Just three Hamptoneers (Christine, Stuart, Phil) enjoyed a paddle on the mostly tranquil waters of the Wey Navigation from New Haw to The New Inn at Send on Saturday (13.12.2014). Dan got a ride but paddled off in the other direction towards Bell Hill!
We paddled south in bright sunshine, past the turnoff to the Basingstoke canal and the grafitti covered pillars holding up the M25 and the roaring traffic high above us. At this point you tend to put your head down and paddle hard to get away from the noise and back to the peace and quiet and greenery of the canal proper. The route winds back and forth until rounding a corner the Anchor pub and Pyrford lock appear. We continued past the moored narrow boats to Walsham gates which were open. Beyond the gates the current picked up so we kept to the right bank away from the weir and headed against the flow to Newark lock.
Above the lock we could see the remains of the old Newark abbey in the meadows beyond. Once beyond Papercourt lock we were off the old river and back onto the Navigation proper so no flow to worry about. The New Inn soon hove into sight in the sunshine and we stopped for a welcome cup of coffee and chocolate bar.
Refreshed, we headed back downstream and with the current now in our favour and the sun warming our backs we had a very swift paddle back to the Anchor pub for a quick lunch sitting in the sunshine.
As we approach the winter solstice the early afternoon sun was already dropping down below the tree line, leaving much of the canal in deep shade. It was 13 miles in all back to New Haw where we arrived at 2.30pm and soon had the boats back on roof-racks for the quick return trip to Bell Hill. Thanks to all for a very pleasant day out.