Saturday 4th July 2016

8 club members were up for the challenge of this year’s Godalming to Bell Hill marathon paddle: Andrew, Christine, Dan, Derek, Paul, Peter, Phil, and me (Maxine)

Andrew Peter Derek Phil Maxine Sarah Paul

Phil (who only seems able to do trips that are multiples of marathons whether on water or land) not only organised us but brought a big container of the flapjacks that, from previous trip reports, appear to be mandatory for such a long paddle. At the first stop at Guildford they were happily consumed while discussing the generally unsustainable pace that had been set so far. This was the first of many occasions when Christine overtook the rest of us as we stood on the bank.

Christine overtaking us

There wasn’t much flow, although the weather was generally great for a paddle – overcast and not too hot – except for the thunderstorm near Send that drenched us between morning tea and lunch.

The rain

Sarah joined us at the lunch stop at the Anchor at Pyrford, and added some fresh energy to the group for the second half of the trip.

Peter, Derek and Andrew

The paddle had been uneventful (except for the wake from some sprinting paddlers upending Derek) until we got to the last stop at the Walton Cafe and Phil announced that if we went straight back we would be a mile short! Why, oh why, did he decide to actually measure the distance on GPS this year? As psychologically, we didn’t want to go past the clubhouse and back upstream to complete the distance, most of us did a loop of kingfisher and Sunbury Islands to add the extra mile. The lemon drizzle cake waiting in the clubhouse was just the incentive needed for the extra paddling.

I had read all of the previous marathon trip write-ups to get an idea of the type of day I was in for. I was pleasantly surprised that the distance was do-able and once again counted myself lucky that the club has so many friendly people who go out with people who are learning, and provide tips on the water, which enabled me to do a marathon within a year of joining the club.