Saturday 1st February 2014

Black Boy Bridge to The Anchor at Pyrford Lock and return

I’ve been chosen as official blogger for this weekend’s trip as yesterday was my first official Saturday outing. I’ve been putting it off for months due to the fear of holding other paddlers up and generally being a bit slow and useless.

With 12 people of varying speeds along it was quite a logistical exercise for Phil to manage, but he did an excellent job and everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves including me! We left in a convoy of cars + boats from Bell Hill and drove the short distance to Black Boy Bridge near Weybridge. From there it was a scenic 4 miles along the canal to the Anchor pub where the wise and cold among us stopped for large slices of cake and coffee. The hardier paddlers continued up to Walsham flood gates and back, quite a distance. As my feet had turned to blocks of ice by that point, Andrew very kindly lent me his spray deck for the Tercels which was a revelation, despite having to have several considerate helpers help me to fasten it back on every time we portaged. Chris joined us about half way, as did Charles and Andy who appeared as if from nowhere at a mid-point lock and helped us to carry the boats over a busy road to get in at the other side. Even more unexpected was Dan turning up on his bike to take photos, and he then cycled along with us back to the cars. We also saw our two new members, Will and Sam training for the DW in their K2 having had a little dip in the icy water!

There was some excellent manouvering en route. Tony managed to get around a fallen tree by paddling sideways. Norma executed a text book paddle stop when a gust of wind nearly blew us all into the water. Pete demonstrated how to make sure he always got out of his boat from the right hand side (the left hand side is cursed apparently!).

David K and Jenny win prizes for the nicest boat and kit respectively, unlike one guy we saw who was paddling along in nothing but shorts and a t-shirt- bare feet included. Training for a special no-frills version of the DW?

We were relieved to get back to the cars just before the rain started and were treated to a beautiful double rainbow;

Kathryn Humphrey

Pictures : Phil Tauwhare and Daniel Bownds