Challenge yourself to paddle 29km on the River Medway in one day
Take on the River Medway Paddle Challenge and navigate 29km along this amazing river by canoe, kayak or SUP, whether you’re fundraising for charity or completing the journey as a personal challenge. We’ve transformed our much-loved challenge into an epic annual event, launching in September 2022 for anyone with paddling experience to book their place!
Rising in the Ashdown Forest, the River Medway flows through West and East Sussex and into Kent before eventually reaching the Thames estuary. The challenge takes place on the river as it passes through High Weald and the Vale of Kent, so keep your eyes peeled for local wildlife, WW2 pill boxes and Allington castle en route.
Challengers will start at Tonbridge and paddle downstream to Allington Lock, negotiating locks and weirs via canoe chutes (sluices) along the way. There’s a midpoint stop at Teapot Island, where we’ll provide a healthy lunch and you can have a quick rest before setting off again.
Whilst the paddling is graded as easy and we guarantee you’ll have a fun adventure, this 29km route should not be underestimated and passing through sluices can be tricky, so we recommend that you have a good level of fitness and paddling experience before taking it on. It's a challenge, not a race, so there's no prize for first place except major bragging rights in the pub that evening...
Many people spend 2 to 3 days on this river trip, but your challenge is to reach the finish line within 10hrs!
river medway challenge stats
- Total Distance: 29km (18 miles)
- No. of locks and sluices to pass through: 10
- Estimated Time: 6-10hrs
- Difficulty Level: 2/5 – a moderately hard challenge
- Pre-challenge information pack (includes training plan and event FAQs)
- Safety check-points along the route
- Lunch at the midpoint (your opportunity to rest and refuel)
- Transport for you and your kit back to the start
- Exclusive event t-shirt for completing the challenge
- An eco-friendly adventure (we're a carbon neutral company)
You can book your space on the challenge as an individual or small group, but we're also offering discounted block bookings for groups of 10 – so why not get your mates involved and paddle to victory together!
See the 'Groups' tab for more info on group and charity block bookings.
September – event date TBC
Up to 10hrs
Minimum age: 18 Fitness level: You’ll need a reasonable level of fitness to take part, plus paddling experience Max weight: 18 stone (115kg) – only applicable to participants renting our equipment
History of the Challenge
We began running the event as the ‘River Medway Kayak Challenge’ for one of our charity partners in 2018, who undertook the challenge in small groups as a fundraising exercise. It quickly became a regular event, growing in size and expanding into other kayaking fundraisers, such as Night Kayaking trips.
The popularity of these events triggered growing interest from other charities and individuals who recognised the fundraising potential and were keen to take part, so we decided to launch the challenge this year as a large-scale event for up to 100 participants.
Hatt Adventures Team
Paddlesports instructors – we’ll have our expert paddlesports instructors stationed at every checkpoint on the route. They’ll look out for you on the sluices and make sure you’re on track for the finish!
Volunteers – you’ll see plenty of friendly volunteers at checkpoints along the route. We’ll thoroughly brief them pre-challenge and they’ll provide a much needed morale boost, cheering and clapping your every paddle stroke!
We'll start early morning at Tonbridge, before setting off!
There are multiple checkpoints along the route and a lunch stop in the middle at Teapot Island.
After you've passed the finish line and celebrated your achievement, we'll meet you with you bag so you can change into dry clothes.
We'll transport you and your kit back to the starting point at the end of the challenge.
River Medway Tonbridge to Allington Lock
You’ll need to bring your own paddling kit, including craft (kayak, canoe or SUP), paddle and buoyancy aid as required. Our fleet of sit-on-top and closed cockpit kayaks can be hired (inc. paddles and buoyancy aids) on a first-come first-served basis.
Please note: inflatable kayaks are not suitable for this challenge, as they don’t get on with canoe chutes!
Suitable clothing for the activity and time of year should be worn. A complete change of clothes with appropriate footwear is also needed – this is left at the starting point and we’ll meet you at the end with it.
Take a look at our online shop for any equipment you might want for your outdoor adventures. We stock a variety of equipment and can give expert advice if you have any queries. Choose to collect your order on a course (free of charge) and your instructor will have it ready and waiting for you when you arrive.
We provide transport for you and your kit from the finish line back to the start.
We’ll refuel you with a healthy lunch at the midpoint stop (Teapot Island). Make sure you bring plenty of hydration and snack for the day as there won’t be refreshments along the route.