Thursday, June 10, 2004, the Post reported that...

IT MAY be more Colorado than Clydebank, but adventurous Bankies have been flocking to brave the river rapids in a kayak.

Although it may come as a surprise to many, for more than 20 years hardy souls from the burgh, and their Glaswegian neighbours, have been put through their paces by members of the area’s very own group dedicated to the sport.

Drumchapel and Clydebank Kayak Club has experienced such a numbers boom, that club bosses have been forced to temporarily close their books to beginners.

But what is it that attracts Bankies to the delights of tackling a swollen river, with only planks of crafted wood between them and a drenching?

Club Secretary Ron Downie says that kayaking is a lifestyle for some, but doesn’t have to be about taking on the forces of Mother Nature.

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He added: “Some guys do a lot of stunt stuff, cartwheeling in their kayak over rapids. But some of us take a more easy going approach. Kayaking is a great way to see the country, an easy ride down a river can see you easily cover around twenty miles in a day.

“A lot of people head out in the kayak and then find somewhere to camp for the night. Some are even into other sports like hillwalking and they kayak down a river, and then take in a bit more scenery by walking as well.”

The 60-strong group are based at Clydebank’s Play Drome, where they hold their weekly practice sessions.

Ron said: “When we moved to the Play Drome I think it sparked a bit of interest. People in the pool swimming could see us coming in with the kayaks and what we were doing in the pool.”

“We are trying to turn the situation around so that we can accept beginners again, because we just don’t have enough instructors.

“Two have just qualified though, and we have another two in the pipeline. We are really looking at some more experienced members coming in.”

Members aren’t always confined to the pool though, the group’s 20 new beginners and their more experienced counterparts take to the nation’s icy waters on a regular basis, to hone their skills.