Author Archives: Phil

Sneaking into London

Thursday morning 8th May, it was pouring down. Dark and heavy clouds dropping rain, and lots of it. Not only that, it was blowing, not quite a gale but strong enough. So there was really only one thing to do. I grabbed my phone and called Richard. Within an hour and a half we had picked up a double canoe from the club and we were lowering it onto the water on the Paddington arm of the Grand Union Canal … read Pete’s full account here.

See Little Venice trip info here

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Algae update

Algae update – good news. All restrictions lifted! We have now had a second water sample tested by the Environment Agency and this has come back clear of blue green algae so it’s back to business as normal for all on the canal.

However we cannot guarantee that it won’t return so please keep your eyes open and if anyone notices any paint like scums on the water please let us know. We will of course continue to monitor the water over the coming weeks.

Basingstoke Canal Visitor Centre

Basingstoke canal – Blue Green Algae Levels Reducing

Blue Green Algae Levels Reducing

We have been monitoring the blue green algae over the last few days and have noted that it has reduced considerably in density within the water. Unpowered boats are now allowed to use the full canal again. there is however still blue green algae present from Aldershot through to Odiham and everyone should take basic precautions.

General Precautions

Wash hands if you come into contact with canal water.

Canoes and kayaks – do not carry out rolling practice or any activities that will purposely put you under/in the water. If you capsize accidentally try not to swallow water. Shower and wash clothing as soon as possible. The algae can irritate skin particularly if it is trapped between skin and clothing. If you find any green surface scums or swirls of algae keep away from these. Do not use boats that are prone to capsizing until after the algae has gone.

Contact the Canal Centre for further information 01252 370073

The Bells of Ouzely to Bell Hill

Despite the weather forecast for heavy rain and strong winds six brave paddlers, Andrew, Norma, Tony, Andy, Charles and myself set of on our journey down the river Thames from Old Windsor to Bell Hill…. read Dan’s full account by clicking on the link on the trip report page

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DW BBQ

DW competitors past and present (Andrew & Barnet, Emily & Aidan, Will & Sam) congregated at the club last Wednesday to exchange tales of the gruelling 125 mile canoe race from Devizes to Westminster.

A goodly number of club members joined them for the BBQ and were obviously sufficiently inspired (or was it the beer) to announce their intentions to race in the 2015 race which starts on 3rd April. I will leave it to those people to formally announce that they are entering the race! To follow the burgers and steaks Babs had cooked a delicious rhubarb crumble or there was also cheese cake for desert.

Its a terrible cliche but I will use it anyway, ‘A good time was had by all’!

Trees, weirs and nettles on the River Mole

Dan, Jenny, Barnet, Mark and Phil had an exciting day out last Saturday on their continuing exploration of the river Mole, this time doing the Leatherhead to Cobham stretch. There are lots of pictures (some might say – too many!) which you can access from the link on the trip report page.

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Thames back to normal

06.05.14

River flows and levels continue to decrease along the length of the river. The river now has no red boards displayed and many sites now have no stream warnings. The upcoming week is forecast to be fine with occasional showers.

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Basingstoke Canal warning on blue-green algae

Algae update: Hampshire section of the canal now closed to all unpowered boats. The Environment Agency (EA) have now confirmed that the algae is toxic blue-green algae and advised us to close the Hampshire section of the canal (Ash lock to Greywell) to all unpowered boats (canoes, kayaks, rowing boats etc) until further notice.

Blue-Green algae 02.05.14We have received unverified reports of “Blue-Green” algae in the canal between Fleet and Dogmersfield.We have taken samples of the blooms which have been sent to the Environment Agency for expert analysis.

In the meantime we advise that extra precautions are taken while visiting and using the canal, as you and your pets could be at risk.

  • Do not allow your dogs to swim or drink water from the canal.
  • If you come into contact with the algal blooms ensure good hygiene before eating and drinking. Symptoms may include skin rashes, vomiting, fever and joint pains.
  • If you feel unwell or are concerned please contact your doctor.
  • Unwell pets should be taken to a vet as soon as possible.
  • Additional information is available on the Environment Agency website, environment-agency.gov.uk

Weekend roundup

It was another busy weekend down at the club:-

Adam took a group upstream to Walton Bridge

The trip went well; we had 8 paddlers in total. There was a last minute change to the scheduled tour, so we paddled from the club to Walton Bridge. Although the weather was better than forecast, the flow had really picked up, after last weeks rain, and the portage at Sunbury Lock was flooded, so we had to portage down stream of the lock and walk. After a welcome stop at the cafe at Walton for bacon butties, we returned to the club (slightly faster on the way back).

Emily held a one star course over the Saturday and Sunday

4 people successfully passed and now have their 1* BCU qualification, all expressed interest in joining the club.

Dan led a small group on the River Mole.

Phil, Dan, jenny and Tony took the two canadian canoes for a trip on the Mole. See the pictures here

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Godalming Trip to Hampton Abandoned at Triggs Lock !

At 7.45 am last Saturday we prepared to launch at Godalming, greeted by Godalming Canoe Club and the Mayor as the club had planned a charity event and invited us to join them for lunch at the New Inn, Send,  compliments of the Mayor !

We set off on the fast flowing River Wey then on reaching Cattershall Lock were alarmed to see the red boards on display, oh dear, our transport had already left, we just had to continue to Hampton. We flew along at an alarming rate of knots.

Stoke Lock was our first real challenge, the river was raging and therefore we couldn’t risk using the pontoon to get in as white water raged over it. We found a get in by having to paddle to find the edge, it was quite scary. Then on to Bowyers Lock, we had to stop well short of the lock because the Mill Stream was on a mission to suck anything and everything into its path. Getting in after the lock was another great challenge.

We whizzed on at an alarming rate then when we reached Triggs Lock, Julie the lock keeper pleaded with us not to continue, the water was flowing over the lock and the gates like the rapids at Niagara Falls ! So, unfortunately we had to abandon our trip, very disappointed but also quite relieved as to continue would have been VERY DANGEROUS.

There are more rivers entering the Wey and not until after Pyrford would it have improved. Had we enquired the night before we’d have been given the go ahead but the river came up 18 inches overnight. A very kind passer by took us to Elm Nursery close by where we indulged in a cream tea whilst we waited a few hours for our son to pick us up. We enjoyed the company of a variety of animals kept on the farm and bought  several plants, so all in all it had been a very interesting day.

Ivy Darbon

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26.04.14 Caution Strong Stream + Wey in flood

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Take care on the river – the flow has increased dramatically over the last 24 hours, in Kingston the flow today is 150m3/s, double that of yesterday. Stay up to date with stream warnings on the Thames Conditions page

Following recent significant rainfall river flows and levels are rising. Yellow boards are being displayed throughout the River Thames and some red boards are being displayed. The outlook is for further rain over the next few days and we anticipate further red boards being displayed.

26.04.14 WEY RIVER IN FLOOD – DANGEROUS CONDITIONS

10.20hrs

Godalming Wharf to Thames Lock – all river sections of the navigations are in flood, dangerous conditions to navigation exist and it is not safe to proceed along the waterway at this time.

You can also check the latest river conditions by calling Thames Lock 01932 843106 or the Navigations Office 01483 561389(recorded message not updated at weekends).