RETRO: Ahoy there for a raft of paddling memories

Raft Race for Muscular Distrophy. 1 May 1983.
Raft Race for Muscular Distrophy. 1 May 1983.
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It’s wet, it’s tiring and it has to be enjoyed, in South Yorkshire at least, without anything so adrenaline-pumping as white water rapids. But here’s a splashing way to spend your time, nonetheless.

Today, Tuesday Retro continues our weekly A-Z series of hobbies enjoyed in the region with R is rafting.

Stainforth Water Festival 17 th June 1989.

Stainforth Water Festival 17 th June 1989.

Grab a paddle and a makeshift vessel, and get thisen soaking.

“It’s just an incredible feeling when you’re out on a boat, it’s a massive buzz, although it can be a lot of hard work,” says Luke Lunde, an outdoor sports enthusiast of Hunter’s Bar.

“Sometimes you finish and your arms feel like jelly but that’s when you know you’ve had a good run.”

These pictures, taken specially from The Star’s archive, show Sheffielders down the decades rafting on waterways including Sheffield Canal, the River Don and Rother Valley Country Park.

The message is clear: if there’s a bit of wet in South Yorkshire, it’s probably been navigated by a bloke wearing a funny hat at some point.

“I like that feeling of getting a bit of water on your face,” says 26-year-old Luke, by day a partner with design consultancy Click Industrial, based in Bank Street, city centre. “It makes you feel alive and at one with the great outdoors – even if you can look up see the ice cream van when you’re at Rother Valley.

“I’d recommend it to everyone. It’s great fun.”