Despite the weather forecast for heavy rain and strong winds six brave paddlers, Andrew, Norma, Tony, Andy, Charles and myself set of on our journey down the river Thames.
After Norma kindly offered to do the shuttle run by leaving her car at Bell Hill, we all headed of to the Bells of Ouzeley pub in Old Windsor for the start of our journey.
Andrew & Norma were in there Rorqual K2, Charles was in his sea kayak, Andy was in his Carbon/Kevlar Tercel and Tony and myself were in Hobbys.
The first stretch of our journey down to Bell weir Lock we had the wind blowing into are faces, I was struggling with trying to get my arms to work!
After a quick snack and swig of drink we were onto the second stretch down to Penton Hook lock, were a kind lock keeper let us go through the lock saving us the portage. We were the only ones in the lock apart from some ducks and their little ducklings.
After exiting Penton Hook lock we joined the weir stream where a quick low brace saved me from having a swim. Moving swiftly on, still with the wind in our faces and now coming in from the side which made some interesting waves we continued on downstream to Chertsey lock.
Shepperton lock came up after about a mile from Chertsey with lots of cross winds pushing us around a lot. When we got to Shepperton we had a quick break before deciding where to go for lunch. We decided to head straight back to the club and not to stop at Walton bridge for a cuppa.
Walton Bridge in the sunshine
As we approached Sunbury lock the wind backed around in our favor, giving us a little boost now and again, it was like switching on a turbo charger. Back onto the home stretch heading towards bell Bell Hill there was lots of different birds, turns, gulls, black-headed gulls swooping around picking up all the mayflies.
As we approached bell hill we were meet with an ordinance of two star trainees waiting to get on or in the water to do their capsize drills, brrrh!. Boats aways and off to Chinos for a well deserved lunch of my favorite dish, potato skins, well deserved after a brisk and breezy 13 mile paddle down the river.
Despite the stormy weather forecast we did well to miss most of the heavy rain.
Thanks to Andrew for organising a great trip.
Daniel Bownds (words and pictures)