Canoeing to work; Der, went in Derwent

Originally planned for World Environment Day, a couple of intrepid members of Calibrand decided to canoe to work on Monday 15th June 2009. Could it be done? Would it work and how environmentally friendly was it?

Denis Saunders, Managing Director and Founder of Calibrand lives next to the River Derwent, six or seven miles north of the Calibrand offices which are 300 yards from the same river at Pride Park, Derby. When deciding how to travel to work on World Environment Day everyone had offered to cycle, walk, catch the train or work from home but Pam Gough our Lead Developer (who lives next to the river a little further south), challenged Denis to come by canoe.

Simon Wynne, one of our consultants, is always up for a challenge so he joined in and all we needed now were answers for Kipling's six serving men;

But first, Pete had suggested a practice and so Denis and Simon went down one evening after work at Darley Abbey Mills to have a practice. For a couple of hours on a fine summer evening they went from wobbling about to having some level of confidence, but then disaster: Denis, attempting to move upstream across the current got it all wrong and in he went! The water, he declared, was 'very cold' - at least that was what was reportedly said at the time! Still, undaunted we awaited the big day.

Everyone arrived at about 06:45 at Denis's house, which is right next to the river; after getting ready we set off at about 07:20, and from there we'll show you the rest in pictures...

Ray preparing for a Seal Launch down the bank
Above: Ray and Pete prepare to go in

Ray takes a snap of two swans along the way.
Above: We saw cows, horses, pigs, sheep, ducks and a kingfisher along the way

The crew make their way down the stream
Above: For a small City Derby is really very green, from left to right Denis, Ray and Pete make their way downstream

The team at the bottom of the largest weir on the route
Above: There were three weirs and the team went down them all, the largest at Darley Abbey is shown above with Denis and Simon looking grateful to have survived coming down it!

So we arrived at work after a quick shower at about 10:15, not too bad at all.

How green was it?

The theoretical figures for CO2 emissions:

CO2 Emissions per method of transport in Kg
Method of Transport CO2 Emissions (Kg)
Car 3.1
Train 0.6
Bike 0
Canoe 0

But the reality is that is was not really that green because we needed a support vehicle for the canoes and although we travelled back to the starting point by train, everyone had driven to the starting point and drove home from there.

However, it could be very green and not impractical for those who lived by the river and were well-organised, and perhaps a little closer to the office than this journey!

The downside is the commute time:

Commute time per method of transport in minutes
Method of Transport Commute Time (Minutes)
Car - light traffic 15
Car - heavy traffic 40
Train 27
Road bike 25
Mountain bike 35
Canoe - with the flow 60
Canoe - against the flow 120

So all-in all, an experience we'll never forget but probably one that won't be repeated too often.