Pub and Paddle: The new way to wet your whistle in Norwich this summer
Copyright Archant Norfolk 2016
Explore the city and the Broads from water level - then wet your whistle at your favourite watering-hole.
That’s the offer from Pub and Paddle, a new venture fronted by canoe-builder Nick Hanington, who has teamed up with six pubs to encourage people to make the most of the river.
Through his new canoe-hire business, based at the Red Lion on Bishopgate, he hopes to get people into the pastime and provide a second revenue stream to his own building company, Weston Canoes.
Paddlers can hire the canoes from the Red Lion on Bishopgate, and follow the river out to Thorpe St Andrew, through Bramerton and on to Surlingham.
The 28-year-old said: “It’s common knowledge that we have a great river running through the city and almost no one’s using it.
“You can paddle through the city centre, past Carrow Road and the Cathedral and then half an hour later you’re in the countryside and beautiful surroundings. It couldn’t be better.”
The company - which encourages customers to drink responsibly as they paddle - offers three options to canoeists on their route along the Wensum and the Yare. They can choose to either paddle to Thorpe and back, or make a one-way journey to either of the two villages, where Mr Hanington will meet them to collect the canoes.
Mr Hanington, who lives off Aylsham Road in the city, has been helped in setting up and promoting the business by his girlfriend Chantal Verlinden.
He said: “It’s a bit of a side project from Weston Canoes - the boats are made by us, and it’s an effort to promote canoeing in the city.”
Weston Canoes was set up last year in Weston Longville, after Mr Hanington, who was working with children with special educational needs at the Hewett School in Norwich, changed career to satisfy his lifelong interest in woodwork.
Last year the company produced around 50 canoes but could double that figure next year after Mr Hanington agreed deals with several independent shops around the country.
Mr Hanington’s boats, which are rafted from marine plywood and the African wood okoume, are cheaper and faster to produce than traditional cedar-strip canoes, he said.
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