On the 9th Feb, six brave paddlers, Jenny, Tony, Andy, Adam, Charles (trip leader) and myself set-out from HCC for the Basingstoke canal.
The first challenge of the day was getting boats from the club with the river Thames lapping at the door.
Our starting point on the canal was Mytchett, where there’s a changing room and a cafe.
First we paddled down stream towards Deep Cut and Frimley Top Lock #28 where we saw a bobcat or lynx by the river (or just a normal cat) and heard the faint call of a lesser spotted woodpecker (sorry.. I mean a lorry reversing!) where the other five carried on a few hundred yards to lock #27, while I practiced my sculling draw strokes. (Lock #28 is at the top of a flight of 15 locks in the space of a little over 2 miles – great if you need portage practice!)
The canal was very busy with lots of other canoeist in K1’s, K2’s and some sea kayaks.
After returning to Mytchett we paddled up stream towards Great Bottom flash and the Black Water aqueduct, where a giant pike came and pushed me out of my boat into the muddy water (or maybe it was just the wind), as I hit the water I called for help but our great leader was out of earshot and continued on his journey. While I was messing about with my boat, the others continued on toward Ash lock but Adam was nearby and came to my aid.
When the others returned from Ash lock we paddled back to Mytchett were we all had a drink and a snack in the cafe.
The distance we covered was around 10 miles.
Pictures and write up by Daniel Bownds