Surely there can be nothing as satisfying as feeling the wind in a boat’s sails, as you put out into open water? It can be easy to forget Britain’s rich sailing heritage, but since Team GB’s successes in the London and Rio Olympics, many more of us have found a desire to learn the ropes.
And you can do just that on Boddington Reservoir, a 65-acre lake in the Northamptonshire countryside, seven miles north of Banbury. It’s usually famed for its fishing, with anglers boasting record-breaking catches of carp, roach, perch and pike along its banks, but Banbury Sailing Club also makes use of the water, delighting walkers and picnickers on the shore with its fleet of striking boats.
Banbury Sailing Club is a RYA-accredited training centre, and welcomes new members (aged 7+) whatever their sailing experience. Once a member, you’ll learn everything you need to know from qualified instructors, either in one of their club boats or your own if you have one. You’ll also get to take part in the club’s busy social calendar, from dinner dances and barbecues to sailing holidays and regattas.
The club hosts regular Open Days – there’s one coming up on 2 September, 2-4pm, where you can have a sailing taster session (remember to bring a change of clothes in case you get wet) and chat to members over a slice of homemade cake. While you’re there, try walking or cycling the trail that circumnavigates the lake, and be sure to bring your binoculars for a spot of bird (and boat!) watching.