Andrew (trip leader), Norma, Elizabeth, Trisha, Paul, Michelle, Amanda plus Mark, Peter and Phil.

Last Sunday 11th December was cold and crisp and as the sun was setting a group of Hamptoneers put their boats on roof racks and drove up to Shepperton. A few others decided to paddle upstream to meet up at the launch point.

First problem, getting the tape to stick the lights to the boats to do its job, i.e. stick! With the cooling air a thin film of moisture settled on the boats which required either drying the boat where the light needed to be taped or wrapping the tape right around the boat. Lights in place we headed out onto the water by the lock.

The rowers, cruisers and all other boaters had long ago headed inside to warm up and dry out. Not for The Hamptoneers! We relished the silent, still, inky black waters which were all ours for the evening. The moon and lights from riverside houses and boats gave us just enough light toΒ pick our way around the twists and turns of the loop. A head torch is very reassuring as you can light up trees and bushes to give you a proper sense of what lies beyond the tranquil waters of the Thames. We stuck together , a close knit group, keeping an eye on each other as taking a swim at night and you could quickly be lost in the darkness.

We soon passed under the monstrous new Walton bridge and slipped past the pubs and homes in Walton. The portage at Sunbury lock was tricky as the main pier was just being lapped by water. Back on our home reach and we were in our stride now, ghosting past Sunbury Court island where Mark left us to go straight home we soon had Hampton church in our sights and the welcoming lights of the Bell where we were soon sipping our drinks and tucking into some hot food. A magical evening! (Pictures below by Trisha)

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