Do I need to be an experienced paddler?
Sudbury to the Sea is suitable for complete beginners. Previous participants might have only had a couple of hours in a canoe before completing the full two days! However, you must be able to get in and out of a canoe in order to portage around obstacles along the route because we strongly advise everyone to keep clear of weirs and sluices. The event gives a great sense of achievement to those taking part and is a fantastic family activity. Our volunteer marshals will be visible along the route (particularly the checkpoints) and will assist wherever possible. On the river, you will rarely (if ever) be out of sight of other craft so this forms part of the safety margin.
Why should I take part?
You will be seeing parts of the countryside that are inaccessible by any other means. Your entry fee will go towards the restoration and conservation of the Stour Navigation for the benefit and enjoyment of the public. You can certainly paddle the river at any other time of the year (and we certainly encourage you to do so) but we think S2C is quite special.
Do I have to book a place to take part?
Yes! We are limited to how many craft can take part following agreement with the Environment Agency (as the Navigation Authority) and riparian landowners (many of the portages traverse their private land). We will not exceed the maximum permitted entries and if you ‘miss the boat’ (please excuse the pun!) then we can add you to a waiting list on a first come first served basis should anyone drop out ahead of the event.
How and when do I book a place?
You need to complete our booking form and make payment to confirm your participation in the event. The majority of people are able to book via our online booking portal but if you are really struggling then drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01787 313199 so we cna try and help. We generally open for bookings in July and you can subscribe to our mailing list for S2C information and updates (including priority booking) – click here.
Do I need a permit or licence for my boat to take part?
The simple answer is yes! All craft must be registered to take to the water on any part of the Inland Waterway network of England (canals, rivers, navigations). The Environment Agency (EA) is the navigation authority for the section of the Stour that runs from Brundon Mill (upstream of Sudbury) to Cattawade (near Manningtree).
Proof that your craft is registered for navigational use during the event will be required and there will be checks on the day. These are the legitimate options:
- A person in the craft is a current British Canoeing member
- The craft is currently registered with the Environment Agency
- You are hiring a craft from one of our Official Hire Partners
- You obtain an Environment Agency craft registration via the River Stour Trust (available in advance as ticket option also comprising S2C entry)
Do you hire craft for the event?
We will share the details of our Official Hire Partners who can rent you a craft for the weekend.
Can I just paddle on one of the S2C days?
If you are unable to paddle the whole weekend then you are welcome to take part on one of the days but we will need to charge you the full fee. You will need to make it very clear on the booking form which day you are paddling because we monitor craft as during the event for safety reasons.
What are the overnight arrangements?
S2C participants are invited to bring along their own camping equipment to camp overnight at Rushbanks Farm at Wissington. Do not call Rushbanks to book- S2C pitches are already reserved! This site is next to the river and is the location for the end of day 1 checkpoint. We arrange a discounted camping fee and the campsite warden will collect the fee (cash only).
Of course, there is no necessity to camp if you live locally or simply prefer a bed! However, you must be able to return to this location on Sunday morning to check out by the stated time.
Can I take part in the event to raise money for charity?
We are more than happy for you to use the event to raise money for charity. You will get a certificate when you reach the finish at Cattawade so you are able to prove your success! We would be delighted if you would like to raise funds for us and can provide a sponsorship form upon request.
What do I need to bring?
Your basic kit list will consist of:
– Life preserver/buoyancy aid is essential and is probably the most important piece of safety kit
– Dry bags are needed for keeping your stuff dry. This could be a spare set of clothes, your mobile, towels and other items that you don’t want to get wet. Dry bags are watertight, so you don’t need to worry about your stuff even if you capsize.
– For most water sports, wet shoes are worthwhile. Made from neoprene with rubber soles, they provide fantastic grip when walking on slippery surfaces. They also don’t get water-clogged like trainers will and allow you to walk into the river or sea without fear of stepping on something painful and hurting yourself.
– Mobile phone (fully charged!)
– Basic first aid kit and hand sanitiser
– Payment card & cash
– Bottled water & snacks
– Sunscreen and cap
– Appropriate clothing and accessories for warm/cold/wet weather
– A spare change of clothing and footwear in a dry bag
– Helmet is advisable and should be CE approved – CE1385
– Camping gear (tent, sleeping bag, etc)
If, having booked, you can’t take part, let us know. We look at refunds on a case by case basis and cannot guarantee anything, but we do try to be reasonable.
Do you have a community page where I can ask questions, share thoughts, ideas and photos with other people taking part/interested in S2C?
Yes, we have Facebook and Twitter accounts for S2C. Click on the logos and join the conversation!