The six youngsters, aged between 15 and 18 years, who make up
40% of the Great Britain Junior World and European Championship
Team, paddled on the Forth & Clyde Canal at Port Dundas to show
their support for the proposed £2.2m Pinkston artificial whitewater
Campbell Walsh, the Olympic slalom medallist (Athens),
who joined the group to show support for Pinkston,
"Scotland is really a force to be reckoned with in canoe slalom.
As much as 40% of the Olympic team this year are Scottish and
Britain itself is one of the top five paddling nations in the
"The last two Olympic medallists have been Scottish yet Scotland
is the only part of the country without an artificial whitewater
facility and our athletes have to spend valuable time and money
travelling to Nottingham, Cardiff and Teeside to train.
"If we are to strive for even greater success in the sport, we
desperately need a high quality training centre such as Pinkston,
which will be Scotland's first competition standard, purpose built
"The timing is also critical because this is an unprecedented
and exciting time for Scottish junior slalom. These are real rising
stars and if we are to sustain our lead within this sport and
ensure these juniors become our Olympians of the future, we need to
deliver Pinkston now."
Scottish junior paddlers currently make up 40% of the Under 18
GB Canoe Slalom team and are breaking through each of the 18
categories across the discipline.
Six Scottish juniors are ranked first across the UK, five
Scottish juniors ranked second and in just about every other
category, Scotland has become extremely competitive.
Speaking to Bradley Forbes-Cryans (Midlothian); Struan
MacDonald (Aberfeldy): Alice Haining (Galashiels); Andrew Houston
(Perth); Eilidh Gibson (Strathallan); and Michael Brown
(Stirlingshire), Dougie Vipond said:
"A long-time paddler myself, I know only too well the lack of
quality facilities across the central belt and Scotland as a whole.
We urge more potential funders to come forward now and help bring
this vital facility to life. It will make such a real difference to
these young athletes who are at such an exciting stage in their
careers as well, of course, offer great opportunities for
youngsters in the local communities to enter the sport.
"Over time, Pinkston has the potential to become a recognised
training resource for elite athletes, a hotbed for new talent for
the future and a venue for national and regional competitions."
Bailie Liz Cameron, Executive Member for Jobs and the
Economy at Glasgow City Council, added:
"The regeneration of the canal corridor - Glasgow's second
waterfront after the River Clyde - presents us with a huge
opportunity for our city.
"Pinkston Paddlesports will hopefully attract 25,000 users a
year once built and become a centre for sporting excellence. It
will also be an exciting hub for local communities along the canal
in the north of Glasgow.
"Glasgow City Council and our
partners are committed to the creation of a waterside location
which will buzz with opportunity for everyone."
Canoe Slalom Coach, Johnny Brown, who has trained six
Olympians and recently carried the Olympic Torch,
"Britain is one of the top five paddling nations in the world
and the strength of Scottish Canoe Slalom at senior level was amply
illustrated in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics when the British
Olympic Slalom Team consisted entirely of Scots: Campbell Walsh
(Bridge of Allan); Fiona Pennie (Crieff); and David Florence
"These youngsters are putting Scotland at the forefront of youth
slalom across the country and will be our elite athletes of the
future. They train hard, putting in some truly long hours. At the
moment, they train at Grandtully in Perthshire but have to travel
long distances to Nottingham, Cardiff or Teeside to find
competition standard artificial white water which is vital for
training year round.
"These young champions came to Port Dundas today to illustrate
how important it is that we raise the remaining funds needed to
create the artificial whitewater course and training facilities
here on the Forth & Clyde Canal if we are to give our young
contenders the support they need to become world class athletes of
Stewart Pitt, Olympian & Director of both Scottish Canoe Association
"There has been a lot of hard work by lots of people to get the
project to this point. Once complete it will offer a fantastic
venue for our top competitors to gain that vital edge as well as
introduce thousands of local people to watersports right on their
doorsteps. Scotland has some of the best natural resources in the
world for canoeing but this facility opens up the opportunity to
participate right in the heart of the city."
Development of the Pinkston Paddlesports centre is being driven
by partners in the Glasgow Canal Regeneration Project - Glasgow City Council, Scottish
Canals and ISIS Regeneration - alongside an
eager group of paddlesports enthusiasts who have formed a dedicated
charitable company, Glasgow Watersports, to fundraise for the
centre and then manage and develop Pinkston Paddlesports once it is
open. Development is also being supported by The Waterways Trust
Fundraising for Pinkston received a major boost earlier this
year with a £100,000 cash award from The People's Postcode Lottery
Dream Fund and £50,000 from The Gannochy Trust.
The two funding awards were made in recognition of the value and
benefit which the exciting, inclusive and year round centre will
offer local communities on the canal in North Glasgow.
Pinkston Paddlesports - Overview
Pinkston Paddlesports, which will be located in the Pinkston
Basin opposite the former Diageo plant at Port Dundas, will, it is
hoped, attract 25,000 users a year.
The organisers also aim to engage 350 new paddlers each year,
predominantly local youngsters under 25 years, through canoe taster
sessions and school visits.
The artificial whitewater course for Pinkston Paddlesports was
designed by Andy Laird of Engineering Paddler Designs (EPD).
Andy, whose grandfather once worked at the former Pinkston Power
Station, which once occupied the site, also designed the whitewater
course for the 2012 London Olympics and the Tees Barrage whitewater
The innovative scheme for Pinkston Paddlesports, officially
named 'The Glasgow Design', has already attracted international
interest and is currently being exported to Russia.
Pinkston Paddlesports will comprise an intermediate standard
whitewater course (the canoe equivalent of an artificial ski
slope), with a playwave/freestyle feature and facilities for slalom
and two permanent and two temporary canoe polo pitches.
With a clean water basin, Pinkston will also be very attractive
for triathlon training and will be able to host urban
multi-activity events such as swim or canoe then run or cycle.
A number of groups, including the Royal Life Saving Society, are
eager to promote water safety and life saving skills using the new
amenity, which is a clean water pool. In addition, it is also hoped
that the Pinkston Paddlesports will be used for swift water rescue
training by Scotland's eight Fire and Rescue Services and for
police diver training.
The innovative Pinkston Paddlesports structure will centre on
former shipping containers converted into low cost storage
facilities for local clubs and organisations to rent out or
purchase as a permanent home.
Pinkston Paddlesports will also feature a boathouse with
changing facilities; a drying room; toilets and showers; an
administration office; a kitchen; and coach education room/
classroom for hosting water safety and coach education courses; and
The name and design of the Pinkston Paddlesports centre is
interesting in itself. Pink' in old Scots language means a
'splashing' or 'little water splash' and Pinkston hints at the
history of the location. Pinkston Power Station, which once stood
on the site, featured a tall cooling tower and powered the Glasgow
Tram system before it was demolished in the 1960s. Before the
Pinkston Power Station, there was Pinkston Road and, before that,
Pinkston Farm sat beside the railway.
'A Corridor of Sport'
In the longer term, it is hoped that Pinkston Paddlesports will
be the first step in developing a 'corridor of sport' along the
Glasgow branch of the Forth & Clyde Canal. Future aspirations
include 'Urban Etive', an artificial whitewater course at Maryhill
Locks; canoe trails; and a North Glasgow Circular Path.
Glasgow Canal Regeneration Project
Led by partners Glasgow City Council, Scottish Canals and ISIS
Regeneration, the Glasgow Canal Regeneration Project is a long-term
strategy to regenerate the Forth & Clyde Canal in North
Glasgow, between Port Dundas and Maryhill, through sustainable
economic development and projects stimulating healthy active
living, culture and tourism. It is supported by Waterways Trust
Other projects to date in the Glasgow Canal Regeneration Project
include the restoration of Maryhill Locks and major new housing
development and the creation of a thriving cultural neighbourhood
by Speirs Wharf, which is now home to a number of creative
institutions including Scottish Opera and the Royal Conservatoire
of Scotland and Glasgow Sculpture Studios.
¹ The World Championships take place 10th -15th July.
Issued on behalf of Scottish Canals by Joanna
07884 187404; email@example.com