September 30 2015, Wey Navigation: Guildford to Catteshall Lock and back
Andrew, Norma, Jill and Stephen 10.5 miles
A autumn round-trip paddle on the Navigation with 3 portages in each direction, an easy launch and Hector’s café at the half-way.
Led by Andrew we launched at the Rowbarge, Riverside, Guildford (off the Woking Road). Paddling from here to the centre of the city past Dapdune Wharf illustrates how important the Navigation once was to commerce. There are wharves and bollards for a couple of miles to Debenhams, some old (and some new) warehousing and the pleasure of sneaking into a busy city by water.
Once through Town Lock the city’s gone in a flash, and we paddled past meadows in perfect autumn weather to St Catherine’s Lock, ‘the shallowest on the navigation’, with a drop of, I reckon, about 3 feet. Then under the railway bridge, on to Peasmarsh Lock and down to Farncombe Boat House for tea at Hector’s. By now a stiff breeze was bending the willows. Ever been hit on the head by a flying acorn? Hurts.
This was Jill’s first paddle away from home and getting in and out of a Cirrus at a high grassy bank is, she found, no easy feat. On a sunny day at the end of summer and with just 40 minutes to go, a brief lapse and she was in the lock waters. But she still finished ahead of us.
We paddled for 3.5 hours with a break at Hector’s. No flow.