In May this year I became the first person to complete the Go Canoeing Three Lakes Challenge on a stand up paddle board.
Inspired by my enthusiasm for paddle sport, Go Canoeing invited me to visit British Canoeing, at their Nottingham base, and repeat my feat on our new Trent Loop Challenge!
After being the 1st person to successfully complete the 3 lakes challenge unsupported on a stand up paddle board (SUP), I was asked by the Go Canoeing team to see if I fancied trying out the newly created Trent Loop Challenge on my SUP.
The Trent Loop is a 12 mile circular route around Nottingham accessing the River Trent and the Nottingham and Beeston Canal. I was delighted to be invited to take it on!
I decided to tackle the route by going around it clockwise to make it more challenging, to physical push my fitness, stamina and paddling skills.
The journey was eclectic going from the hustle and bustle of Nottingham and travelling under the iconic bridges to the tranquillity and solitude further up river.
I was lucky enough to see fish leaping out of the water and paddle past cygnets fluffing their plumage in the golden autumnal sun.
Once at the weir, I hopped off the water and carried my SUP over to the canal. As I paddled along I passed the odd friendly fisherman. Top tip here: Smile, travel slowly and try to be unobtrusive.
It was wonderful to SUP under the quaint canal bridges and pass bright and decorative narrow boats. This part of the canal is quiet with the odd runner, walker and cyclist making their way along the tow path. Trees surround the route, with just odd glimpses of the buildings of industrial Nottingham.
The canal takes you into the centre of Nottingham. Here the landscape changes, becoming more urban, with cafes, bars and offices.
After the final lock portage I was back on the River Trent for the final leg of the journey.
I paddled with the sunshine on my back, heading back the Holme Pierrepont and the National Water Sports Centre.
The Trent Loop Challenge is a great introduction for people who are keen to test the water (excuse the pun) with a mini SUP challenge. It has a diverse mix of conditions and is close to bail out points and cafes. You can really enjoy a leisurely paddling experience and appreciate the sights of Nottinghamshire.
I was lucky enough to be invited to be the first person to SUP the Trent Loop Challenge. It's a great challenge for anyone wishing to have a go at a SUP challenge with good accessibility, chance to see wonderful bird life and a great sense of adventure too!