This years Wey Navigation Marathon challenge will take place on Saturday 11th August 2018
Please read and digest the portage notes I have added to the lock distance table on the 2014 trip account if you are taking part in the Challenge. These also highlight the main potential hazards such as weirs and road crossings.
Map showing route from Godalming to Hampton
It has become a club tradition to paddle the 26.2 miles from Godalming Town bridge back to the club at Bell Hill each summer. We paddle the entire length of the Wey Navigation, the Desborough loop and the Thames back to Hampton, 15 portages in total. This is a demanding challenge but we go at a measured pace with stops for coffee at the New Inn in Send and a lunch break at The Anchor in Pyrford. We also stop at the Walton bridge cafe for an afternoon tea break for further refreshments. These breaks give everybody a chance for a rest, food and drink, refilling of water bottles and of course there are toilets at all these locations.
To enjoy this trip and make it to Bell Hill you need to be reasonably fit and to have recently done a few kayak trips of 10 miles+. (i.e. the loop) On the day, you also need to ensure that you keep well hydrated and fed to maintain your energy levels.
Last year we managed to all get a lift to the start and hopefully we can repeat this with friends/family shuttling us to the launch point.
There is an option to join the trip at The Anchor at Pyrford, which is 12.5 miles back to the club, if lifts/shuttle can be organised. The marathon paddlers will be at the Anchor about 1pm for their lunch stop.
The schedule will be something like this but depends a lot on how much flow there is which can vary from plenty (see 2014 link below) to none at all! A nice south westerly breeze also helps! (Last year we managed quite a consistent 5 mph which is very good with all the portages)
07:45 : Trip briefing for all marathon participants at the club house covering the mornings route.
08:00 : Depart Bell Hill, 45 minute drive to Godalming via A3.
09:15: (or earlier ) Launch from the end of the car park at Godalming United Church, GU7 3DU, beside the bridge. There are toilets in the church – just ask any churchgoer nicely. We will stagger the start so that slower people can start earlier and also so that people are not all bunched up at each portage as this slows down the trip considerably.
10:15 : 3.7 miles : 3 portages : Mill Mead Lock #4
11:30 : 10.5 miles : 7 portages : New Inn @ Send – 15 min coffee break
13:00 : 13.7 miles (over half-way) : 10 portages : The Anchor @ Pyrford – 45 min lunch break including trip briefing for all trip participants on the route for the afternoon.
13:45 Depart The Anchor
15:00 18.3 miles : 12 portages : Thames Lock #16 – regroup before The Thames. Go through the gate into the rowing club for launch onto the Thames.
16:00 22 miles : 14 portages : Walton Bridge via the loop, quick coffee break
17:00 26.2 miles : 15 portages : arrival at Bell Hill!
2016 trip report by Maxine Nelson
2015 trip report by Andy Garbett
2014 trip report by Dave Kew and Phil Tauwhare with distance table and portage notes (NEW)
Note : fast kayakers you meet going upstream on the Wey often hug either bank meaning the safest route going downstream (towards the Thames) can be to stay in the middle of the canal. All other boats follow the standard navigation rule of ‘keep right’.