A SOUTH Lakeland engineer has designed the course for London 2012’s Olympic canoeing slalom venue.

Andy Laird, 36, of Nibthwaite, near Coniston, is director of Engineering Paddlers Designs UK (EPDUK), Whitehaven, and conceived the idea behind the Lee Valley White Water Centre in Hertfordshire.

It will be the home for the canoeing and kayaking events for the Olympics this summer.

The highly-acclaimed 300m course has also landed EPDUK with a lucrative contract with the Russian Canoe Slalom Federation.

The new contract, which will take two years to complete, will see a canoe slalom course built as an add-on to a hydroelectrical power station in Bogorodskoe, approximately two hours north of Moscow.

Mr Laird, a design engineer and keen canoeist, said: “After we had finished our designs for the Olympics we went out to the world championships in Slovenia and Slovakia to promote our courses. The Russians were there and were impressed by what we had done in the UK and asked if we could work with them on a scheme for Moscow.”

Graduating from Newcastle University as a civil engineer, Mr Laird worked as a waterworks designer before returning to Cumbria.

He has since developed successful white water courses in Teesside and Nottingham, home of the National Watersports Centre.

Mr Laird said the Russian course, similar in size to the Olympic slalom, would go through strict computer and scale model design processes. A hydraulic model was created by Fellview Joinery in a Barrow warehouse to aid development and a delegation from Russia visited this week.

“The computer model is quite simple but the physical model helps to see if there are any surges or ambiguities in the course,” said Mr Laird.

“The courses we have designed are an advancement on the Beijing Games in 2008. They are very stable and