Sunrise Kayaking on Regent’s Canal
Danny also explained that these canals offer great tourism opportunities because they allow travelers to get close to special sights such as ancient monuments, designated historical structures and sites of specific scientific interest. Regent’s Canal starts at the junction with the Grand Union Canal, passes through two tunnels, bisects London Zoo, where we got our start this morning, continues on to Camden Town, passes by St. Pancras and King’s Cross railway stations and eventually ends at the River Thames.
I was starting to understand Danny’s fascination with urban kayaking: the atmosphere on this quiet waterway was downright serene and peaceful. Only occasionally did we catch a glimpse of a jogger, bicyclist or dog walker that made an appearance on the walkways beside the canal. It was hard to imagine that we were right in the heart of London, one of Europe’s biggest cities, that was just starting to wake up on a busy Monday morning.
I am paddling quietly in order to avoid waking someone up
We paddled quietly under a few road or railway bridges, and Danny and I had a chance to catch up on his background. Originally from New Zealand, Danny Gillard has always enjoyed the outdoors. Originally trained as a psychiatric nurse, Danny left his beautiful home country and moved to England more than 20 years ago. Over the years he worked in the insurance industry and for a major British retailer as a specialist in occupational health.
What a great way to explore London
Despite his passion for healthcare, Danny has always retained a love for outdoor pursuits, and over the last couple of years he has gotten more involved in kayaking. Together with his fiancée Niamh, he started to explore all sorts of waterways, including many canals and the famous River Thames. As both Danny and Niamh’s full time jobs were looking to get downsized, Danny decided to turn his passion for kayaking into a business. And that’s when he came up with the concept for Thames River Adventures.
Passing under one of the many bridges
Danny and Niamh applied for a licence with British Waterways in order to be able to do guided kayak tours on the canals. Today Thames River Adventures offers exclusive sunrise and sunset tours which are ideal as a birthday or anniversary gift. Danny added that his sunrise kayaking tours are particularly popular with couples as a start to a romantic weekend together. His company also offers lunch-time kayak tours that offer an upstream paddle section, a tasty lunch in a water-side pub and a relaxing return trip downstream.
Another couple of bridges
Thames River Adventures’ special offerings also include corporate teambuilding days which are very popular among companies in London’s financial district. A day in a kayak offers the perfect escape from the pressures of the office and helps people gain new skills that boost their confidence and collaborative spirit. Multi-day tours on the Thames are also possible.
Danny and Niamh’s most recent offerings include a “kayaxi” service – a kayak taxi service that will involve a special type of gondola that tourists and locals alike will be able to use for transportation on the waterways. The gondola will be manufactured next year, and the gondolier will even serenade couples and recite poetry during their trips around the Little Venice and Paddington areas. Obviously a business venture like this allows for some great creativity, and Danny is also working on some plans for promoting canal travel for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Danny explains Camden Town