the mighty Nene

The Nene, in Northampton, was the UK's first pumped artificial white water course. It's a 2 hour drive from Gloucester, which probably explains why I've never been before as that's a long way to go for a small section of grade 2 water.

paddler on the Nene

But we do like a bit of paddling variation, especially in summer months where there's not much natural whitewater around. I took my ridiculously small playboat, which hasn't been on any sort of moving water for quite some time.

Because of that I put on half way down the course for my first couple of goes - below the 'big' drop, just in case I'd forgotten how differently it handles compared to my big boat.

Turns out I remembered just fine.  It goes under/through things rather than bobbing over the top, and is obviously a lot more edgy.  There were a few wobbly moments, but no capsizes.  Better than I was expecting!

me running the 'big' drop
boof stroke on the biggest drop

There were two pumps running when we visited. I don't know what sort of flow rate that equates to but the course itself is fairly straightforward, not too pushy, and well suited to less experienced paddlers.

Unlike Cardiff (the only other pumped artificial course I've paddled) there isn't a conveyor belt to take you back to the start. Boo.  It's only a very short walk though so can't complain too much!  Always good to give the legs a stretch, especially when they're crammed into such a small space.


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