Hennerton Backwater & St Patricks Stream

On November 24 at 07-30 in the morning, ten Hamptoneers met at the clubhouse to load canoes and easkys onto cars, our destination? The Thames at Wargrave. It was damp, drizzling and slightly chilly when we arrived in the car park of the George & Dragon pub, our start and finished point.The car park was where myself, Jenny, John, Paul, Michelle, Gavin, Mike, Tamra, Elsa and our trip leader Dan were all meeting James, who arrived soon after us. On the water we all paddled off towards Marsh lock and keeping right we all limbo’ed under and through the very tight arch of a brick-built bridge. This led us nicely onto the Hennerton Backwater. Paddling on we just enjoyed the country side and discussed the size of some of the houses that lined our route and of course chomped on Jenny’s jenny Babies and Paul’s flapjacks.

Turning around at Marsh lock we headed back up the Thames and back pass the George and Dragon.  Shiplake lock was our only portage, where we stopped for five minutes. Then with James seal launching back onto the water we all headed off to Sonning lock. Keeping an eye out for George Clooney’s house we paddle up to the bridge just before the lock and then headed towards St Patricks Stream after giving up on being invited into George’s pad, which we actually failed to see anyway.

The water picked up a bit when we entered the Stream and we were twisting and turning, passing round and under fallen trees. A couple of fishermen got the grumps and a couple seemed fine with the fact that we spoilt their peace and quiet. Towards the end of the stream modern houses stood on stilts and it was damp, drizzly and slightly chilly when we got back to the car park.

With all boats back on cars and Hamptoneers in the George and Dragon, it was time for lunch before heading back to Hampton. Ten’ish miles paddling three different waters with one portage and a good get in.

Thanks to Dan for sorting the trip and everyone else that turned out for a good mornings paddle.

Peter Mc

Lunch at Hector’s on the Wey – Sep 2018

Thursday 27 September 2018.

We had a plan; this was how the plan actually turned out:

Leave the clubhouse at 09:30   We managed that, more or less on time.  At this point we were nine:  Derek, Maxine, Jenny, Maria, Jill, Val and Clive,Tamra and me.

On the water near the Rowbarge and Wey Kayak Club in Guildford around 10:15.  And here were Bernard and Ivy and their canoe, well organised and smiling – we’d not seen them for quite a while.  Nice sunny warm day with a little breeze, and very little flow on the Wey.  Luckily I remembered that, despite everybody seeming to be familiar with this sort of trip, one Improver had joined us, and should be warned to keep clear of the sly sluices.

Paddle upstream about five miles and three portages.  Nice trip, group staying together, helping each other at the portages.

Land by Catteshall Bridge around 12:00 – 12:30, munch lunch at Hector’s.  Here some of us were horribly hectored by Mr Hector, as we had committed the heinous crime of landing by the cafe , not across the canal from the cafe we wanted to get to.  Luckily Clive had arrived early, travelling overland, to warn of our imminent arrival, and gradually we were permitted to leave our boats in a quiet corner, enter the cafe and present our requests for food.  Gradually the atmosphere thawed and we had a pleasant lunch and chat in the garden.  Mr Hector thawed also and gossiped happily to his long-standing customers.

Back on the water around 13:00 – 13:30.  Again, we managed this more or less on time.

Paddle back to the cars, arrive around 15:00 – 15:30.  A nice paddle back, with the amazing novelty of a paddler falling into the water  beyond their kayak.  I’ve seen loads of people fall in between the boat and the land, and I’ve done it myself often enough.  But falling in so the kayak is between the swimmer and the land was absolutely new to me (note to everyone: caution on slippery banks and to also let go of the boat before it takes you with it into the water!)

Andrew Wallace

Winter and Night Paddling

British Summer Time ends on 28 October and already the sun is setting just after 7pm. Wednesday evening club paddles are finishing at dusk will soon cease to begin again next spring.

But don’t despair – Hamptoneers still go out paddling after dark in informal groups and there are some member-led night paddles.

Paddling after dark can be a great experience on a calm night with the reflections of boat and street lights it can be very tranquil. But there are a few precautions needed:

1. Put a white light fore and aft on your boat so that other boats can see you, (put them in a small clear bag if not waterproof). A head torch is also very useful as the light is higher above the water and if you fall in you’re easier to spot.

2. Wear reflective clothing and/or light coloured clothing, reflective strips on your paddle are also good to catch attention.

3. Keep an extra sharp lookout for rowing boats which can be travelling very fast and their light is very low down so not always easy to see.

4. Ideally, go out with a partner so you can keep an eye on each other in case either gets into difficulty.

5. Wear a PFD

In the colder weather
1. If you’re unsure of your abilities paddle with a more experienced member.
2. Wear layers of quick drying clothes, a waterproof top and a warm hat.
3. Carry a change of clothes with you in a dry bag.
4. Consider buying rubber paddling boots and gloves (members have a 15% discount at Whitewater Canoes in Shepperton Marina).
5. Wear a PDF and before setting off check the weather forecast and the river conditions.

Hamptoneers Train with the ‘Blue Light’ Services

HAMPTONEERS TRAIN WITH THE ‘BLUE  LIGHT’ RESCUE SERVICES 

(and so make paddling a bit safer for all local paddlers)

Dan shows how to rescue a canoe

One Monday evening in June, eight excellent Hamptoneers paddled into Shepperton Marina, right round to the back where White Water The Canoe Centre has its base.  There they met two lifeboats from Surrey Fire & Rescue, who are based in Walton.

Two days later, the same excellent paddlers drove into a modern property development just downstream of Teddington Lock, where Teddington RNLI station is based.

On both evenings, the agenda was the same:  to provide the rescuers with experience and hints on how to rescue paddlers, kayaks and canoes; and to provide the paddlers with a greater understanding of how rescuers are likely to approach rescuing a paddler or their boat.  Our written plan is HERE   We’d done much the same with the RNLI back in November.

Surrey Fire & Rescue came with two different boats and a total of seven crew.  The RNLI had two identical boats, 13 crew and 3 helms, with a wide range of experience.  And along with the RNLI came two volunteers from the Duke of Edinburgh’s award scheme, trying to capture in writing what was being taught, so that the RNLI would have a permanent record of the training.

To start each evening, after introductions, Derek explained the features of our boats.  We had deliberately brought a wide range of club boats:  a canoe, a Cirrus K1, the Rorqual K2, a Scorpio sea kayak and the Ethos whitewater kayak.  He showed them the flotation, deck lines, toggles – handily available on some boats and not others.  And the first lesson in How To Empty a K1 was delivered.

Peter Loy then convincingly proved we’re not totally helpless:  he demonstrated rolling a sea kayak; a deep water rescue, sea kayak to sea kayak; and being rescued using the ‘Hand of God’ rescue.

On to the water:  Maxine, Dan, Andy and Jenny kept one boatload of rescuers busy with boats to empty.  And they were busy themselves, bringing out each boat, flooding it, providing hints on how to approach the problem, then taking the boat, wet but empty, back to the bank.

Meanwhile the other boatload of rescuers was occupied with recuing paddlers, who were feigning being ill or injured while sat in their boats.  Peter in a white water boat turned out to be easy to rescue:  they just grabbed the front handle and pulled him straight on to the lifeboat!  Paul was rescued from a sea kayak with a keyhole cockpit, as well as intentionally falling into the water and needing to be pulled out.

Last of all, the evening’s tough guy:  Michele, sitting in her sea kayak with its tiny ‘ocean’ cockpit, capsized and waited patiently upside down while the rescuers brought her back to the surface so she could resume breathing.  Then they extricated her onto the lifeboat.

The rescuers were very pleased with the evenings.  Surrey Fire & Rescue said “The watch were all very complimentary about the event itself and the members of the club. Please thank them all on our behalf for giving up their time and expertise so readily.”

RNLI said “Thanks so much yet again to you and your marvellous club-mates for a brilliant session last night.  Everyone enjoyed it and found it very informative and useful, especially our newer crew, many of whom were there.”  The RNLI issued a press release

Meanwhile I am writing an article for The Paddler ezine, hoping that other canoe clubs might read it and develop a habit of training with their local rescue services.  That would help make paddling a little bit safer.  And I am being asked “When shall we do it again?”

Rescue services Joint Training Plans – session plan (word document)

Andrew Wallace – June 2018

Hamptoneers taking part : Derek Heath, Michele Springall, Peter Loy, Paul Scott, Maxine Nelson, Dan Bownds, Jenny John Chuan and Andy Garbett

 

Christmas Lights Paddle

A large group of Hamptoneers decorated their canoes and kayaks to form a psychedlic travelling light-show for the traditional paddle down to Ye Olde Swan at Thames Ditton last Wednesday evening.

Paul Scott turned his canoe into a floating Xmas tree and was awarded the prestigious

‘Best Decorated Xmas Boat 2017’ 

RNLI training sessions with HCC

November 2017

Hampton CC has just had two excellent training sessions with Teddington RNLI.  In the past they’ve dealt with incidents with kayaks, so they were very receptive when approached with the idea of joint training.

 RNLI comes to Hampton

First of all, the RNLI came to Hampton, for a joint session with, and at, Hampton Sailing Club.  The RNLI told us that their patch includes tidal and non-tidal Thames from Richmond past Teddington to Molesey.  The crew are all volunteers living near the lock, 23 good souls in all, and they have two D Class lifeboats there.  They showed us how they react to a shout: they’re afloat within three minutes, which I think is amazing; and they get through Teddingon lock in one minute and forty seconds, which is astounding.  They shared with us sound wisdom about cold water, life jackets, etc.  23 Hamptoneers attended, together with 16 sailors and 7 from the RNLI.  Jenny organised a wonderful lunch for us all afterwards.

 

HCC goes to Teddington

 

The following weekend, which was last weekend, we went to their base on the ground floor of a modern block of flats near The Wharf restaurant just downstream of Teddington Lock.  In all we were nine, coaches or experienced paddlers.  We had given some thought to what we could do with the RNLI that would be worthwhile for them, so we planned the afternoon in three parts:

  • land-based briefing from Derek Heath and Mark Lewis:  they explained the features of our various boats, and how those differences impact rescues (we showed them a canoe, a WW boat, an open cockpit K1 and a sea kayak).  Then Derek and I demonstrated some of our rescue techniques, so they wouldn’t think we were completely clueless !
  • on the water, the RNLI rescued the various boats we’d brought. Peter Loy, Richard Fisher and Andy Garbett were on hand to flood the boats, and to explain and encourage effective rescues.  The open cockpit Cirrus was the most difficult to rescue, as you’d expect.
  • on the water, the RNLI rescued Mike Channon from his WW boat, Michele Springall from her sea kayak or Morten Lunde from his Nordkapp sea kayak with a tiny ocean cockpit (that wasn’t easy).  And they tried Hand of God rescues, plucking the ever-grateful Morten from his capsize.  Monitoring us all, ensuring that the RNLI didn’t run out of things to do, and taking the photos, was Charles Taylor.Over the course of the afternoon we trained with 15 of their crew (ie four boat crews), and they were grateful and appreciative, and were speaking of a continuing relationship, with another session envisaged for the spring.  What’s more, they’re setting up a similar session with another local club, Royal CC (we wouldn’t mind showing Royal how things should be done !!).

And what did the RNLI think of it all? Here is what their training co-ordinator said:

“I wanted to say, for myself and on behalf of all my crew who attended on Sunday 19, how truly fantastic you and your fellow paddlers were! We were all amazed and not a little humbled by the enthusiasm, expertise, hardiness (Morten may just win man of the match on that one), and sheer love of your sport that you all showed. My crew absolutely loved it and were still talking about the afternoon throughout our training on Tuesday – I think some are even keen on having a go themselves, inspired by you guys, and Hampton CC would be a natural port of first call for that after all we have seen.

“We have all learned some great lessons which will hopefully make us more effective, and the river a safer place for paddlers.
“As I said, should you wish us to lay on a station visit for families, particularly younger folk, we would be delighted to do so, and we are also very keen on a joint exercise in the spring.”
Andrew Wallace
You can see lots more pictures here

Leaves, weeds and portages

Saturday 18th November 2017

Mytchett to New Haw  –  Basingstoke canal

There are 28 locks on this 14 mile stretch of the canal so I was not that surprised that only two other Hamptoneers signed up for the trip of a lifetime! Paul who has not missed a trip since he joined the club and Jenny who is always up for a paddling challenge.

It was a grey, cloudy day but the main colour along the canal was the golden tinge of the Autumn leaves forming a carpet on the canal and blowing off the trees which line the canal from start to finish. There was no other boat traffic once we had left the top Mytchett pound and started descending the locks, just a few dog walkers, hikers and bikers along the towpath.

As the locks progressed we honed our portage routine to be able to hop out of our boats, haul them out of the water onto one shoulder, trot along to the lower end of the lock, drop boat in water and get paddling again to less than 60 seconds. This meant that before long we reached the end of the Frimley flight of 14 locks and got a paddle of about a mile on the pound to the top of the Brookwood lock flight. This is just three locks in quick succession before another nice 2 miles of paddling to the…. dry section of the canal.

In some lock pounds water had leaked out lowering the water level by a couple of feet which made getting out at the portage quite tricky and meant lying down on the river bank to reach down and retrieve your kayak.

We had been forewarned that locks 11 to 7 were being repaired and this section of canal would be ‘de-watered’. We had some food and water and then hoiked our kayaks onto our shoulders for the half mile walk to the next stretch of water. We stopped occcasionally to move the kayak from one shoulder to the other and before long reached the pound above the Goldsworth top lock (#11).

5 minutes later we paddled up to the Bridge Barn pub, a modern Beefeater place meant to look like an old barn. The lunchtime menu had a range of dishes for a fiver which were just what we needed in the middle of a long paddle, with 6 miles and 6 locks still to go you don’t want too large a lunch!

After lunch we had our longest uninterrupted paddle of 3.2 miles so with Paul powering ahead as leaf clearer fuelled by his gammon steak and chip lunch we were soon at the top of the final flight of locks (#6).

The Woodham lock flight is spread over one mile and before we knew it we had reached the apocryphal lock number ONE! Just an easy mile left down to New Haw, turning left onto the Wey navigation under the M25 bridge.

Boats were soon on the roof rack for the quick drive back to Mytchett to collect cars and return to the club house to clean down the boats which were plastered with leaves, twigs and various detritus from the canal.

We all agreed it was a very enjoyable if exhausting day out, next year anyone?

Phil Tauwhare

Basingstoke Canal distances and facilities
Parking Locks Miles
New Haw – Wey Easy above lock 0.7
Woodham Junction 0 0.0
Woodham bottom lock 1 0.3
Woodham lock #2 2 0.7
Woodham lock #3 3 1.2
Woodham lock #4 4 1.3
Woodham lock #5 5 1.5
Woodham top lock #6 6 1.6
Bridge Barn Pub Pub car park 4.8
Goldsworth bottom lock 7 5.3
Goldsworth lock #8 8 5.4
Goldsworth lock #9 9 5.6
Goldsworth lock #10 10 5.7
Goldsworth top lock #11 11 5.8
Brookwood bottom lock #12 12 7.4
Brookwood lock #13 13 7.5
Brookwood top lock #14 14 7.6
Frimley bottom lock #15 15 8.5
Frimley lock #16 16 8.8
Frimley lock #17 17 8.9
Frimley lock #18 18 9.1
Frimley lock #19 19 9.3
Frimley lock #20 20 9.5
Frimley lock #21 21 9.6
Frimley lock #22 22 9.7
Frimley lock #23 23 9.8
Frimley lock #24 24 10.0
Frimley lock #25 25 10.1
Frimley lock #26 26 10.3
Frimley lock #27 27 10.4
Frimley top lock #28 28 10.7
Mytchett Car park / café/ toilets 13.1
Ash Vale Station car park 14.2
Ash lock #29 29 16.4
Wharf bridge, Aldershot Car park 17.8
Eelmoor bridge Street parking 19.2
Pondtail Bridge Street parking 20.7
Reading Rd Car park 21.7
Fox and Hounds Pub Pub + street parking 22.3
Crookham Wharf Car park 23.8
Barley Mow Public car park 26.3
Colt Hill Bridge / Waterwitch Public car park 28.9
N Warnborough lift bridge Some parking 30.3
Odiham Castle 30.5
Whitewater winding hole 30.6
Greywell Tunnel 31.2

Autumn clean-up – many thanks to all who helped out

Last Sunday 29 October, a sturdy crew of HCC members turned up for the autumn clean-up. Some might suggest they were enticed by the offer of biscuits, but I’m sure it was pure dedication to the cause…

At 10am Jenny had upped the game by producing an array of delicious Paninis for the early volunteers – you know your Club is in Surrey when you are given the option of hummus and peppers. What a way to kick off our chores!

Dan and I had compiled a ruthless task list so I set people to work, and very soon we had a truck full of rubbish to go to the tip. We moved a lot of items to the toilet block as they are infrequently used, so now we have a much clearer, open space in the Clubhouse which will mean manoeuvring boats will be much easier.

A big thank you to:
• Ashley
• Frank
• Jenny
• John T
• Norma
• Paul D
• Peter McB
• Peter L
• Val
• With special mention to Richard Fisher for putting up the towel rail in the toilet block – who’d have thought it would make such an impact!

Thanks in advance to Leon and Andrew, who will be chopping back some of the vegetation at a later date.

Anne-Lise