Club Trip, 31 May 2014, Colt Hill to Mytchett
Saturday 31st May’s club trip was slated as a slightly longer than usual paddle on the Basingstoke canal, from Colt Hill near Odiham, sixteen miles to the visitor centre at Mytchett. Organised and led by Phil, those joining the party on this historic waterway were Christine, Amanda, Adam, Daniel and your scribe, Dave. Sixteen miles is well beyond my comfort zone, but as the weather forecast predicted a bright sunny day and more importantly, no wind to speak of, the trip seemed to offer a pleasant, if exhausting day out. With this in mind, personal preparation for the trip to prevent a poor performance consisted mainly of ‘carb’ loading with a Spag-Bog the evening before, followed by porridge in the morning and going equipped with chocolate Wagon-Wheels and litres of Lucozade on the day… read Dave’s full account by clicking on the link on the trip report page.
Adam manged to stay dry even though he took a slightly more wobbly boat out – a Tor.
Jenny and Tony got some practice and instruction in Andrews sea kayaks in preparation for their 3* sea kayaking course.
Phil, Lee and Dave headed swiftly downstream into wind, past Hampton Court, Ye Olde Swan at Thames Ditton island to Ravens Ait where a quick 180 degree turn was made. The wind apparently seemed to die as it was now on our backs but the current meant solid, steady paddling was required to get back to the club just as the church clock chimed 8 o’clock.
Lee goes under Hampton Court bridge with the setting sun in the distance
Six intrepid Hamptoneers (Ivy, Bernard, Dan, Jenny, Barnet and Phil) set off at sunrise on Sunday morning for the drive up the M40 to Leamington Spa and the start of the 18 mile ‘Doggy Paddle’ to Stratford-upon-Avon. A loose plan to ‘stick together as the HCC team soon came apart at the first portage as the throttle on one canoe got stuck on ‘full-ahead’! It was hot and sunny as we paddled beneath the mighty walls of Warwick castle with its huge trebuchet ready to repel all attackers. Heading south west we slipped past the picturesque gardens of Charlecote manor through the lush green Warwickshire countryside. All six of us made it to the gardens opposite the theatre in Stratford for our pictures with the guide dogs and to collect our certificates . Stratford was very busy as it was a rare sunny, hot day and every man, woman, child and dog were either sunning themselves on the grass or just ‘messing about in boats’. See Jenny’s account and photos here.
Thursday morning 8th May, it was pouring down. Dark and heavy clouds dropping rain, and lots of it. Not only that, it was blowing, not quite a gale but strong enough. So there was really only one thing to do. I grabbed my phone and called Richard. Within an hour and a half we had picked up a double canoe from the club and we were lowering it onto the water on the Paddington arm of the Grand Union Canal … read Pete’s full account here.
See Little Venice trip info here
Emily and Richard demonstrate capsizing a canoe
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 from Old Windsor to Bell Hill…. read Dan’s full account by clicking on the link on the trip report page
DW competitors past and present (Andrew & Barnet, Emily & Aidan, Will & Sam) congregated at the club last Wednesday to exchange tales of the gruelling 125 mile canoe race from Devizes to Westminster.
A goodly number of club members joined them for the BBQ and were obviously sufficiently inspired (or was it the beer) to announce their intentions to race in the 2015 race which starts on 3rd April. I will leave it to those people to formally announce that they are entering the race! To follow the burgers and steaks Babs had cooked a delicious rhubarb crumble or there was also cheese cake for desert.
Its a terrible cliche but I will use it anyway, ‘A good time was had by all’!
Dan, Jenny, Barnet, Mark and Phil had an exciting day out last Saturday on their continuing exploration of the river Mole, this time doing the Leatherhead to Cobham stretch. There are lots of pictures (some might say – too many!) which you can access from the link on the trip report page.
It was another busy weekend down at the club:-
Adam took a group upstream to Walton Bridge
The trip went well; we had 8 paddlers in total. There was a last minute change to the scheduled tour, so we paddled from the club to Walton Bridge. Although the weather was better than forecast, the flow had really picked up, after last weeks rain, and the portage at Sunbury Lock was flooded, so we had to portage down stream of the lock and walk. After a welcome stop at the cafe at Walton for bacon butties, we returned to the club (slightly faster on the way back).
Emily held a one star course over the Saturday and Sunday
4 people successfully passed and now have their 1* BCU qualification, all expressed interest in joining the club.
Dan led a small group on the River Mole.
Phil, Dan, jenny and Tony took the two canadian canoes for a trip on the Mole. See the pictures here