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Lee Valley

Lee valley White Water course is the official white water course  for the 2012 Olympics, The other day a few of us were lucky enough to paddle it.

Living in Warrington, it is not the closest place to go paddling so I should first say a big thank you to Diane Williams (Jonny william’s mum) for driving us up there.

As you step out of the car and walk closer to the centre the slight smell of chlorine hits you and you’re mind floods back to painful incidents on swimming pool slides – or at least mine does anyway. The centre certainly looks the part, I must confess however that once I saw the white water course, I completely forgot about the centre and all of its facilities.

The Legacy Pool – The legacy pool is the tamer one of the courses, It is ideal for kayakers that do not want to tackle the Olympic course. It is short and fast and caters for all types of white water kayakers, those looking to practice there eddy hopping skills will be pleased with the abundant amount of eddies to choice from as they negotiate there way through a series of wave trains and holes. The play boaters will also not be disappointed with Two main play holes and some slightly smaller features to play on. The holes are fairly deep and all the play boating moves were being hit in at least the main two holes, however be aware that this is not the inlet gate and if you plug really hard for a move in the wrong place you will hit the bottom. After a great days paddling on the legacy pool, a few of use got the chance to paddle on the Olympic course.

The Olympic course – As you are taken up the escalator, you suddenly realise this is a much bigger escalator compared to the legacy pool, what was probably a maximum of 10 seconds seemed to take forever as we eagerly awaited to try the Olympic course out. The elevator gently spits you out into the flat water pool above the main course, and a well furnished balcony sits beside you allowing spectators to watch as you descend down the course. The water picks up speed and gradient as you exit the flat water pool and you are fired down into the first feature, a small but very fast green wave, this wave is fairly shallow but allows you to pick up a bit of air as you throw you’re moves, the eddy for this wave is small and hard to make after flushing of the wave but not to worry as the next feature is immediately behind you, this was a small powerful hole that proved to be fairly deep, the white water course continues on in this way with one great feature after the other until you reach what is a surprisingly large horizon line for a white water course. The water here drops a few foot into a large but friendly hole, with shoulders on both sides allowing moves to be thrown and an easy exit form the hole.

The end of the course gets nearer but it doesn’t stop providing us with these fantastic features  up until the very end where it mellows out into a large flat water lake.

The escalator is a small flat water paddle away which allows you to catch you’re breath as you prepare for you’re next run. We managed two runs, playing in every feature on the way down, in half an hour, This is not only the best white water course i have ever paddled on but also the best 300M of river I have ever paddled.

A huge thank you to Matt, Mike and Becky  from the Youth Freestyle series for organising this day, Aaron from Square rock for providing the dynamic duos and all the carnage that ensued, and to all of the guys at the centre for allowing us to paddle there !

The photos below were taken by Dale Mears, you can check his blog out here : Thanks for reading,

See you on the water


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