A trio of intrepid paddlers are preparing to take on ‘The Bliss Canoe Trail’ – an 862 mile circumnavigation of the inland waterways of Britain. First published in 1934 in a book called ‘Canoeing’ by William Bliss.
Recently Colin Broadway, Chair of East Midlands RDT has championed the resurrection of this ultimate touring challenge.
Hou Canoes have shared our vision for the Bliss Canoe Trail and are supplying the canoes for this trip but, more importantly, are also sponsoring the trail, touring logbook and associated website.
The route includes 506 locks, 13 tunnels and the Bristol Channel is among the 19 canals and rivers paddled. It takes in all of the DW race route, most of the Desmond Challenge across the top of the Pennines, all of the Soar Tour, a quick dip into Wales and out on the River Severn and most of the River Trent. Plus two dry sections of the Montgomery Canal.
The Trio of Noddy Crouch, Mark Jan Dielemans and Andy Oughton plan to start at Leighton Buzzard on 6th March. Already they have had offers from people offering overnight hospitality or wanting to paddle along with them for some sections.
Noddy has also set up a fund raising page to raise much needed funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Noddy-Crouch-Bliss-Trail). Feel free to cheer them on their way with a donation.
Starting at Leighton Buzzard should mean that Andy and Mark Jan will be at Holme Pierrepont on the first Saturday for the National RCR/LCR Forum (and maybe a shower!)
The ambition for the trail is that the ten British Canoeing regions that it passes through will organise the adoption of short lengths by local canoe clubs and paddling groups. The aim will then be, that these clubs set a date each year when they invite paddlers to come and share the section with them ether for a day or weekend. A couple of years down the line it would be great to set one weekend a year when all of the trail is paddled by lots of groups of paddlers doing different sections over the same two days.
The beauty of the trail is that membership of British Canoeing includes the licence, which covers all of the waterways paddled on the trip.