We got our elbows wet with Secret Adventure and Moo Canoes and went kayaking on Limehouse’s oldest canal
Photography Jenna Foxton
I’m donning some extremely wide, but surprisingly comfy, waterproof overalls (think old-fashioned fisherman meets overgrown baby). We’ve just had our on-land induction session, swinging our oars about with Moo Canoes instructor Alfie. He’s the kind of laid-back surfer dude you would meet on holiday, and he races expertly through the different techniques before I can even figure out which way up to hold my paddle.
About to climb into our kayak (there’s two in each), I’m suddenly nervous. What if I crash into an actual boat or accidentally whack my partner in the head with one of my oar’s blades? Luckily, once my colleague Jenna and I (gracefully) slide ourselves in the kayak, I’m instantly at ease and things are going smoothly as we zigzag our way out of Limehouse Basin and onto the canals.
I’m amazed at how peaceful and relaxing the activity is. At first, the group of 20 are hustling for water space, but once we all get a hang of it, we spread out and can cruise at our own pace. When I’m not concentrating on steering the ship (Jenna’s churning at the bow and I’m in charge of direction) I make sure to steal a look at the setting sun’s reflection on the water - that and the charming house boats we pass make for some seriously beautiful views.
Now, don’t get me wrong. As therapeutic as it is, it sure is a work-out (we were seriously achy the next morning). As far as teambuilding goes, it’s not an obvious one – but that’s the appeal. It really teaches you cooperation and coordination (get out of synch and you’re in trouble) and, most importantly, it’s a really good laugh. Once the 90-minute journey is complete in Hackney Wick, nearby Crate Brewery is the spot for cheers-ing with beers and drying off over pizza. Bragging rights will come with your blisters back in the office too.
Kayaking tours from Limehouse to Hackney Wick cost £45pp and include a kayak with paddles, waterproof clothing and a life vest. There’s a 30-minute introduction course and safety briefing, before the hour-and-a-half kayaking trip commences. There are waterproof storage barrels for any valuables as well as a van to take any valuables to the end point.
Secret Adventures, 1E Mentmore Terrace, London, E8 3DQ | 020 3287 7986