Castles, Country Houses and Paddling Doggies

The 2014 Doggy Paddle

The 18.5 miles Doggy Paddle took place on Sunday 18th May. This is a recreational canoe and kayak event in aid of the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.

It was a very early start from London for Phil, Barnet, Ivy, Bernard, Dan and myself when we took to the waters in double canoes starting from Royal Leamington Spa, along the rivers Leam and Avon, and ending in historic Stratford-upon-Avon.

The run took us through the spectacular grounds of Warwick Castle and Charlecote Manor, and at this time of year the Doggy Paddle got all the permissions so that we could run this beautiful and fascinating stretch of river, which is otherwise not normally open to navigation.

After the start Phil and Barnet took off in Phil’s new super fast canoe as we never saw them till the end! Ivy, Bernard, Dan and I took a more leisurely pace on a glorious sunny day.

There were 4 weirs and 2 deer gates on our journey. Dan and I shot over 2 of the weirs. The front of the canoe completely submerged over one of the weirs and I was soaked from the waist down, funny how Dan in the back kept completely dry! By the time Ivy and Bernard portage the weir Dan and I had just finished bailing and sponging all the water out.

When we arrived in Stratford we saw Phil and Barnet on the river bank finishing off their cream teas with large slices of chocolate cake.

A super day and great company, well done everyone.

Jenny John Chuan

Edmonscote sports field was the start point with canoes and kayaks of every shape, colour and style

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Phil and Barnet ready for the off

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Daniel showing off his physique!

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Barnet takes a moment off from paddling as we approach Warwick castle

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Trying not to drop the camera I get a selfie!

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A bit of congestion at the first portage to avoid the castle weir with a big drop

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Jenny and Ivy enjoy the sunshine and the great scenes of the castle as they wait to portage

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After a bit of slick maneuvering we eventually we got to the ‘get-out’

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The castle walls drop straight down to the River Avon

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Paddle boarders back on the water below the castle

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We headed out into the Warwickshire countryside

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Cows!

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Second weir to shoot at Hampton Lucy

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A big tree was blocking the route entailing a portage through the fields

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Dan has a healthy snack

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Ivy, Bernard, Jenny and Dan take rest during the portage around the tree

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Barnet and Phil approach Charlecote Manor

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Jenny and Dan stuck in the reeds!

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Jenny and Dan pass Charlecote Manor

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The deer gates – unforgiving solid steel with sharp edges – tough on any sort of boat

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Passing some sightseers on the route

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Arriving in Stratford-upon-avon

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Photo shoot at the Guide dogs tent with certificates

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