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9 July 2010

Explore East London by canoe

Your author spent a very pleasant afternoon last Sunday canoeing the canals of East London. The canoes themselves are available from East London Boats in Mile End and, unlike with their punts, you can carry them over the locks in the canal to cover more distance.

The owner tells your author some canoeists have even done a full round trip, continuing via the Lee Navigation to Limehouse Cut and Limehouse Basin, but last week's trip covered slightly less ground, taking participants from Mile End to the edge of the Olympic site via the Regents Canal, the Hertford Union Canal and the River Lee Navigation.

Despite initial fears from some of the group, it was largely disaster-free, with only one dead rat sighting, a wet leg for one of the participants, and a great pub lunch at Top O' The Morning in Hackney Wick.

Canoeists should come equipped with strong arms if they are intending to carrying the canoe over locks, as well as their best waving arms, as everyone seems a lot more friendly when you're travelling by canal. And watch out for the heavy weed on the Lee Navigation beside the Olympic Stadium. It can slow you right down, so approach with speed.

East London Boats operates on weekends only from the Eastern bank of the Regents Canal near Queen Mary University and the Palm Tree in Mile End Park. For more, see http://www.eastlondonboats.com/.

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