Henley to Cookham November 5

There were nine Hamptoneers standing at the bottom of Mill Lane in Henley at around 10-30 Saturday morning November 5. Myself, Sarah, Maxine, Amanda, Charles, Paul, Tamra, Stephen and our trip leader Andrew. It had taken us about 50 minutes to travel from Bell Hill and it was cold and blowy. After an in depth discussion on what we were all wearing to keep warm, we picked up our kayaks and wrapped in hats, gloves, body warmers, cags and spray decks we walk the short walk to our get in point.

Once we were all on the water and comfortable and with the early morning sun on our backs, we put our paddles into the Thames and headed off. Henley Regatta was getting under way, so staying on the left we paddled towards Hambledon Lock. Grand houses gave way to open countryside and mixed with the beautiful colours that the trees were showing off, it promised to be a pleasant days paddling.

Portaging at Hambledon Lock was an excuse for some to remove a layer or two, to munch on a snack or to open a flask of coffee. Back on the water and it was back to admiring the landscape, hilly in parts and flat in others as we snaked our way down the Thames. Passing the Flower Pot Hotel on our left we headed towards Hurley lock at a steady pace.

Another easy portage at Hurley and a unanimous decision for lunch. We nine snuggled onto two benches. Sandwiches, coffee and all sorts of goodies were consumed as we chatted or just enjoyed the peace and quiet of being by the water. Back on the water and before we knew it Temple Lock was upon us.
Leaving Bisham behind us we continued forward. Passing under Marlow bridge where the 18th century Compleat Angler Hotel stands on our right we reach our fourth and finale portage of the day. About another four miles of paddling took us past Cock Marsh on our left and Bourne End to our right and before we knew it we had reached our finale destination. Climbing out of our kayaks we found ourselves standing at the bottom of Berries Lane in Cookham.

Leaving our kayaks on the grass Andrew drove some of us back to Henley to collect cars while the others warmed up in the Crown pub which sits at the top of Berries Lane.

A pleasant paddle down a lovely part of the Thames. Thanks to Andrew for organising it, thanks to everybody else for an enjoyable day.

Peter McBride