Rhododendrons and Angry Swans

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.

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Shepperton to Teddington – NO stream warning -updated

02.06.2014

Yellow stream warning boards are on display at many lock sites in the middle and lower regions of the Thames. Stream conditions remain steady and are expected to decline over the week, although the river remains sensitive to further rainfall.

Occasional isolated showers are expected throughout the weekend.

Environment Agency

Windy Wednesday

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.

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Lee goes under Hampton Court bridge with the setting sun in the distance

 

 

Castles, country houses and paddling doggies – look back to May 2014

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.

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Sneaking into London

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

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Algae update

Algae update – good news. All restrictions lifted! We have now had a second water sample tested by the Environment Agency and this has come back clear of blue green algae so it’s back to business as normal for all on the canal.

However we cannot guarantee that it won’t return so please keep your eyes open and if anyone notices any paint like scums on the water please let us know. We will of course continue to monitor the water over the coming weeks.

Basingstoke Canal Visitor Centre

Basingstoke canal – Blue Green Algae Levels Reducing

Blue Green Algae Levels Reducing

We have been monitoring the blue green algae over the last few days and have noted that it has reduced considerably in density within the water. Unpowered boats are now allowed to use the full canal again. there is however still blue green algae present from Aldershot through to Odiham and everyone should take basic precautions.

General Precautions

Wash hands if you come into contact with canal water.

Canoes and kayaks – do not carry out rolling practice or any activities that will purposely put you under/in the water. If you capsize accidentally try not to swallow water. Shower and wash clothing as soon as possible. The algae can irritate skin particularly if it is trapped between skin and clothing. If you find any green surface scums or swirls of algae keep away from these. Do not use boats that are prone to capsizing until after the algae has gone.

Contact the Canal Centre for further information 01252 370073

The Bells of Ouzely to Bell Hill

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

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DW BBQ

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’!

Trees, weirs and nettles on the River Mole

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.

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Thames back to normal

06.05.14

River flows and levels continue to decrease along the length of the river. The river now has no red boards displayed and many sites now have no stream warnings. The upcoming week is forecast to be fine with occasional showers.

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Basingstoke Canal warning on blue-green algae

Algae update: Hampshire section of the canal now closed to all unpowered boats. The Environment Agency (EA) have now confirmed that the algae is toxic blue-green algae and advised us to close the Hampshire section of the canal (Ash lock to Greywell) to all unpowered boats (canoes, kayaks, rowing boats etc) until further notice.

Blue-Green algae 02.05.14We have received unverified reports of “Blue-Green” algae in the canal between Fleet and Dogmersfield.We have taken samples of the blooms which have been sent to the Environment Agency for expert analysis.

In the meantime we advise that extra precautions are taken while visiting and using the canal, as you and your pets could be at risk.

  • Do not allow your dogs to swim or drink water from the canal.
  • If you come into contact with the algal blooms ensure good hygiene before eating and drinking. Symptoms may include skin rashes, vomiting, fever and joint pains.
  • If you feel unwell or are concerned please contact your doctor.
  • Unwell pets should be taken to a vet as soon as possible.
  • Additional information is available on the Environment Agency website, environment-agency.gov.uk

Weekend roundup

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

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