14 Hamptoneers lit up in a multitude of coloured lights made their way down river to Ye Olde Swan pub for a drink and supper. (Photos Maxine)
Andrew (trip leader), Norma, Elizabeth, Trisha, Paul, Michelle, Amanda plus Mark, Peter and Phil.
Last Sunday 11th December was cold and crisp and as the sun was setting a group of Hamptoneers put their boats on roof racks and drove up to Shepperton. A few others decided to paddle upstream to meet up at the launch point.
First problem, getting the tape to stick the lights to the boats to do its job, i.e. stick! With the cooling air a thin film of moisture settled on the boats which required either drying the boat where the light needed to be taped or wrapping the tape right around the boat. Lights in place we headed out onto the water by the lock.
The rowers, cruisers and all other boaters had long ago headed inside to warm up and dry out. Not for The Hamptoneers! We relished the silent, still, inky black waters……… read Phil’s full account here
7 Hamptoneers : Andrew, Val, Paul, Tamra, Mark, Sarah, Stephen
The sixth leg of the Thames from source to Westminster and a day for polar bears, with ice lying lightly on the jetty at Cookham Sailing Club. Why do we do it? A beautiful morning, paddling into the sun and past the woods below Cliveden (11 o’clock by the tolling of the bell) with the water pretty much to ourselves and the ducks. No flow.
After Cliveden, Boulter’s Lock by Maidenhead is a chance to take off layers. There was once an electric lift here to save small boats using the lock, long since replaced by a long-drop portage into the weir – no place for a wobble in near-freezing water…. read Stephens full trip report here.
Saturday 10th December
The club Xmas lunch will be at the usual pub by the river in Sunbury. This is always a fun and convivial affair with our own sunny private room upstairs overlooking the Thames. Please select your order from the menu below and email this to Phil. Payment is to the club account
Now that the clocks have gone back the Wednesday night club paddles have finished for the winter and will start up again in the spring.
Hamptoneers of course still go out paddling after dark but in informal groups – not as regular official club trips, although there are some organised club night paddles – see below.
There is a club night paddle organised by Andrew Wallace on Sunday 11th December, see the calendar on the website for details or Andrew’s email. (Its a gentle downstream paddle from Shepperton to the club.
Paddling after dark can be a great experience on a calm night with the reflections of boat and street lights it can be very tranquil. But there are a few extra precautions to take:-
1. Put a white light fore and aft on your boat so that other boats can see you, (put them in a small clear bag if not waterproof) a head torch is also very useful as the light is much higher above the water so visible further afield and the wobbling of your head makes it easier to see. Also if you end up in the water the light will make you easier to spot if you get separated from your boat.
2. Wear reflective clothing and/or light coloured clothing, reflective strips on your paddle are also good to catch attention.
3. Keep an extra sharp lookout for rowing boats which can be travelling very fast and their light is very low down so not always easy to see.
4. Ideally, go out with a partner so you can keep an eye on each other in case either gets into difficulty.
5. Wear a PFD
There were nine Hamptoneers standing at the bottom of Mill Lane in Henley at around 10-30 Saturday morning November 5. Myself, Sarah, Maxine, Amanda, Charles, Paul, Tamra, Stephen and our trip leader Andrew. It had taken us about 50 minutes to travel from Bell Hill and it was cold and blowy. After an in depth discussion on what we were all wearing to keep warm, we picked up our kayaks and wrapped in hats, gloves, body warmers, cags and spray decks we walk the short walk to our get in point.
Read Peter McBride’s full trip account here
See main Thames Trip report page here
Pictures coming soon……
With a very civilised start to the trip, that allowed for a sleep in, paddlers started arriving at the club in time to meet the very organised schedule provided by Andrew who led the trip.
Clear, not too cold weather greeted us as we got on the water within 5 minutes of the scheduled time. Peter M maintained his reputation as a light packer with a small dry bag that was only half full. Must get some tips from him.
Tamra, in the front of the K2 with Andrew, set a cracking pace as she enjoyed being at the front of the Group. Even though she wasn’t leading the trip Sarah couldn’t stop counting the boats, and she demonstrated great stability when turning around to check paddlers behind her, without turning her boat. Must get some tips from her…. read Maxines full account on the main Thames trips page.
Maxine crosses the finishing line
Congratulations to all who took part in the final H&H race on Saturday. Especially those who had just done the Bushy parkrun at 9am!
We had a record turnout of 12 boats and 13 people including some first timers including Catalin, Maxine, Tony and Richard in a C2, Charles and David Cox who had previously only paddled an inflatable kayak so the Tercel was quite a surprise!
It was also great to see all the club members and friends and family who came down to cheer on the paddlers.
Dan tried his fourth type of boat paddling a canoe solo to make it a clean sweep of 5 races including the first when he marshalled for which he received a special prize.
Andrew went back to his wooden sticks for this race but from his fast time previously won the veteran male prize and Jill Cox won the veteran ladies on the fourth race so came along to cheer on her son David and supply us with more delicious cakes and brownies and pick up her prize of a bottle of bubbly.
Barnet did another fast time in his blue Viper to win the senior male prize and Jenny the senior ladies, after arriving at the last minute, just in time to reclaim the new blue boat!
Paul Scott, Houram Haki, Geoff Stonehouse and Mark Lewis also received prizes for doing 3 or more races.
Thanks to Amanda and Derek for timing us today.
Having been away for last year’s regatta, also organised by Mark, I looked enviously at the photographs of the fun times being had on that day. I was determined to make this year’s event and put the date in my diary as soon as it came out. Saturday was a busy day for all and even more so for those who did the Park Run before coming along. The turnout was super with a great number of members, friends, and family turning up to participate or watch the activities.
We all went over to Hurst Park in kayaks, after all the gear had been shipped over in canoes.
The large number of people involved meant we started off a little later than planned but were still able to have lots of fun on the water.
Races around Taggs Island were the starters, divided into expertise levels so that everyone stood some sort of chance although, as I watched my fellow competitors disappear into the distance, I wondered if I should have joined the novices.
A great way to wake up on a Saturday morning. The lucky winners went on to paddle in finals and show the rest of us just what efficient paddling looks like. In contrast, the paddling without paddles race showed that with a good deal of effort, it is possible to move a boat quite quickly with one’s hands.
The next race was a team effort to get half the assembled paddlers into a canoe and paddle round a course before disembarking downstream. With 15 in each team it was decided we would have to make two trips. We had to quickly make up our minds as to who should go in each trip and who was going to paddle the canoe back on their own. It was fairly easy to decide this as Dan and Emily were on different teams (thank heavens!). It was a great race and would have been even closer had our team thrown themselves out of the canoe in a less careful manner! Apologies to those sitting behind me as I sprayed water in all directions as I pulled my paddle out of the water.
The final game was to collect tennis balls off the water whilst paddling kayaks and then throw them to our team mates on the bank. It was akin to fish feeding on a salmon farm and just as chaotic. Peter managed to capsize pretty quickly so you can imagine how much mayhem was going on as he is usually as solid as a rock in kayak. I followed shortly after being nudged by a well know person who I am reluctant to name – shall we just say “Carpe diem!”? This activity kept all those watching very entertained and all those participating very busy and pretty wet.
After this we gathered all the gear together and set off back to Bell Hill for the barbecue. Morton had gone over earlier to set fire to the coals and was doing a great job of building up a good glow by the time we arrived. All the boats were put away and we settled down to eat our barbecued meats and the great spread of salads and snacks as well as cakes provided by Tamra and her team of supporters.
Many thanks to Mark for organising a really enjoyable event which I felt really brought us all closer together.
Lots more pictures here taken by various people
You can see lots of pictures here. Some are a bit dark as the sun was setting but I will adjust them and re-publish.