The Cheshire Ring Canal Race

The Cheshire Ring Canal Race is taking a break in 2020.

MADCC plans to hold the race once more around mid-summer of 2021.

When the race returns, the organisers hope to see participation by many more relay teams in addition to the paddlers who do the race as a long-term endurance challenge. Relay teams definitely have the most fun!

Race Overview

The Cheshire Ring Race is a race traveling anticlockwise around the canals of Cheshire, starting and finishing at Higher Poynton on the Macclesfield canal. The race is 96 miles long and has compulsory portages over 92 locks and 5 tunnels.

The race is open to individual paddlers, crew boats, and relay teams using kayaks or Canadian canoes. SUPs are not permitted due to the conditions of the access agreement on the Bridgewater Canal.

The race is intended as a 24-hour challenge, with competitors starting early on a Saturday morning and finishing early on  Sunday. A 15-hour cut-off is applied at the halfway point of the race to eliminate very slow crews. Due to the continuous nature of the race all competitors must have a support crew.

The Cheshire Ring Race is a challenge that is open to paddlers of a range of abilities, taking as little as 15 hours for a solo K1 (record set in 2011 by Stuart West), but more typically taking around 20-22 hours.


The race was originally conceived in the 1970s as a "lads and dads" relay event using touring double kayaks, and the Ring course is therefore divided into short relay sections between 5-7 miles each, so it is perfectly suited to relay teams made up of paddlers of varying abilities and experience.

Some paddlers participate in the Ring because of the endurance challenge but it has been noted over many years that the paddlers in the relay teams have the most fun, and especially for junior paddlers it can be a wonderful experience to paddle through the hours of darkness into the Cheshire sunrise.

The route takes paddlers through Manchester city centre at canal level providing a glimpse into the city's Industrial Revolution past, and close to both the Manchester premier league football stadiums, but mainly through beautiful Cheshire countryside.

To contact MADCC for further information please Click here to email the Cheshire Ring Race Organiser

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