In 1978, Johnny Brown (who was the a teacher in the Wallace High School Maths Dept) had just finished his rugby career and was interested in the Wallace High School weekly outings paddling. He joined the Wallace High School Canoe club run by Drew Michie (a PE teacher), then gained his Senior Instructor qualification at one of the SCA courses which Drew Michie ran twice a year in Central.
The Canoe Club at Wallace High school had been running since Drew Michie arrived in 1974. Drew ran expeditions abroad in 1975, 1976 and 1977 to France and competed in the international Slalom competition in Sort in Spain. The school had a large canoe squad and in the 1977 Scottish Youth Slalom, Wallace High School won several medals. The Scottish Youth Squad had 9 out of 12 places taken by Wallace Pupils.
In 1979, Drew Michie was appointed Central Region Sports Development Officer from a teaching post in Wallace High School. Johnny Brown inherited the Wallace club in 1979 and ran the club until he left in 1984. John Brown continued to run the Wallace High school expeditions abroad with trips to paddle in France in 1981-1984 and took this new group of paddlers to many of the Scottish Slaloms.
In 1980 Sports Scotland introduced a Sub National Grant Scheme to develop sub national squads in a range of sports. In Drew Michie’s new role, he was interested in developing canoeing further and set up Central Region Canoe Advanced Training Centre (nicknamed CR Cats). It was based at the University and a flat water slalom course erected at the far end of the Loch on campus. Alan Eastwood was the first coach.
Johnny Brown started using the River Devon Slalom site whilst at Wallace High School and when he left Wallace High School in 1984, he became involved in running CR CATS.
He continued taking trips to France and Europe over the next 30 years for paddlers from CR CATS and all over Scotland.
Sport Scotland Support
In 2015, the club was very fortunate to receive a grant from SportScotland through the Direct Club Investment scheme to enable the club to employ Janet Peck as a part time coach. Janet Peck joined us in June 2015 and in the 3 years she has been here along with our existing coaches Neil Caffrey, Davy Dickson and Paul Kelly, we have been able to offer many more canoeing opportunities at all levels. We have a thriving group of young paddlers.
In 2018, we welcomed Piotr as a new coach working with the club.
Around 1982 the old Devon Colliery site new Alva was on the market and owned by Central Regional Council. Drew and other Council Officers were asked about which parts might be retained for Council use. At that stage a group of Fife paddlers had set up an informal slalom training location around the bridge there. This site was identified by Central Region for further development (called the River Devon Canoe Site) and work for it was investigated.
In the mid 1990s, with the help of Isaac Walsh, the local scouts, Central Regional Council and National Lottery funding, planning permission was granted to install paths and floodlights on the site making this the first all year round facility in Scotland. The local Scouts then sold the site to the club enabling the club to install boat containers and changing rooms on the site.
The river has some moving water and is a safe environment for learning basic white water skills.
In 2019, there will be 3 Division 3/4 slaloms run at Alva.
Our club specialises in the Olympic Sport of Canoe Slalom. As well as teaching children all the basic white water skills, we will also teach them slalom skills and they will have the opportunity to race in slalom competitions.
The club holds a couple of competitions at Alva each year in June and September.