Monthly Archives: November 2017

RNLI training sessions with HCC

November 2017

Hampton CC has just had two excellent training sessions with Teddington RNLI.  In the past they’ve dealt with incidents with kayaks, so they were very receptive when approached with the idea of joint training.

 RNLI comes to Hampton

First of all, the RNLI came to Hampton, for a joint session with, and at, Hampton Sailing Club.  The RNLI told us that their patch includes tidal and non-tidal Thames from Richmond past Teddington to Molesey.  The crew are all volunteers living near the lock, 23 good souls in all, and they have two D Class lifeboats there.  They showed us how they react to a shout: they’re afloat within three minutes, which I think is amazing; and they get through Teddingon lock in one minute and forty seconds, which is astounding.  They shared with us sound wisdom about cold water, life jackets, etc.  23 Hamptoneers attended, together with 16 sailors and 7 from the RNLI.  Jenny organised a wonderful lunch for us all afterwards.


HCC goes to Teddington


The following weekend, which was last weekend, we went to their base on the ground floor of a modern block of flats near The Wharf restaurant just downstream of Teddington Lock.  In all we were nine, coaches or experienced paddlers.  We had given some thought to what we could do with the RNLI that would be worthwhile for them, so we planned the afternoon in three parts:

  • land-based briefing from Derek Heath and Mark Lewis:  they explained the features of our various boats, and how those differences impact rescues (we showed them a canoe, a WW boat, an open cockpit K1 and a sea kayak).  Then Derek and I demonstrated some of our rescue techniques, so they wouldn’t think we were completely clueless !
  • on the water, the RNLI rescued the various boats we’d brought. Peter Loy, Richard Fisher and Andy Garbett were on hand to flood the boats, and to explain and encourage effective rescues.  The open cockpit Cirrus was the most difficult to rescue, as you’d expect.
  • on the water, the RNLI rescued Mike Channon from his WW boat, Michele Springall from her sea kayak or Morten Lunde from his Nordkapp sea kayak with a tiny ocean cockpit (that wasn’t easy).  And they tried Hand of God rescues, plucking the ever-grateful Morten from his capsize.  Monitoring us all, ensuring that the RNLI didn’t run out of things to do, and taking the photos, was Charles Taylor.Over the course of the afternoon we trained with 15 of their crew (ie four boat crews), and they were grateful and appreciative, and were speaking of a continuing relationship, with another session envisaged for the spring.  What’s more, they’re setting up a similar session with another local club, Royal CC (we wouldn’t mind showing Royal how things should be done !!).

And what did the RNLI think of it all? Here is what their training co-ordinator said:

“I wanted to say, for myself and on behalf of all my crew who attended on Sunday 19, how truly fantastic you and your fellow paddlers were! We were all amazed and not a little humbled by the enthusiasm, expertise, hardiness (Morten may just win man of the match on that one), and sheer love of your sport that you all showed. My crew absolutely loved it and were still talking about the afternoon throughout our training on Tuesday – I think some are even keen on having a go themselves, inspired by you guys, and Hampton CC would be a natural port of first call for that after all we have seen.

“We have all learned some great lessons which will hopefully make us more effective, and the river a safer place for paddlers.
“As I said, should you wish us to lay on a station visit for families, particularly younger folk, we would be delighted to do so, and we are also very keen on a joint exercise in the spring.”
Andrew Wallace
You can see lots more pictures here

Leaves, weeds and portages

Saturday 18th November 2017

Mytchett to New Haw  –  Basingstoke canal

There are 28 locks on this 14 mile stretch of the canal so I was not that surprised that only two other Hamptoneers signed up for the trip of a lifetime! Paul who has not missed a trip since he joined the club and Jenny who is always up for a paddling challenge.

It was a grey, cloudy day but the main colour along the canal was the golden tinge of the Autumn leaves forming a carpet on the canal and blowing off the trees which line the canal from start to finish. There was no other boat traffic once we had left the top Mytchett pound and started descending the locks, just a few dog walkers, hikers and bikers along the towpath.

As the locks progressed we honed our portage routine to be able to hop out of our boats, haul them out of the water onto one shoulder, trot along to the lower end of the lock, drop boat in water and get paddling again to less than 60 seconds. This meant that before long we reached the end of the Frimley flight of 14 locks and got a paddle of about a mile on the pound to the top of the Brookwood lock flight. This is just three locks in quick succession before another nice 2 miles of paddling to the…. dry section of the canal.

In some lock pounds water had leaked out lowering the water level by a couple of feet which made getting out at the portage quite tricky and meant lying down on the river bank to reach down and retrieve your kayak.

We had been forewarned that locks 11 to 7 were being repaired and this section of canal would be ‘de-watered’. We had some food and water and then hoiked our kayaks onto our shoulders for the half mile walk to the next stretch of water. We stopped occcasionally to move the kayak from one shoulder to the other and before long reached the pound above the Goldsworth top lock (#11).

5 minutes later we paddled up to the Bridge Barn pub, a modern Beefeater place meant to look like an old barn. The lunchtime menu had a range of dishes for a fiver which were just what we needed in the middle of a long paddle, with 6 miles and 6 locks still to go you don’t want too large a lunch!

After lunch we had our longest uninterrupted paddle of 3.2 miles so with Paul powering ahead as leaf clearer fuelled by his gammon steak and chip lunch we were soon at the top of the final flight of locks (#6).

The Woodham lock flight is spread over one mile and before we knew it we had reached the apocryphal lock number ONE! Just an easy mile left down to New Haw, turning left onto the Wey navigation under the M25 bridge.

Boats were soon on the roof rack for the quick drive back to Mytchett to collect cars and return to the club house to clean down the boats which were plastered with leaves, twigs and various detritus from the canal.

We all agreed it was a very enjoyable if exhausting day out, next year anyone?

Phil Tauwhare

Basingstoke Canal distances and facilities
Parking Locks Miles
New Haw – Wey Easy above lock 0.7
Woodham Junction 0 0.0
Woodham bottom lock 1 0.3
Woodham lock #2 2 0.7
Woodham lock #3 3 1.2
Woodham lock #4 4 1.3
Woodham lock #5 5 1.5
Woodham top lock #6 6 1.6
Bridge Barn Pub Pub car park 4.8
Goldsworth bottom lock 7 5.3
Goldsworth lock #8 8 5.4
Goldsworth lock #9 9 5.6
Goldsworth lock #10 10 5.7
Goldsworth top lock #11 11 5.8
Brookwood bottom lock #12 12 7.4
Brookwood lock #13 13 7.5
Brookwood top lock #14 14 7.6
Frimley bottom lock #15 15 8.5
Frimley lock #16 16 8.8
Frimley lock #17 17 8.9
Frimley lock #18 18 9.1
Frimley lock #19 19 9.3
Frimley lock #20 20 9.5
Frimley lock #21 21 9.6
Frimley lock #22 22 9.7
Frimley lock #23 23 9.8
Frimley lock #24 24 10.0
Frimley lock #25 25 10.1
Frimley lock #26 26 10.3
Frimley lock #27 27 10.4
Frimley top lock #28 28 10.7
Mytchett Car park / café/ toilets 13.1
Ash Vale Station car park 14.2
Ash lock #29 29 16.4
Wharf bridge, Aldershot Car park 17.8
Eelmoor bridge Street parking 19.2
Pondtail Bridge Street parking 20.7
Reading Rd Car park 21.7
Fox and Hounds Pub Pub + street parking 22.3
Crookham Wharf Car park 23.8
Barley Mow Public car park 26.3
Colt Hill Bridge / Waterwitch Public car park 28.9
N Warnborough lift bridge Some parking 30.3
Odiham Castle 30.5
Whitewater winding hole 30.6
Greywell Tunnel 31.2