Weather. Forecast looks wet and River Stour level on Sunday should be sufficient for the race. (however for us, organisers Thursday river cleanup might be challenging).
Payments. At this point we advise still to register online (deadline is Friday midnight), but probably won’t be enough time for the checks to arrive before Saturday. In this case we’ll accept either cash or check on the day (which I think is more convenient for both sides). Still, if you’re preregistered online entry fee is £12.
I want to stress that for all of us is more convenient to have as many participants registered online before the race. This way we can plan a slightly better start, we can group together people who want to paddle as a groups and you have less stress queuing etc.
Shuttle. You have to remember that parking spaces are limited at the start in Sturminster Newton. Please note, that SVCC is not providing shuttle from Bryanston School to Sturminster and back. In the past years that wasn’t a problem and people usually organised that by themselves.
If this is your first Stour Descent please note that ‘on the day’ registrations take place at Sturminster Newton Mill DT10 2DQ starting at 9.00am. We recommend that you arrive early as parking is limited and then proceed as follows:
Collect a registration form from my colleagues who will be found under a large gazebo.
Complete the form in full making sure to identify both your racing category and classification
Return the form to one of three registration officers- Rachel for SUPs, Slalom, C1 and C2, Jackie for K1 touring and K1 and Tina for K2- ensuring that you have the correct entry fee or completed cheque to hand
Rachel, Jackie and Tina will check your form and then present you with a rubber wrist band. The band will be labelled with an A, B or C and a number. The letters correspond to the arches on Sturminster Newton Bridge through which you will pass at the start of the race- they will be clearly labelled- whilst the number to the minutes past 11.00am at which you will start the race- it is a time trial. Whilst SVCC provides marshals who will prompt competitors to make their way to the race start it is your responsibility to ensure that you are on the water and adjacent the bridge in time for your start- slowest categories start first.
Those who have pre-registered will be able to collect your wrist bands from Carol.
At the race finish competitors are expected to alight their craft, run to the timekeepers and hand them the wrist bands- this is the point at which race finishes and times determined.
I have received a number of enquiries about shuttles. SVCC does not provide a shuttle service for competitors. However, in previous years we have routinely witnessed competitors negotiating between themselves shuttles to the race finish at Bryanston Boathouse- it is about a 45minute round trip so if you are racing make sure you give yourself plenty of time to complete this journey and get yourself to the race start on time.
Those wishing to view the race have the following options:
Drive to Fiddleford Manor DT10 2BX- there is a car park on the left as you journey down Calf Lane. Then on foot follow road round to the left walking past the Manor House. Continue on- you’ll see the river ahead of you- the path takes past an Archimedes Screw Generator then some sluice gates and eventually to a bridge that stradles the Weir- this provides a wonderfull vantage point from which to witness those brave souls who attempt to shoot is inviting feature!
Drive to Hammoon DT10 2DA- parking is difficult but Bournemouth Canoes will be providing safety at the Weir which lies immediately underneath the bridge that crosses the river as you leave the village and they will advise you where you might leave your vehicle. Most competitors shoot this Weir and hence there is a good deal of entertainment to be witnessed from the bridge!
Drive to Haywards Bridge DT11 0QY- there are car parks either side of the Railway Bridge that stradles Haywards Lane shortly after you join this road from the A357. Once parked you can walk up Haywards Lane to the bridge that stradles the river- this marks the halfway point of the race.
Drive to Durweston and turn into Mill Lane- please park at the top of this road as residents of the flats that are to be found at the end of the road will not be happy if you occupy there paid for bays! Once parked walk down Mill Lane and round to the left. Continue past the Mill’s sluice gates- a footpath takes you around the mill pond to your right- until you come to a footbridge that stradles the main river. This will provide you with a view of competitors probably looking a little fatigued as they attempt to get back up to racing speed having just portage Durweston Weir.
Finally, you can choose to drive to Bryanston School DT11 0PX and follow the road to the Boathouse where there is an extensive parking area and of course the race finish.
A number of would be Stour Descent competitors have been asking why when the Stour Valley Canoe Club is encouraging people to register online it is not making available an online payment service like PayPal or WebCollect! Well the short answer to this question is that this year water levels on the Stour have been until a few day ago at historic lows. The river requires significant flows during the autumn in order to flush through the reeds which in recent summers have been increasingly densely populating long stretches of the river through which the race proceeds. Consequently, there is a very real chance that the we may not be able to produce a navigable channel in time for race day- we have already had parties out on the course undertaking extensive clearance work. If this is the case then we will have to cancel this years race and refund entry fees. Therefore we have taken the decision to hold competitors cheques until we are certain that the race will go ahead. Rest assured that we will be doing our utmost to ensure that the race does go ahead, but please pay attention to the updates we will continue to posts in the run up to Sunday 2nd December. The Stour Valley Canoe Club would also be grateful if would be competitors share this message and other posts with the wider racing community- websites, Facebook pages, etc.
Sorry about short notice. Tuesday evening SVCC will be hosting Halloween paddle for our younger members. We are meeting at the club 6:30pm. Please come dressed in your warmest clothes – you won’t be wearing kayaking clothes – hats, scarfs and gloves.
We intend to paddle you in canoes to Bryanston boat house where you find some “treats” and maybe some “tricks”.
Afterwards we’re going to paddle back to the club where Ron will provide you with cup of hot chocolate or soup.
As your new Chairman I have a couple of things to address, but firstly I’d like to thank Tony in particular for the success he’s had growing our youth section. We now have large numbers turning out on a Saturday morning which is a great achievement.
The increase of the youth sections however does bring with it added work for our adult club members. It takes a lot of time to get our enthusiastic young paddlers down to the launch jetty at the bottom of the long winding path. I also have some concerns about young people carrying heavy boats and equipment unassisted and/or adult members doing all of the carrying and not having the
chance to improve their own skills and enjoy the session. I therefore am setting out new rules for the young/youth paddlers and parents for all club sessions with immediate effect:
All paddlers must come with appropriate footwear, this means a soled wetsuit boot, water shoes or trainers but no crocs. Please ask if you need any advice on suitable equipment, we are more than happy to help.
Don’t leave young paddlers at the club before signing them in (we now have a
signing in register)
Assist helping your young paddler carry boats and any other required equipment to the jetty before they join the instructing team.
Be at the jetty for 1130 (Saturday sessions finish at 12 noon but often finish earlier in the winter due to the cold weather) to assist your young paddlers getting off the water and returning boats and equipment to the club storage.
As the colder weather draws in please ensure that you:
Stay in the vicinity of Blandford and are contactable, younger paddlers tend
to get cold quickly and may need to end their session early and we may not
have sufficient older members to look after them on both water and land.
(In the past older members have had to forgo their time on the water).
Leave your young paddler dry, warm clothing.
Any required medication or information on medical conditions must be handed over to the lead instructor that day.
We will be enforcing the minimum age of 10 years from now on, of course all of our current young paddlers are welcome to attend but we will not be accepting any new members under 10 years of age unless a parent accompanied them on the water for the duration of the session.
We will be looking at having a couple of river trips for members wanting to develop their skills. These will be run according to ability to ensure maximum benefit to each group.
Thank you very much in advance for your understanding. Why don’t you give it a go? It’s how most of the older members started ;-).
I hope to see you all on the water soon!
If you have any queries please feel free to contact me on 07748403995.