Paddle Peak: Cromford Mills Adventure Bank Holiday Weekend

Over the August bank holiday weekend the Paddle Peak Team ran come and try kayaking sessions on the Cromford Canal for local youngsters. The weather was perfect and the event a huge success. Over the three days more than 270 children between the age of six and sixteen tried paddlesports for the first time. Visitors also had the opportunity to try other exciting activities including rock climbing, archery, bushcraft, wild camping and more.


At lunch time each day paddlesport demonstrations were given to the crowd of young adventurers. Matlock Whitewater Stand Up Paddleboarders impressed onlookers with their skills including head stands, party waves and taileez!! Paddle Peak’s very own group of local kids got the chance to work on their skills with some handy coaching and tips from the experience WW SUP team.

On Sunday, the British National Champions, Viking Canoe Polo from Belper amazed us with their kayak based team ball gain, very much like water polo. Again they shared their on the water ball skills experience with our group of local youngsters. 

On Monday members of the Great British Freestyle Kayak Team including World Bronze medalist Harry Price joined in the fun down at Cromford Wharf. Demonstrating an array of impressive aerial and vertical creatively named moves including cartwheels, cleans, loops, godzillas, tricky woos and more…

By the end of the three day weekend a record of 276 local youngsters had had the chance to get close to nature, enjoy their local green and blues space and experience paddlesports. Hopefully some will be back for more and one day perhaps will become future local champions. Time will tell..

Event organiser and Paddle Peak founder Pete Astles commented – “ Wow what a weekend. It started steadily on Saturday, then the crowds built and built right through the bank holiday. We saw almost 280 smiling kids on the water enjoying Cromford’s Historic Canal and Mills.  That topped last years incredible event.. it just shows the demand for outdoor activities locally. Thank you everyone for making the Adventure weekend an incredible success. “

Thanks so much to Cromford Mills and Derbyshire County Council Countryside Services for hosting the Adventure Weekend. Thanks also to Friends of Cromford Canal and their Birdswood crew for being so helpful and understanding. Thanks to all our amazing volunteers and coaches including the team from Manor Adventure at Willersley Castle for giving up their time to inspire our young people. More thanks to Matlock WW SUP, Viking Polo and Team GB Freestyle Kayakers for coming along to inspire and impress us all. Last but not least, thanks to Darley Dale based Peak Paddlesports for supplying the equipment, Pyranha Kayaks for the boats and Ainsworth for the paddles. 

Paddle Peak is a local charity and British Canoeing Club who’s work involves cleaning and caring for the River Derwent and its wildlife. Inspiring and enabling local young people to try and take up paddlesports, improving their fitness, wellbeing and experiencing the outdoors. 

For more information checkout the Paddle Peak website at or follow them on Facebook. 

Words and images –  Pete Astles


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