Bulls Bridge to Cowley Lock

Life is like a bowl of chocolates you never know what ‘you’re gonna get‘.

The same could be said for The Grand Union Canal. Tuesday morning Peter and myself collected the canoe from Bell Hill and headed back to Southall Common to paddle the next stretch of canal. Travelling through the rush hour traffic made all the more easy knowing we were off to a far better place than our fellow drivers… read Richard’s full report here.

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Annual Club Fun Regatta

The annual club Regatta will be on Saturday 27th September 9:30-12:00 with a BBQ afterwards

It will be a morning of fun races and team events, speed may not help you succeed, it may be down to agility or just having a good head for logic!

Please let Emily know if you think you will be coming to get an idea of numbers or just turn up at the club house on Saturday morning.

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Windsor to Boulters Lock

Saturday afternoon in September, and up and down the river young couples were saying ‘I do’ to their betrotheds, on lush lawns, in marquees or partying along on paddle steamers, everyone seemed to be getting married. Seven Hamptoneers did their best to add a little extra interest in the background of the wedding photographs, floating along the river behind the happy couples saying their vows! Read the full report on the trip reports page

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Bells of Ouzeley to Cuckoo Weir

The planned club trip for the last day of August promised to be a pleasant summer’s day out on one of the mid reaches of the Thames above Old Windsor, and it didn’t disappoint.

Looking out across the water at Bell Hill before we started out we had blue skies and sunshine with only the mandatory light breeze rippling the water.

Seven of us collected boats from the clubhouse and set off to the ‘Bells of Ouzely’ pub and eatery on the bank of the Thames about a mile below Old Windsor lock. Barnet and Daniel, sharing a Canadian and making the overall number up to nine, had set off a little earlier and
were paddling away from the pub as we drove up to unload… read Dave Kew’s complete account by clicking the link on the trip reports page

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Chertsey Bridge to Bell Hill

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After a period of changeable weather we were lucky to have a clear run through with some lovely sunny spells.  Sarah and Stephen organised the trip and were able to find enough roof rack spaces for all those going.  Traffic trouble around Hampton and Walton Bridge were the only irritations of the day.

Arriving at Chertsey Bridge we got ourselves ready to depart and Dan being the scientist that he is was keen to investigate the conditions that had caused Jenny a wet start to her paddle a while back.  Without any other assistance he was able to replicate the situation exactly and take a dip in the cool waters of the Thames.  We then proceeded to paddle smoothly and largely uneventfully over to Shepperton lock where Dan proved that he could still enter his kayak and stay afloat at the designated portage point that seems to have been designated by some lanky fellow who has no trouble reaching down over three feet to get into his boat.  P1000385-w1000-h800Stephen, Mark and myself used the steps and the rest of the party took the sensible step of crossing over to the steps on the opposite bank.

Just below the lock we met up with Christine and later on as we went for out bacon butties met up with more paddlers from the club.  P1000390-w1000-h800Teas and food consumed we nudged the swans and geese out of the way and continued on past the Weir where we were heckled by drunken revellers who had canoed up from a nearby hamlet.

We arrived back at Bell Hill in good time and after cleaning up the kayaks made out way back to Chertsey to pick up cars.

Thanks to Sarah and Stephen for arranging the trip.

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Wildlife and tranquility in the Western Suburbs

Richard had found the perfect parking spot. The Common in Southall. We had the park on one side of us and the Brentford arm of the Grand Union Canal on the other. We put the canoe in  the water and paddled off towards the Bulls Bridge junction. We thought today, Friday the 8th was a good enough day to paddle the Paddington arm of the Grand Union up to Horsenden canoe centre in Perivale (about 6 miles each way, no locks to portage!). At Bulls Bridge the canal splits, the Paddington arm heads north and the Brentford Arm continues to form the main branch of the Grand Union canal all the way to Birmingham… read Peters complete report here.

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Medway Canoe Trail

This is an 18-mile paddle of nine locks and only one portage. Seven locks have canoe passes and one, Hampstead, can be by-passed. The launch and recovery sites are easily accessible, and the trail finishes at Allington with free, hot showers and a café.

Sarah, Mark, Dan and I choose to make the trip with an overnight stop at Hampstead Lock where we camped at Marlin Canoe Club, a secluded patch of grass and shading trees with a view of Yalding Bridge. There is no running water on site, but the river authority has some near-by, and there’s the Anchor – a dismal escapee from the early 70s: terrible food and fouled beer. But who cares? We were hungry and it has a great view of the river…. read Stephens full account from the link on the trip reports page

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9 days 4 hours 50 mins 25 secs

Aidan and Emily arrived at the Dalton Highway bridge yesterday at 2.50 pm (Alaska Time) to complete the Yukon 1000 race. Congratulations to them both on an awesome feat of endurance and perseverance. The ‘Dalton Bridge runners’ and the ‘Be Water My Friend’ teams also finished together later in the evening meaning that all teams are now finished with just one retirement at Dawson by the young crew of the ‘Paddling Madelines’ tandem canoe.

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Yukon 1000 – the end is in sight 30.07 @ 23:00

It is a balmy summers afternoon in Alaska with some sunshine and a temperature of 20degC. Emily and Aidan will soon be able to see the Dalton Highway bridge which marks the finish of the 1000 mile race, some 10km in the distance, After 10 days of racing they must be looking forward to a hot bath and a beer! The ‘Dalton Bridge Runners’ team are now some 50km behind together with the ‘Be Water My Friend’ team (SUP!) Congratulations to them both on completing an inspiring and epic adventure. Next race is 2016…..

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Dalton Highway bridge over the Yukon