Canoeing’s Clubmark standard, which sets a high standard of policies and procedures for the Club. If you look under ‘Downloads’ you will find all the documents we work to, including risk assessments.
- Social events are organised as members wish. These might include a beach BBQ, a skittles evening or a film/talk night. The Club Dinner is a highlight, usually held at The Thatch in Croyde.
- Club meetings, held every three months to which all members are welcome. Minutes are circulated by email. We have a range of officer roles, including different types of kayaking Programme Coordinators, Training Coordinator and Equipment Maintenance Officer. Willing volunteers are very welcome to help the Club run well.
Regular activities at present are:
- Pool sessions at West Buckland School Covid permitting. These run fortnightly, usually on Thursday evenings, from September through to June. The sessions run from 19.40 to 21.40, with three periods, for juniors, novice paddlers and for experienced members. You can bring your own boat but it must be spotlessly clean inside and out.
- A British Canoeing Start & Discovery course, run over a few weekends during the summer, which aims to equip you to be a competent member of a group on a club trip.
- Club trip to Lundy, travelling by launch from Ilfracombe, taking 13 members, their kayaks and camping gear to explore this iconic and dramatic setting over a weekend.
- ‘Team France’ trip to Lyons to camp next to artificial slalom courses and improve white water skills, in and on warm water. July/ August.
- French Alps trip, organised only if there are sufficient competent leaders and open to experienced and skilled paddlers.
- Introduction to Sea Kayaking morning and afternoon sessions, organised over the summer.
- Winter paddling programme, offering a weekly river and sea paddle at levels from beginner to proficient. Normally on Sundays.
- Summer paddling programme, offering Monday night surf, gentle estuary trips and regular sea trips during evenings and weekends. Our regular surf beach is at Sandymere on Northam Burrows. Access through Northam village.
- Club Sea Kayaking week, previously held in Pembrokeshire but now based on Falmouth, offering sea paddling for all levels of ability.
- Other more advanced level trips which tend to be by invitation, based on experience and skill level. Examples would be river trips on the East Lyn or Upper Dart and sea crossings such as to Lundy, advanced sea weeks in Scotland, Isles of Scilly and Pembrokeshire etc.