Record number enjoy messing about on the River Arun

The annual river rally at Stopham Bridge
The annual river rally at Stopham Bridge

There was a record turnout for this year’s River Arun Rally, organised by the Wey & Arun Canal Trust.

Canoeists, kayakers, small boat owners and paddleboarders turned out in force on Sunday, May 19, to celebrate the long tradition of boats navigating a river which was once part of a route from London to the south coast.

Chairman of the Wey & Arun Trust Sally Schupke

Chairman of the Wey & Arun Trust Sally Schupke

Paddlers and enthusiasts from canoe clubs from across the south east made for a colourful sight as they launched from Pulborough and Stopham.

More than 80 people registered to attend.

The aim was to reach Pallingham Quay, the highest point navigable by boats on the Arun.

The Arun is tidal as far as Pallingham Weir.

The rally date was chosen to ensure the tide was high enough for small craft to navigate this picturesque section of the waterway.

The River Arun Rally began in 1983.

The annual event has been run by the Wey & Arun Canal Trust since 2011.

The aim is to ensure that when restoration of the Wey & Arun Canal is complete, there will be no legal reason why boats cannot venture from the canal into the Arun.

The trust aims to restore the 23-mile waterway, which runs from Shalford in Surrey to Pallingham in West Sussex.

Chairman Sally Schupke said: “It was fantastic to see so much support for this free event, with more than 80 people registered to attend.

“All said how much they enjoyed their time on the water, and as part of a group it made it especially enjoyable.”

The trust welcomes canoes, kayaks, paddleboards and small craft to the canal at Loxwood.

For more information on where to paddle and to book, click in the Canoes & Boats tab at www.weyandarun.co.uk

Earlier this year the trust scooped a highly commended place in the prestigious Waverley Design Awards for its Compasses Bridge project.