Trip through Hillegersberg

Zondag 26 juli, 2022

On Sunday 26th July, the most recent graduates of Kano Club Rotterdam beginner classes took to the water for their first excursion beyond the Plas. The tour began with the group paddling up the Rotte, portaging when necessary to reach the Bergse Voorplas.
After a brief tour of the new Plas, we headed into the canals of Hillegersberg-Schiebroek. Tight and narrow, it took all of the skills learned on the Plas over the last four weeks to manoeuvre between the private boats and turn the tight corners. Low bridges introduced new paddling techniques, a forward stroke from the horizontal position.

The route

For lunch, we stopped at one of the school’s where Eda volunteers, assisting children with disabilities to experience paddle sports. This also includes specially modified boats – in one case with a plastic lawn chair and a lot of duct tape. There was also time here for philosophical debates, for example the different curtain arrangements between the Dutch and Italians.

The route back was a much shorter affair, as we utilised the lock between the Bergse Achterplas and Voorplas. Enroute to the lock there was a minor detour to admire the fountains in the Plas. Some of the group opted to shower in the spray at this point, presumably to avoid any queues at the club house. The group opted for taking the lock route back into the Kralingse Plas too. It was of huge value to experience both a lock into a higher canal and a lower canal, as it became quickly evident that things could go wrong quite quickly in the locks if you have not experienced either before.

The river Rotte

Overall, the trip was just over 11 km, and all without a single capsize, a great testament to the training that the new members have received from the club. Thanks must go to the veteran members of the club, who gave up their Sunday to take the newest members on a highly valuable paddling experience. Many lessons were learned on the trip, not least how to portage kayaks over dry land, conduct tight turns, how to safely use a lock, and to always take sunscreen.

Matt Gledhill