Author Archives: Phil

Head of the Thames: Cricklade to Newbridge

Head of the Thames: Cricklade to Newbridge – 27 miles

Day 1 = 10 miles Cricklade to Lechlade 0 locks

Day 2 = 17 miles Lechlade to Newbridge 5 locks + 1 canoe shoot
car shuttle: Cricklade, car parking on near-by street; Newbridge, car park of Rose Revived (by request).

12 – 13 August 2017

Trip Leader Sarah
Peter Mac, Maxine, Paul, Stephen
2 canoes, 1 Easky

Day 1 Launch at Abingdon Court Lane, Cricklade.
Lunch in meadow.

Overnight camping at Bridge House Farm, Lechlade, 300m across field from get-out.

Day 2 Launch at Lechlade, 10 metres downstream of bridge, south bank. Break at picnic tables by Radcot Lock (after canoe shoot, get-out at jetty on opposite bank for boats waiting to use lock upstream). Lunch at Rushey Lock (where there’s a shower, toilets and camp site).

This is a fascinating and beautiful stretch of the Thames. The first day (of 10 miles) comprises 4 – 5 hours of tree trunks, hawthorn, shallows and reeds – the river never much more than 20 feet wide and with the narrowest passages for a kayak or canoe to push through. A lovely day, quiet country, good company and only 3 boats to cut a route – a route impossible with a fixed rudder and super difficult in a K2. We saw a handful of kayakers early on and some of the trees showed saw marks, and though the water was often shallow we got out only once where a fallen tree was blocking our way. With enough water below the hull to drown a giant there was no way we could drag the boats through the water. Paul solved the puzzle: by climbing onto the biggest branches we could haul the canoes over (and the Easky under) the obstruction, playing the boats until we could get in them again without falling in.

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After a picnic in a meadow (there are no supplies en route and no easy get-outs), and 7 miles or so into the journey, the Thames gets a little wider until, a mile or so short of Lechlade it shrugs off the undergrowth. A couple of small powered boats appeared. We camped at Lechlade, hauling the boats across a pasture to the camp site (showers etc). Lechalde has late shops and at least four pubs. The Swan was friendly and the food simple, good and cheap. The New Inn is a big coaching stop and has rooms to rent in the stables out back. The Riverside pub is wretched, leave it alone.

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Day 2 we launched at 8.45 and finished at 15.00. A perfect morning, not too hot. More boats now but the river still tranquil. Isolated locks, the first unmanned at that time of day and requiring a short portage of our well-laden boats. Helpful lock-keepers and a very generous boater got us into three other locks and, at Radcot Lock – whey hey – a curling canoe shoot a good 100 metres long: turn, turn, whizz, turn, splash. Brilliant. And no-one fell in. We had a picnic on the opposite bank at the end of the shoot, tying up at the stage for upstream boats waiting to enter the lock (and keeping ours out of the way). There, steps lead to picnic benches.

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Even with locks and stops our speed on day 2 averaged around 3 mph. With no flow, twists and turns and the river like glue where the reeds grew under the surface, it was a demanding day – hot in the sun. But with some determined paddling we reached the Rose Revived at 3pm. The pub is next to a busy road over a narrow bridge but the Thames Path runs into a quieter patch of meadow and a float for a canoe club (unnamed) where I swam.

The Rose Revived has less charm than Newport Pagnell Services, but it does have food if you need it and you can sit by the river.

Notes: carry food, take minimum kit, don’t take a delicate kayak or a K2, be ready to fend off thorns. Ear plugs handy for the camp site at Lechlade.

[Personal note, I had an ever-more painful back injury; Maxine, Sarah, Paul and Peter were true Hamptoneers, portaging for me, getting me in and out and Maxine letting me paddle her Easky – a change of seat that got me to the end – a thousand thanks to you all]

Stephen Morris – August 2017

The River Mole Chainsaw Massacre

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‘Don’t forget your crash helmets’ was the last email from Dan Bownds a couple of days before what I thought was going to be a gentle paddle through the Surrey Hills. The start point was a small residential road in Brockham which looked a bit crowded after five cars and canoes moved in. Ever conscious of the BCU code of conduct we started a ‘polite and friendly’ conversation with a local resident who asked us to keep a look out for some gardening equipment that had been stolen including a new chainsaw…. read Dan Taylors full trip account here

Sardinia 2017

17 paddlers and a few tourists made the club’s annual pilgrimage to the warm waters and blue skies of the Mediterranean this year. The full trip report is still being written on vellum by our scribes but in the mean time here are a few pictures of the holiday…..

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Barley Mow to Mytchett

 Basingstoke canal explorer 2017 : leg 2
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All packed and loaded, we headed off to the Barley Mow ready to launch. Conditions were good, the canal was calm, and we were ready to go on the second outing to the Basingstoke canal – to cover the next 13 miles eastbound from the paddle that took place earlier this year on the first 10 miles.
Then 15 mins in – progress was stopped. Signs indicated that the footpath and the river navigation was closed.  At this point we continued to paddle – as we had er…only made it 1/2 a mile.  We could scrape past the works floating platform – but then became hindered by a sharp ‘chicane’ blocked by a floating yellow rubber boon across the canal which stood a ‘huge’ 4 inches above the water line.  The sea kayak of Andrew and Norma, as well as the canoe of Sarah and Steven could push past – but the K1’s and K2’s just bounced back.  Sarah came up with a plan to put the Sea kayak one one side and the Canoe on the other side – pushing down on the barrier – to allow us ‘more delicate’ kayaks to paddle through the middle.  A new technique was born (well it was new to me) – and I for one was grateful – good teamwork all round.
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We made smooth progress moving along – with just wildlife and the odd walker/jogger to be seen along the bank.
A brief stop at the Fox and Hounds on the outskirts of Fleet (or Church Cookham as the pub address proudly indicates) revealed a modern pub (alas closed) with good mooring.  A welcome and er….exciting fusion of spanish and english was had with flapjacks from Paul and Chorizo from Norma.
Further relaxed progress was made, south on Farnborough airfield.  We passed the place where previously – the infamous ‘worlds angriest swan’ lay waiting for unsuspecting paddlers.  All swans we passed on the day seemed most chilled.  So far so good.
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We made a late stop for luch at Ash Lock – which fortunately was easy to disembark at.  The solitary picnic table was free and the sun was shining.  We were alone save for the busy road nearby but we were soon joined by a gaggle/skein of inquisitive geese – hungry for any leftovers.  The K1’s could be manhandled under the bridge via a footpath, whereas the longer/wider craft were carried over the busy road – with traffic begrugingly stopping when necessary.
Continuing our journey, the canal passed over the A331 via an aqueduct – alas a bit too tricky to exit out of due to indented banking (probably designed to stop inquisitive paddlers…).   Further along there were several areas where the canal opens out into small lakes, with the last being Mytchette Lake – which for me was a first as I’ve never paddled in a ‘lake’ before.  Alas much of it was cordened off as it’s a wildlife reserive – but for me – it was a taste of the Canadian Lakes in er…Farnborough.
Our trip ended at the Basingstoke Canal centre – with cafe facilities, clean(ish) loos and it’s obvioulsy popular with the locals. Here you can hire peddelos & rowing boats. Whilst we waited for transport, we watched a familiy with their brand new 2 man inflatable kayak – lot of laughs but boy it looked a bit unstable and seemed to be visibly deflating. Worth suggesting to the comittee that the club should get several inflatable Kayaks….?!! Maybe not.
Thanks to all paddlers for making it a grand day out.
Paddlers:
Phil Tauwhare, Michelle Sugrue, Paul Scott, Andrew Wallace, Norma Morris, Sarah Potter & Steven

 

Silly Hats and Cardboard canoes

Go Canoeing week is a time to get out on the water in whatever type of craft you can imagine wearing something a bit wacky, Dan organised a Silly Hats paddle followed the next day by a Cardboard Canoe outing. Here are some pictures….

cardboard_paul1Paul shows off his new construction

cardboard_paul2It floats! And he paddles round and round!

cardboard_paul4After 12mins and 30 seconds Paul’s cardboard boat would float no more!

cardboard_paul3Proud winner of the  inaugural ‘Cardboard Canoe Award’, made fittingly from cardboard!

Arun river paddle

Sarah, Stephen,Maxine and Paul headed down to the Black Rabbit at Arundel to launch onto the river Arun for a tidal assisted trip up to Pullborough and back. Trip account coming soon… Here are a few pictures. (May 2017)

maxine amberley gap paul heading up stream returning on the tide amberley bridge

Prize giving 2017

Hamptoneers came from near and far by canoe, kayak, bike, car and Adam ran up the towpath to be at the Annual club prize giving at the Weir pub on Saturday. A few extras turned up but seats were found for all, lunch taken with a drink or two before Phil turned to the serious matter of the day, handing out the prizes for mileage paddled, DW achievements and other more light hearted awards – see full details below. If you were not there to collect your award we’ll get it to you somehow.

Sarah took a few pictures for the record – here they are.

IMG_20170513_132255857Phil presents Maxine with Ladies Champion trophy
IMG_20170513_132714030Andrew and Christine win the over 65’s mileage shield
IMG_20170513_141739904Tony and Richard win the Devizes Westminster fastest straight through boat trophy
IMG_20170513_133821423Jill wins the Most improved member IMG_20170513_133743945Derek wins Best Xmas lights
IMG_20170513_133642574Peter Mac – best singer IMG_20170513_133455212 Dan Bownds – best DW support crew
IMG_20170513_133254814Barnet – 500 miles of DW trophy .

 

Prize Awarded to
   
Ladies champion Maxine Nelson
Mens champion Peter Loy
Vet ladies champion Chris Bockett
Vet mens champion Andrew Wallace
   
Fastest Westel overnight boat Tony Leworthy and Richard Fisher
DW Courage and Determination – Robin Cooke Memorial Cup Jenny John Chuan
Fastest DW solo paddler Peter Loy
DW endeavour Daniel Taylor and John Whitwam
500 miles of DW  (4 DW’s) Barnet Heeley
DW Triple Mike Channon
   
DW supporter Dan Bownds
HCC best newcomer trophy Elizabeth Flint
Highest mileage newcomer Daniel Taylor
Best singer Peter McBride
Best roller Elliot Loy
Best Christmas Lights Derek Heath
Most improved Member Jill Cox
Most determined paddler Trisha Stonebridge

Barley Mow to Greywell Tunnel


Saturday 29th March 2017 Trip on the Basingstoke canal

GreywellTunnel29Apr2017At the entrance to the Greywell tunnel

As a relatively new club member, this trip was to be my furthest paddle yet. 10 miles from the Barley Mow to Greywell. A group of 14 paddlers, a double canoe and a K2, the rest in K1’s. The weather was cloudy but the season presented us with plenty of baby chicks following proud Mum’s who sounded the odd warning to us to back off!!

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Peter, of course, was in fine form, informing us of the year each bridge we passed under was built. I guess reading the plaques made him feel intelligent? Tamra braved a viper with no mishaps. Michelle, apparently wearing 4 layers of clothing, would surely have sunk had she fallen in!! As we approached Greywell, (where a gate in the canal prevents further access) it became quite an obstacle course of reeds and water plants. Looking into the water was quite fascinating, like paddling through an overgrown lush green garden.

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After turning around, we stopped for a snack break at Odiham castle. All but one wimp braved the 2ft step-up to get onto the bank. The group took pity on the wimp…. passing down cakes…. Thanks guys!! Yum!! One lucky dog got a real treat….stolen flapjacks, curtesy of Paul. The poor dog-owner was mortified!!

Amanda, faced with the big step down to get back into her K1, had a tiny moment of panic but she braved it out admirably. Next came the really low bridge. We had all made it through on the outward journey, literally having to lie on top of our boats… but Alan clearly had too many cakes… and took a small blow to the head causing an impromptu dunking! Alan, thank you… for once it was someone other than me!

On returning to the Barley Mow, cars were loaded up and 14 hungry paddlers sat down to some great pub grub and a good old natter.

Thanks, Phil, for leading and coordinating a great day out

Trisha Stonebridge

Jubilee river trip

This was my first trip – aside from Improvers sessions – so I arrived at the club on time at 8.30 ready to pack and depart with a mix of beginners enthusiasm and trepidation. The two other members of the trip , Dan and Paul were already packing 3 big bright ‘Easky’ kayaks on top of Dan’s fiesta.

Dan’s already done one write up on the first trip to the Jubilee – so I’ll just paraphrase it’s ‘a hydraulic relief channel for the Thames in Berkshire’ approx 7 miles long. Our trip involved paddling most of the Jubilee River – and joining the Thames through to the Bells of Ouzeley” Pub – around 9.5 miles.

We started at a the ‘Marsh Lane’ car park – with a relatively easy entry onto the river via a flat shingle patch at 10:15 am. It was a barmy sunny day – with sufficient cooling winds around the bends to avoid overheating……… read Alan’s full trip report here

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Devizes to Westminster race – 2017

This Easter weekend 8 intrepid Hamptoneers will be competing in the Devizes to Westminster canoe and kayak race (DW).

Barnet, Jenny, Peter and late entrant Mike will be racing K1’s in the 4 day race, together with Dan and John in a K2.

Tony and Richard are racing in the non-stop event in a C2.

See below for details on their boat numbers to track them online.

Singles and Endeavour (starts Friday 14th and finishes Monday 17th)

Peter Loy – Viper 51, race number 736

Mike (Peter) Channon – Viper 51, race number 774

Jenny John Chuan – Viper 55, race number 737

Dan / John – Rorqual, race number 611

Barnet – own boat, race number 754

  Non-stop Doubles (starts on Saturday 15th and finishes Sunday 16th)

Tony and Richard – own canoe, race number 332

All crews will have trackers which can be followed on the DW website (tracking pages now live)  http://www.dwrace.org.uk/ . There are separate links for mobile devices.

Below are provisional timings we are using for the support crew when the first K1’s (Peter/Mike) will be coming through.

The non-stop paddlers will pass by Hampton early on Sunday morning (approx 8:30am but check progress on the tracker)  to make the high tide at Teddington.

 

Day Location Provisional Times
Day 1
Friday
14th April
Devizes to Newbury  
Wotton Rivers 09.45
Crofton Pumping Station 11.15
Hungerford 12.30
Kintbury 13.00
Newbury Leisure Centre 14.15
Day 2
Saturday
15th April
Newbury to Marlow  
Aldermaston Wharf 08.45
Marsports (Dreadnought Reach) 11.15
Marsh Lock 12.15
Hurley 13.15
Marlow 14.30
Day 3
Sunday 16th April
Marlow to Thames Young Mariners
Boulters Lock 08.15
Bell Weir / Runneymede 11.15
Shepperton Lock 12.45
Hampton CC 13.30
Thames Young Mariners 14.45
Day 4
Monday 17th April
Thames Young Mariners to Westminster
 Mass Start 07.05
Putney Slipway 08.30
Westminster 09.30

 

Waterside ‘C’ and ‘D’ (2017)

Congratulations to Barnet, Jenny and Peter Loy for completing Waterside ‘C’ and also to Peter for completing Waterside ‘D’, the final race in the run-up to the Devizes Westminster International Canoe Marathon which is happening next weekend over Easter. See next article for details on how to follow the HCC competitors.

WC_1Jenny at Waterside ‘C’

WC_2Barnet at Waterside ‘C’

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Peter at Waterside ‘D’

Waterside ‘B’

Congratulations to Barnet, Jenny and Peter who competed at the 17 mile and 19 portage Waterside ‘B’ race yesterday Sunday 5th March. It was by all accounts very windy and wet with a number of capsizes due to the conditions. The race is an out and back from Newbury to Aldermarston along the Kennet and Avon canal, and is one of the classic warm up races before the DW.

Waterside race series

WatersideB_2017Jenny and Barnet waiting to start

WatersideBa_2017Jenny powers to the finish

WatersideBb_2017Barnet approaches the finish
 

Rolling practice in a heated pool

Elliot performing an advanced manoeuvre – hand rolling, most people use a paddle!

If you’re one of the more sensible club members to whom paddling on the Thames on a dark, cold winter evening doesn’t appeal, how about paddling in a heated pool?  There are several local sessions organised by various canoe clubs that are open to non-members.  All the sessions detailed below have a good selection of boats, paddles and decks available to use, included in the session fee. All you need to take with you are your usual swimming things + a ‘rash’ vest or t-shirt.
 
The boats at the pools are of the ‘closed cockpit’ type, like our Easkys (and the Ethos). If you’re not familiar with this type of boat there are always coaches or experienced paddlers to advise you. For those who are thinking of going out in an Easky during the colder months this is a great opportunity to practise using a spray-deck and how to cope with a capsize (which are much less likely in these stable boats).

See more details and times here