Ouse Washes Experience – What a great event it was

logosThis Sunday the long-awaited Ouse Washes Experience was held, a cycle, walk or run from WWT Welney reserve to RSPB Welches Dam.

What a great day it was! My colleague Abby was there all day with display and leaflets at WWT Welney, and then helping the main organisers, the Ely Hereward Rotary Club, with serving participants some well-deserved teas and biscuits at the end of the journey.

A total of c. 60 people participated, mainly on bicycle, some groups walking and a few runners. Not bad at all for an entirely new event and for an area where similar events have simply never been organised before. All in all, a great day out in the countryside, getting people to see a part of their world most participants had not seen yet (but, according to the people I spoke to, they certainly enjoyed!).

I also joined an interesting discussion with MP Steve Barclay who showed up in the morning at WWT Welney; he commented on how great such initiatives are for getting people to use the countryside and explore the wonderful landscape in this area.

I did the c. 6 mile run myself as well, on the Environment Agency maintenance track (specifically opened up for cyclists and walkers for this event) and partly on top of the bank along the Ouse Washes itself  – great views over the landscape and a wonderful tranquil experience.

Well done everyone and all organisations who have made this event possible – see you again next year!

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Registration at WWT Welney Centre. Image: Emma Brand, WWT

Steve Barclay, Mark Nokkert and John Yates (8)

MP Steve Barclay, John Yates (Ely Hereward Rotary Club), and myself, ready to run. Image: Emma Brand, WWT.

Sharing some images of this great day with you here:

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Participants starting their cycle ride or walk from WWT Welney. Image: Emma Brand, WWT

 

 

 

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Arrival at Welches Dam, the RSPB Ouse Washes reserve.

 

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Ted Coney, our oldest participant, just arrived at Welches Dam.

 

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Group of walkers from Specsavers in March, walking for the Each Anglia charity just arriving after a long walk.

 

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6 April: Ouse Washes Experience – Do join in!

LogosAn exciting event is coming your way soon: On Sunday 6 April will see the Ouse Washes Experience.

This is a brand new event, which will be held in the heart of the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme area.

The Ouse Washes Experience: a sponsored run or cycle ride

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The Ouse Washes in flood, May 2012. Kite Aerial Photography by Bill Blake Heritage Documentation, All Rights Reserved.

This event is organised by the Ely Hereward Rotary Club, in close co-operation with the OWLP scheme, Cambridgeshire ACRE, Mepal Outdoor Centre, RSPB, Environment Agency, Cambridgeshire County Council and Cambridgeshire Police.

The idea is that all participants will either run or cycle along the Ouse Washes between Mepal and Welney, for either 4 or 9.6 miles (6.4 or 15 km), that is from Mepal until the Welches Dam/RSPB Ouse Washes reserve, or until the end in Welney village.

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See the Ouse Washes close up – all abilities are welcome

Cyclist and runners of all ages and abilities are invited to join! It is not a race, but should be seen as a great opportunity to enjoy the day in a unique landscape and raise money for charity in the process.

It is a unique opportunity to get to see the Ouse Washes area from a different viewpoint. Participants, whether they go on foot or on bicycle, will all leave together and follow the same 9-foot wide track in between the Old Bedford River and the Counter Drain.

Although a public footpath, this is not normally open for other users: special permission has been given by the owners, the Environment Agency, and its tenant, the RSPB, for use by cyclists and for this event.

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The route: From Mepal to Welches Dam, or to Welney

Further Details

Full details of the event can be found in the following flier: http://rotaryclubely-hereward.org/IMUpload/OWE%20flier%20V.5.pdf   Or download it here: OWE flier V.5

See also the Ely Hereward Rotary Club’s Twitter account (@Owe2014Ely) for the latest news on the event. Or, see this news item which came out last week.

I like the idea – how do I register for the event?

Do come and join us – it is fairly simple – to register, go to the dedicated Ouse Washes Experience Webpage on Eventbrite, or follow the links on the Ely Hereward Rotary Club website, and follow the instructions.

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RSPB Ouse Washes reserve at Welches Dam. Image: Cambridgeshire ACRE

Sponsorship for Magpas

Whether participating as a family, an individual or perhaps as a group of friends or colleagues, the idea is that everyone brings in money for charity through sponsorship.

MAGPAS was chosen as the headline charity: most of the proceeds of this sponsored event will go to MAGPAS, the emergency medical charity with their noticeable orange helicopter (apparently the only one in this colour nationwide!). See here a picture of the helicopter when I joined the Ely Hereward Rotary Club recently to meet the Magpas team at their base at RAF Wyton:

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The bright orange helicopter from Magpas , with Emma Nick and Keil from Magpas; and Michael and Gary from Ely Hereward Rotary Club

Magpas provides an enhanced air ambulance and emergency response service. What’s special and unique about Magpas is that each Helimedix team is made up of both a specialist doctor and a paramedic, thus being able to start treatment straight away when needed. Even though all doctors and paramedics give their time for free, the costs for the charity are still high, what with the helicopter, a huge range of equipment and extensive training provided to their doctors and paramedics. Magpas receives no Government or National Lottery funding and relies wholly in donations from the public.

Their work is crucial in saving lives across East Anglia and beyond: Since the charity was founded in 1971, Magpas has attended over 60,000 patients. Many people owe their lives to the heroic works of the Magpas staff! Definitely a worthy cause to raise funds for.

Related events on 6 April

The registration of the event will take place at Mepal Outdoor Centre. There will be stalls with information from various organisations, including ourselves and Magpas. Mepal Outdoor Centre will also have a range of trainers in place if people want to make a full day of adventure out of it – why not combine the run or cycle ride by doing some wall climbing, archery or water sports afterwards?

There are also ongoing conversations with the RSPB Ouse Washes reserve and the pub/restaurants, both in Mepal and Welney, to have further add-on events on the day – watch this space for any updates!

Now why not come and join us!