Picture taken by Dan on last Wednesday evenings club paddle on the river.
After a period of changeable weather we were lucky to have a clear run through with some lovely sunny spells. Sarah and Stephen organised the trip and were able to find enough roof rack spaces for all those going. Traffic trouble around Hampton and Walton Bridge were the only irritations of the day.
Arriving at Chertsey Bridge we got ourselves ready to depart and Dan being the scientist that he is was keen to investigate the conditions that had caused Jenny a wet start to her paddle a while back. Without any other assistance he was able to replicate the situation exactly and take a dip in the cool waters of the Thames. We then proceeded to paddle smoothly and largely uneventfully over to Shepperton lock where Dan proved that he could still enter his kayak and stay afloat at the designated portage point that seems to have been designated by some lanky fellow who has no trouble reaching down over three feet to get into his boat. Stephen, Mark and myself used the steps and the rest of the party took the sensible step of crossing over to the steps on the opposite bank.
Just below the lock we met up with Christine and later on as we went for out bacon butties met up with more paddlers from the club. Teas and food consumed we nudged the swans and geese out of the way and continued on past the Weir where we were heckled by drunken revellers who had canoed up from a nearby hamlet.
We arrived back at Bell Hill in good time and after cleaning up the kayaks made out way back to Chertsey to pick up cars.
Thanks to Sarah and Stephen for arranging the trip.
Richard had found the perfect parking spot. The Common in Southall. We had the park on one side of us and the Brentford arm of the Grand Union Canal on the other. We put the canoe in the water and paddled off towards the Bulls Bridge junction. We thought today, Friday the 8th was a good enough day to paddle the Paddington arm of the Grand Union up to Horsenden canoe centre in Perivale (about 6 miles each way, no locks to portage!). At Bulls Bridge the canal splits, the Paddington arm heads north and the Brentford Arm continues to form the main branch of the Grand Union canal all the way to Birmingham… read Peters complete report here.
This is an 18-mile paddle of nine locks and only one portage. Seven locks have canoe passes and one, Hampstead, can be by-passed. The launch and recovery sites are easily accessible, and the trail finishes at Allington with free, hot showers and a café.
Sarah, Mark, Dan and I choose to make the trip with an overnight stop at Hampstead Lock where we camped at Marlin Canoe Club, a secluded patch of grass and shading trees with a view of Yalding Bridge. There is no running water on site, but the river authority has some near-by, and there’s the Anchor – a dismal escapee from the early 70s: terrible food and fouled beer. But who cares? We were hungry and it has a great view of the river…. read Stephens full account from the link on the trip reports page