Category Archives: Trip Reports

Windsor to Boulters Lock

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

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Bells of Ouzeley to Cuckoo Weir

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

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Chertsey Bridge to Bell Hill

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After a period of changeable weather we were lucky to have a clear run through with some lovely sunny spells.  Sarah and Stephen organised the trip and were able to find enough roof rack spaces for all those going.  Traffic trouble around Hampton and Walton Bridge were the only irritations of the day.

Arriving at Chertsey Bridge we got ourselves ready to depart and Dan being the scientist that he is was keen to investigate the conditions that had caused Jenny a wet start to her paddle a while back.  Without any other assistance he was able to replicate the situation exactly and take a dip in the cool waters of the Thames.  We then proceeded to paddle smoothly and largely uneventfully over to Shepperton lock where Dan proved that he could still enter his kayak and stay afloat at the designated portage point that seems to have been designated by some lanky fellow who has no trouble reaching down over three feet to get into his boat.  P1000385-w1000-h800Stephen, Mark and myself used the steps and the rest of the party took the sensible step of crossing over to the steps on the opposite bank.

Just below the lock we met up with Christine and later on as we went for out bacon butties met up with more paddlers from the club.  P1000390-w1000-h800Teas and food consumed we nudged the swans and geese out of the way and continued on past the Weir where we were heckled by drunken revellers who had canoed up from a nearby hamlet.

We arrived back at Bell Hill in good time and after cleaning up the kayaks made out way back to Chertsey to pick up cars.

Thanks to Sarah and Stephen for arranging the trip.

Derek Heath

Wildlife and tranquility in the Western Suburbs

Richard had found the perfect parking spot. The Common in Southall. We had the park on one side of us and the Brentford arm of the Grand Union Canal on the other. We put the canoe in  the water and paddled off towards the Bulls Bridge junction. We thought today, Friday the 8th was a good enough day to paddle the Paddington arm of the Grand Union up to Horsenden canoe centre in Perivale (about 6 miles each way, no locks to portage!). At Bulls Bridge the canal splits, the Paddington arm heads north and the Brentford Arm continues to form the main branch of the Grand Union canal all the way to Birmingham… read Peters complete report here.

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Medway Canoe Trail

This is an 18-mile paddle of nine locks and only one portage. Seven locks have canoe passes and one, Hampstead, can be by-passed. The launch and recovery sites are easily accessible, and the trail finishes at Allington with free, hot showers and a café.

Sarah, Mark, Dan and I choose to make the trip with an overnight stop at Hampstead Lock where we camped at Marlin Canoe Club, a secluded patch of grass and shading trees with a view of Yalding Bridge. There is no running water on site, but the river authority has some near-by, and there’s the Anchor – a dismal escapee from the early 70s: terrible food and fouled beer. But who cares? We were hungry and it has a great view of the river…. read Stephens full account from the link on the trip reports page

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Hector’s Rediscovered

Effective leaders adjust their plans as opportunities arise. Latin scholars refer to this technique as ‘Carpe Diem’. Other regards it as erratic opportunism. But it works: here’s an example from the weekday trip on Monday 30 June.

Ivy, Norma, Jenny, Bernard, Dave and I arrived at Catteshall lock on the Wey to discover:

  1. The get-out was entirely blocked by moored boats from the boatyard and the cut itself was blocked by boats from the boatyard (though they were moved out of our wey). Indeed, our larger boats could only land and launch on the boatyard side of the navigation.
  2. We were a bit behind schedule for coffee at Bel and the Dragon in Godalming.
  3. Hector’s Bistro was open, fully recovered from three feet of flood water in the winter.

The Hamptoneers happily settled into Hector’s and can report that the bacon sarnies there are still excellent (they’re based on lots of streaky smoked bacon, which is an unusual and delicious recipe); the scones are good, too.

Andrew

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The Hamble

Andrew’s paddle up the Hamble attracted 8 paddlers in thrall to a stiffening breeze and the weird cross currents of an incoming tide.

Up towards the motorway bridge with a promising storm to the west and the menacing thud thud of outward-bound Sunseekers between the trots, past the Jolly Sailor and all of us paddling for England to escape the swell and make the bridge and then – a lovely broad river, blue sky and marshes…… read Stephen’s full account from the link on the trip reports page.

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26.2 mile kayak from Godalming to Bell Hill

Congratulations to Christine Bockett, Dave Kew and Daniel Bownds on successfully kayaking the 26.2 miles from Godalming down the Wey and Thames to Bell Hill. The last few miles on the Thames were very choppy and windy but we all managed to stay dry (just)! (I also paddled the distance – Phil T) Good job guys!

Full trip report here.

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Pope’s and Pint Paddle

7th June 2014

Eleven paddlers set off downstream from Bell Hill: Val, Adam, Dave, Gerard, Andy, Chris, Sarah, Stephen, Derek Heath, and Norma powering me along in a Rorqual. Another paddler was expected but it turned out that he was going to have a different kind of eventful day.

The forecast included rainstorms and thunder, and not long after Thames Ditton it started to rain, soaking us before we had reached the Royal Canoe Club. We paused at Teddington Lock for a quick briefing about our next step…. read Andrew’s full report by clicking on the link on the trip reports page

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River Wye 100 Mile Challenge

Initially our journey was planned to be undertaken in 4 days, but this seemed too easy!! So sticking with tradition we went for another 3 day challenge!! The team consisted of the following Hamptoneers; Jenny, Emily, Aidan, Mark, Tony, Barnet, Derek Henderson, Derek Heath, Sarah, Stephen and myself.

We met up at Ye Old Ferrie Inn at Symonds Yat, where we all had a nice dinner and puddings, before heading to the bunkhouse for a good nights sleep, so we hoped! With triple decked bunk beds and minimal head room, the snoring and the smoke alarm (or methane detector!) going off twice in the night, we were a bit dozy in the morning… read Dan’s full account and see the photos by clicking on the link on the trip reports page

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Rhododendrons and Angry Swans

Club Trip, 31 May 2014, Colt Hill to Mytchett

Saturday 31st May’s club trip was slated as a slightly longer than usual paddle on the Basingstoke canal, from Colt Hill near Odiham, sixteen miles to the visitor centre at Mytchett. Organised and led by Phil, those joining the party on this historic waterway were Christine, Amanda, Adam, Daniel and your scribe, Dave. Sixteen miles is well beyond my comfort zone, but as the weather forecast predicted a bright sunny day and more importantly, no wind to speak of, the trip seemed to offer a pleasant, if exhausting day out. With this in mind, personal preparation for the trip to prevent a poor performance consisted mainly of ‘carb’ loading with a Spag-Bog the evening before, followed by porridge in the morning and going equipped with chocolate Wagon-Wheels and litres of Lucozade on the day… read Dave’s full account by clicking on the link on the trip report page.

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Castles, country houses and paddling doggies – look back to May 2014

Six intrepid Hamptoneers (Ivy, Bernard, Dan, Jenny, Barnet and Phil) set off at sunrise on Sunday morning for the drive up the M40 to Leamington Spa and the start of the 18 mile ‘Doggy Paddle’ to Stratford-upon-Avon. A loose plan to ‘stick together as the HCC team soon came apart at the first portage as the throttle on one canoe got stuck on ‘full-ahead’! It was hot and sunny as we paddled beneath the mighty walls of Warwick castle with its huge trebuchet ready to repel all attackers. Heading south west we slipped past the picturesque gardens of Charlecote manor through the lush green Warwickshire countryside. All six of us made it to the gardens opposite the theatre in Stratford for our pictures with the guide dogs and to collect our certificates . Stratford was very busy as it was a rare sunny, hot day and every man, woman, child and dog were either sunning themselves on the grass or just ‘messing about in boats’. See Jenny’s account and photos here.

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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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