Splash! Where to hit the water this summer.
When the heat’s on, it’s time to cool off in some crystal clear waters. Keen to take the plunge and try something new? Here’s some of the county’s best hobbies to dive straight into…
Nothing beats that first sun-kissed wash of water hitting your toes, but the Big Blue is more than just a holiday fling. From wild swimming and canoeing to SUP yoga, these Northants waterways are making quite a splash.
Book an hour long open water swimming session at Castle Ashby estate, where you can commune with nature in a Capability Brown designed fresh water lake, safe in the knowledge that a lifeguard is on hand to keep you safe. The vibe here is all about how nature enhances wellbeing, so they also offer nature walks and outdoor yoga sessions too. Sounds utter bliss.
Kelly McAlinden of Gaia SUP runs group and one to one paddle boarding lessons in Earls Barton for adults and kids from age 9 and up. It’s a fab way to get active whilst exploring the Northamptonshire countryside from a fresh perspective. It’s not just for beginners either, Kelly can help with techniques to help you progress and boost your confidence – great for if you’re planning on heading out to the sea. Fancy busting out some yoga moves on board? Kelly’s your gal as she’s also a qualified yoga instructor and teaches SUP yoga.
Canoeing at a shopping centre? Yep indeedy. Pop your heels in a dry bag and head to Canoe2 for a splash about in the gorgeous, slow flowing River Nene as it winds its way northwards from the Lakes. There’s a variety of different hire options from a two-hour paddle or half day adventure to a multi-day trip with B&Bs or camping all organised for you and luggage transport included.
Pootle around Skew Bridge Lake in a swan or dragon pedalo or a katakanu – that’s basically two canoes attached side by side, FYI, so great for families and groups of friends to splash about o sunny summer days.
Northampton Sailing Club run courses in sailing, windsurfing and paddle boarding from their base at Pitsford Water. You can book a two hour taster session with senior instructor Alex Gibbons to find out what it’s all about, progressing to two-day courses with both a practical and theory element. You can also book a one to one coaching session if you want to focus on a particular skillset. Newbies are welcome and you don’t have to be a member to take the plunge.
Live the California dream in Northamptonshire as, bikini-clad and hair flowing, you cruise effortlessly through crystal clear waters. Not just a fantasy peeps. Nene Valley Waterski Club offers waterski and wakeboarding tuition on their 32 acre lake at Rushden. You can also qualify as a certified jet ski driver here too.
Crank up the adrenaline with a spot of high octane wakeboarding with Xtreme Wake at Grendon Lakes. 2 of the 12 lakes here are dedicated to watersports (the others are all fishing lakes) and Mudlets as young as 8 can have a go – eeek! There’s also an inflatable aqua park to splash about on, as well as paddle boarding. If you’re after more than just a quick shot of danger, Wake Daze let you get a bit deeper in to it with some stretchy lakeside yoga to warm you up before you get stuck into your wakeboarding sessions.
It’s a slower-pace of life on the canals, so if you’re looking for something a bit more chill then head to Gayton Marina where you can hire a narrow boat for the day and drift serenely along the canal towards Weedon or Stoke Bruerne, taking in the picturesque scenery and wildlife with a group of up to 10 people on board. Fancy staying aboard longer and traveling further at a slower pace. There’s plenty of longer routes to tempt the more laid back traveler.