We parked the car not far from the Grand Junction Arms in Southall, put the canoe onto the water and paddled towards Brentford. October 31st Halloween and Richard and I find ourselves back on the Grand Union Canal.
It’s promising to be another lovely day as a pleasant but uneventful start to our journey brings us to the Norwood Top Lock, which is manned by a couple of likeable and chatty lock keepers, volunteers of course. After a quick chat we haul the canoe round the Lock and under the bridge and realise the water on the other side is so low that we are never going to be able to get back into the canoe at this point… read Peter’s full account here.
It would be unrealistic to expect fair weather for paddling at the fag end of October and any trip taken at that time could only be regarded as summer’s swansong. But since the club has a history of inspecting nature’s artwork at this time of year, and that the whole of the preceding week’s weather forecasts for Saturday had promised unrelenting sunshine with light, balmy breezes, it was really a trip not to be missed.
Seven of us, Jenny, Amanda, Stuart, Andy, Mark and Dave under the leadership of Phil packed our drybags and headed off from Bell Hill to Boulter’s lock on the Thames just upstream from Maidenhead, to paddle upstream to Marlow, taking in the Autumn sights and breezes. We were away for an early but punctual start at 9.00am and arrived at Boulter’s car park and were unloading 45 minutes later….. read Dave’s full report from the link on the Trip Reports page
Sunday 19 October 2014
On a beautiful day with a strong southerly breeze and a good flow, we launched kayaks to explore the Wey, heading south along the navigation through Walsham Gates and Newark Lock. Half a mile after Newark Lock and 35 minutes into the paddle we turned west, leaving the navigation (the Broadmead Cut, here) for the backwaters of the old river.
What did we know? That if we paddled for a couple of miles or so we’d get to an old factory straddling the river, where we could portage across a field and launch again, dodging a weir and in the blink of an eye, make the navigation once more to make a fine round trip.
What we didn’t know was that the river, rural, remote and fast-flowing, had other plans. After 45 minutes of great paddling and threading the boats through fallen branches we came up against a small wood that had upped itself and now lay like a sleeping dog across our path. With no chance of landing or portage we turned our noses to the flow and with a strengthening wind shot back the way we’d come… read Stephens full report from the link on the trip reports page.
The annual regatta was held on Saturday 27th September from the bank opposite the clubhouse at Hurst Park. We were blessed with August weather in September, warm sun and a very gentle breeze. Fourteen members arrived armed with spare clothes and lots of enthusiasm. Boats were paddled across to the Molesey bank and then the races began, you can see more photos here and a complete write up will appear in the Autumn Westward which will be published early next week.
Wednesday evenings paddles, are still going ahead, Make sure you have lights on your boat and you could enjoy sunsets like this! The club is buying 5 sets of lights (a white light needs to be displayed fore and aft after sunset) so these will be available for club members to use. (or bring your own) Strap them to your boat with some gaffer tape.
Life is like a bowl of chocolates you never know what ‘you’re gonna get‘.
The same could be said for The Grand Union Canal. Tuesday morning Peter and myself collected the canoe from Bell Hill and headed back to Southall Common to paddle the next stretch of canal. Travelling through the rush hour traffic made all the more easy knowing we were off to a far better place than our fellow drivers… read Richard’s full report here.
Peter tries out a Viper and Kathyrn the Raven
New member Houram infront of the club building
Saturday afternoon in September, and up and down the river young couples were saying ‘I do’ to their betrotheds, on lush lawns, in marquees or partying along on paddle steamers, everyone seemed to be getting married. Seven Hamptoneers did their best to add a little extra interest in the background of the wedding photographs, floating along the river behind the happy couples saying their vows! Read the full report on the trip reports page
The planned club trip for the last day of August promised to be a pleasant summer’s day out on one of the mid reaches of the Thames above Old Windsor, and it didn’t disappoint.
Looking out across the water at Bell Hill before we started out we had blue skies and sunshine with only the mandatory light breeze rippling the water.
Seven of us collected boats from the clubhouse and set off to the ‘Bells of Ouzely’ pub and eatery on the bank of the Thames about a mile below Old Windsor lock. Barnet and Daniel, sharing a Canadian and making the overall number up to nine, had set off a little earlier and
were paddling away from the pub as we drove up to unload… read Dave Kew’s complete account by clicking the link on the trip reports page
Picture taken by Dan on last Wednesday evenings club paddle on the river.