Category Archives: Trip Reports

Weybridge backwaters

Last Saturday morning Charles and Andy led a group of 6 Hamptoneers (Amanda, Phil, Stuart, Christine, Charles & Andy) upstream to the backwaters of the Wey river. The weather was cold and blustery whipping up sizeable waves on the stretch up to Walton Bridge. We headed straight up the cut and just past the ferry landing before Shepperton lock we took the left turn up a narrow creek towards a weir on the Wey navigation.

There was a brisk current to battle with and the water swirled around each bend we navigated. At the weir we took another left turn up a very narrow creek with overhanging trees which twisted and turned for about another half a  mile to a pool beneath another weir where a few kayakers in play boats were riding the waves.  We turned around carefully as there was a strong stream and retraced our steps back out onto the Thames. We were now heading into wind but the flow helped push us homewards. We made a quick stop to examine progress on the new Walton Aquarium and to have a quick cup of coffee. We were back at Bell Hill for 1:30pm from where most people headed to Chino’s for lunch to meet up with Ivy, Bernard, Jeff and Babs.

Phil

The purple line shows our route from the Thames, past Hamhaugh island up the creek. WeyBackStreams

 

Hampton to Westminster, rain, wind and waves – look back to 2015

Last Saturday, 28th February a group of nine Hamptoneers took to the water to paddle from Bell Hill to Westminster. There were five K1’s crewed by Mark, John Freeman, on a visit from the chilly climes of Scotland, Phil, Peter and myself. We had two K2’s crewed by Andrew and Norma and Tony and Adam.

An early start for some meant that four cars were waiting for the group up at Vauxhall at the end of the paddle. We all assembled at Bell Hill soon after 8am and were ready to go onto the water at 9:15am. Andrew gave us a quick briefing beforehand on the special rules which apply to rowers and paddlers on the Thames between Putney and Richmond. These allow boats going against the tide to cut corners and move over to the ‘wrong’ side of the river. This means boats going with the tide must paddle down the centre of the river on this stretch of the Thames to avoid the oncoming stream of rowing eights, of which more later!

Read Derek’s full trip account here (with pictures by Derek and Peter)

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Paddling the pleasant waters of the ‘Shire’ – look back to 2015

Seven Hamptoneers braved the cold weather early last Saturday morning and set off for Swanwick near Southampton for the start of our journey on the river Hamble. There was Mark & Stuart in Tercels, Derek in a Cirrus, Jenny in a Hobby, Norma & Andrew in a Rorquel and myself in a Rockpool sea kayak (kindly borrowed from Andrew).

First we paddled through the harbour at Swanwick, upstream with the flood (incoming) tide through a channel marked with buoys for the motor boats which didn’t seem to follow the way the river flowed and the tide wanted to go, creating a few cross streams and whirlpools! Luckily there wasn’t any wash to deal with. After passing under a few bridges we were into the countryside where there were some dippers wadding in the reed beds catching fish…

Read Daniels full trip report from the trip reports page (pictures now added)

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Ice Canal Kayakers

You’ve heard of the Ice Road Truckers, well, now meet the Ice Canal Kayakers!

Two tough, brave paddlers, Stuart and Dan took on the elements and paddled through snow, ice, wind and rain Saturday before last! We started our journey at Ealing canoe club (ECC), where I attempted to paddle towards London through a large section of ice but got stuck with the front of the boat riding up onto the ice.GU_ice2

With further progress impossible we decided to head back towards Southall. We paddled through loads of patches of ice, I kept getting stuck, so Stuart lead the way in his Tercel. When we reached The Black Horse pub where we had turned around on the previous trip we turned around and started heading back towards Ealing, hoping the ice would have cleared.

GU_iceOn the way back we met some K1’s from ECC and a barge which had cleared most of the ice away. Once we got back to ECC most of the ice had gone, so we started towards London, We paddled for several miles, over the North circular aqueduct and at last came to Little Venice, Paddling on down the Paddington Arm  of the canal we had a quick break before we got too cold and started on the journey back towards Ealing, On the way back we had a strong head wind but still managed to over-take several barges and saw some K2’s from ECC doing their DW training. The good thing about this section of the Grand Union canal is that there are no locks! Our journey took 4 1/2 hrs and we covered 17.4 miles – phew!

Daniel Bownds

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Running the weirs on the Jubilee River

The Jubilee River is a hydraulic relief channel for the Thames in Berkshire. It is 11.6 km (7.2 mi) long and is on average 45 metres (148 feet) wide. It was constructed in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s to take overflow from the River Thames and so alleviate flooding to areas in and around the towns of Maidenhead, Windsor, and Eton in the counties of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. It achieves this by taking water from the left (eastern) bank of the Thames upstream of Boulter’s Lock near Maidenhead and returning it downstream of Eton… read Dan’s full trip report here

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New Haw to the New Inn (looking back to Dec 2014)

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Just three Hamptoneers (Christine, Stuart, Phil) enjoyed a paddle on the mostly tranquil waters of the Wey Navigation from New Haw to The New Inn at Send on Saturday (13.12.2014). Dan got a ride but paddled off in the other direction towards Bell Hill!

We paddled south in bright sunshine, past the turnoff to the Basingstoke canal and the grafitti covered pillars holding up the M25 and the roaring traffic high above us. At this point you tend to put your head down and paddle hard to get away from the noise and back to the peace and quiet and greenery of the canal proper. The route winds back and forth until rounding a corner the Anchor pub and Pyrford lock appear. We continued past the moored narrow boats to Walsham gates which were open. Beyond the gates the current picked up so we kept to the right bank away from the weir and headed against the flow to Newark lock.

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Above the lock we could see the remains of the old Newark abbey in the meadows beyond. Once beyond Papercourt lock we were off the old river and back onto the Navigation proper so no flow to worry about. The New Inn soon hove into sight in the sunshine and we stopped for a welcome cup of coffee and chocolate bar.

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Refreshed, we headed back downstream and with the current now in our favour and the sun warming our backs we had a very swift paddle back to the Anchor pub for a quick lunch sitting in the sunshine.

As we approach the winter solstice the early afternoon sun was already dropping down below the tree line, leaving much of the canal in deep shade. It was 13 miles in all back to New Haw where we arrived at 2.30pm and soon had the boats back on roof-racks for the quick return trip to Bell Hill. Thanks to all for a very pleasant day out.

Phil

 

Walton Bridge to Penton Hook

Walton Bridge to Penton Hook Lock [November 1st]

It started slowly but by the end of the week thirteen Hamptoneers had signed-up for the twelve mile return journey from Walton Bridge to Penton Hook Lock.

We set-off promptly from the Club and duly assembled at the river bank, opposite the Cowey Sale car park, at 10.15 for a mass getaway upstream.  Tony and Adam, accompanied by Peter, were in DW training mode and raced ahead in their K2. The rest of the group were content to paddle at the usual leisurely Hampton pace whilst simultaneously holding lofty or, as the case might be, not-so-lofty conversations with a variety of kayaking partners. Isn’t this what touring at the Club is all about?  Bernard and Ivy kept pace in their Canadian Canoe and remain an inspiration to us all. How can they paddle that thing so quickly? The weather defied the forecasters and the day seemed more Spring than Autumn. Certainly no-one expected to regret not bringing sunblock.

Shepperton and Chertsey Locks; water meadows with long-haired cattle; a beautiful eighteenth century bridge; the village of Laleham and finally a quick stop and a snack at Penton Hook before the return trip. Finally safe and sound at Walton, apart from Mark who was nursing a back injury and left us early on, we loaded boats on cars and adjourned to the Snack Bar to join Carol, Babs and Jeff who had arranged to meet us for lunch. A total of sixteen Hamptoneers enjoying the pleasure of each other’s company and the delights of the Thames.

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Andy Garbett

Dave Kew took a few photos….

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A Grand Union Day Out

Saturday 8th November 2014

5 kayakers and 2 canoeists took to the tranquil waters of the Grand Union canal, paddling under leaden skies from the Grand Junction arms near Bulls bridge and the start of the Paddington branch of the canal up to Uxbridge lock with a brief stop at the bistro at Cowley lock. The canoeists (Ivy and Bernard) did not feel that 13 miles was far enough so tacked on an extra 12 miles to paddle from their home to join the trip and back again! Full trip report now available from the trip reports page.

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Should have taken the wheels!

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.

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Autumn Tints on the Thames

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

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Pathfinding on the Wey

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.

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Bulls Bridge to Cowley Lock

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.

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