Category Archives: General Club News

Prizegiving – 2014

The Weir Pub by the river in Walton played host today to a good sized group of Hamptoneers who had paddled, cycled, walked or driven to the annual prize giving lunch, superbly organised by Kathryn. The awards were many and varied from Best Capsize which went to Peter McBride to the more serious ‘Platinum’ paddling award to Babs and Jeff Simmons for winning multiple Gold awards during their lifetime.

Jeff and Babs Simmons – winners of the Platinum Paddling award

Sally (Dipstick award), Jenny (Best New Touring Paddler), Dan (Best Photography) and Peter (Best Capsize)

Go to the members page and click on the link to ‘Prizegiving 2014’ to see more pictures

First Wednesday Evening Paddle

Wednesday 2nd April 2014

Magically, the stream warning on the Sunbury reach of the Thames that had been in force since December 2013 was at last lifted today,  just in time for the first Wednesday evening paddle of the year. With an extra hour on the clocks the sun was still well above the western horizon as five Hamptoneers decided to take advantage of the lighter evenings and get out on the river .

The advice on the national news today was ‘stay indoors’ and avoid the Saharan ‘smog’ if you suffer from breathing trouble!  My tickly throat was soon banished and my sore eyes saw clearly as by 6pm a light easterly breeze had blown up some fresh air to push us upstream all the way to the face of the main Sunbury weir which only the day before had been a dangerous seething mass of white water. What a difference a day makes!

Turning swiftly into the midst of the main flow we paddled steadily back down stream into the now pleasantly cooling breeze. Boats away, quick change and into the pub where the chairman bought us a welcome pint – thanks Andrew! And we all demolished the delicious if pricey burgers. What better way to spend a Wednesday evening?


Busy Saturday at Bell Hill

Suddenly every man and his boat were out on the the river today. Bright sunshine was tempered by a stiff easterly breeze whipping up substantial waves on some stretches of water.

Mark and Tony were out early in a Canadian,  practicing for their two star assessment. Jenny and Dan (37 today!) were also out in a canoe and did a long trip down from The Bells of Ouzely in Old Windsor with myself in a kayak, 3 hours on/in the water including a quick swim for me, I can only think I must have nodded off paddling along in the sunshine after a bacon buttie at the Walton bridge cafe! We met up with Adam and Christine at Shepperton lock who had come upstream via the loop and we spotted Gabriella out in a Tor heading upstream.

Barnet and Andrew were heading downstream to Vauxhall where earlier in the afternoon a number of racing eights had foundered in the chop kicked up by the wind over tide conditions!

Remember, Charles is running a trip tomorrow (Sunday) downstream for tea and cake  at the Royal and on Monday Andrew is going down to Richmond/Twickenham, contact them if you would like to join in.


Membership renewals

A reminder to all members that membership renewals are due on 31st March.

The easiest and quickest way to renew is to pay directly by bank transfer. You can find details of membership fees, together with the Club’s bank details on the Renewal Form (see the link on the members page)

 If you have any questions please contact Adam or Barnet.

15.03.2014 stream decreasing


First time this year the Sunbury reach of the Thames has not been on red boards which went up on 21 Dec 2013. There is still a significant flow where the river is squeezed between islands or bridge parapets – take care!

Prize giving – reminder

The Clubs annual prize giving will be at lunchtime on Saturday 5th April where a glittering array of awards will be handed out. Please contact Kathryn to reserve your place at the pub which will be within a short paddle of Bell Hill. The pub does good food at reasonable prices.

Muddy Car Park – strong river flow

The Thames has subsided back into its bed, leaving a couple of centimetres of mud across the lower part of the wharf. The pontoon is floating on the river again.

However the river is still flowing quickly; strong paddlers should reckon on taking 70 – 100 minutes to get up to Sunbury Lock; other paddlers should stick to canals for the time being.

Notes for tourers

The Club does a lot of canoe (and kayak) touring.  These notes set out what it’s all about; what you can expect when on a touring trip; what the others will expect of you; there are separate kit notes on what you might bring along.  These notes have been prepared based on one person’s opinions and experience; in time you will develop your own habits.

River levels – Thursday 13th Feb 2014

When river levels are really high, and the red boards are out for the Thames nearby, the actual levels of the river at Bell Hill can be inferred by looking at the water levels recorded just downstream of Sunbury Lock. When the level there is 4.95 m, the car park at Bell Hill is probably all under water; when the level is 5.04 m which was the peak reached on Monday 10th February , the canoe drying area in front of the clubhouse is probably under water as well. Paddling on a canal is a good idea at these times!

The level on Thursday 13th February at midday was 4.94m

See the environment agency river levels page here : Sunbury lock river levels

The forecast for flooding at Bell Hill over the next day or two is in the middle of this page.

The Wey conditions page is here.  Call Thames Lock 01932 843106 for the most up to date information on the canal parts of the Wey.

Note for drivers :- the direct route from Sunbury to Walton Bridge (Fordingbridge road) is impassable, you need to turn right in Sunbury along the Halliford road to avoid the flooding. The route from Walton bridge along the river to Weybridge is also under water. Chertsey bridge is closed as are many other roads in the area.

Flood preparations completed

As the national news is saturated with terrible stories of flooded homes, businesses and farms, the Thames in Hampton has risen to within 6 inches of flooding the club house. A hardy band of volunteers in wellies turned out yesterday to tackle the job of flood proofing the club. The main jobs were to get everything up off the floor by at least a foot, including the fridge which is now sitting precariously on a canoe stand. The chest of drawers is in the ladies changing rooms and the lower canoes and kayaks all moved up higher or out to temporary lodgings in Kathryn’s garden. Just the green canoes remain for now but they would need to be moved out if they started to float up and put pressure on the racks above.

Thanks to Andrew, Adam, Phil, Clive, Val and Lesley for their hard work.

Water levels rise inexorably

Andrew was up early in his kayak gear to secure an extra line to the jetty which is now a happy little bird sanctuary – see last photo taken on Sunday evening.  The other pictures were taken at 8am this morning, Monday 10th and show the water almost over the bottom step of the club. We are watching water levels closely in case equipment needs to be moved up or out of the club building.