Hennerton Backwater & St Patricks Stream

Hennerton Backwater & St Patricks Stream

 

On November 24 at 07-30 in the morning, ten Hamptoneers met at the clubhouse to load canoes and easkys onto cars, our destination? The Thames at Wargrave. It was damp, drizzling and slightly chilly when we arrived in the car park of the George & Dragon pub, our start and finished point.The car park was where myself, Jenny, John, Paul, Michelle, Gavin, Mike, Tamra, Elsa and our trip leader Dan were all meeting James, who arrived soon after us. On the water we all paddled off towards Marsh lock and keeping right we all limbo’ed under and through the very tight arch of a brick-built bridge. This led us nicely onto the Hennerton Backwater. Paddling on we just enjoyed the country side and discussed the size of some of the houses that lined our route and of course chomped on Jenny’s jenny Babies and Paul’s flapjacks.

Turning around at Marsh lock we headed back up the Thames and back pass the George and Dragon.  Shiplake lock was our only portage, where we stopped for five minutes. Then with James seal launching back onto the water we all headed off to Sonning lock. Keeping an eye out for George Clooney’s house we paddle up to the bridge just before the lock and then headed towards St Patricks Stream after giving up on being invited into George’s pad, which we actually failed to see anyway.

The water picked up a bit when we entered the Stream and we were twisting and turning, passing round and under fallen trees. A couple of fishermen got the grumps and a couple seemed fine with the fact that we spoilt their peace and quiet. Towards the end of the stream modern houses stood on stilts and it was damp, drizzly and slightly chilly when we got back to the car park.

With all boats back on cars and Hamptoneers in the George and Dragon, it was time for lunch before heading back to Hampton. Ten’ish miles paddling three different waters with one portage and a good get in.

Thanks to Dan for sorting the trip and everyone else that turned out for a good mornings paddle.

Peter Mc

Lunch at Hector’s on the Wey – Sep 2018

Thursday 27 September 2018.

We had a plan; this was how the plan actually turned out:

Leave the clubhouse at 09:30   We managed that, more or less on time.  At this point we were nine:  Derek, Maxine, Jenny, Maria, Jill, Val and Clive,Tamra and me.

On the water near the Rowbarge and Wey Kayak Club in Guildford around 10:15.  And here were Bernard and Ivy and their canoe, well organised and smiling – we’d not seen them for quite a while.  Nice sunny warm day with a little breeze, and very little flow on the Wey.  Luckily I remembered that, despite everybody seeming to be familiar with this sort of trip, one Improver had joined us, and should be warned to keep clear of the sly sluices.

Paddle upstream about five miles and three portages.  Nice trip, group staying together, helping each other at the portages.

Land by Catteshall Bridge around 12:00 – 12:30, munch lunch at Hector’s.  Here some of us were horribly hectored by Mr Hector, as we had committed the heinous crime of landing by the cafe , not across the canal from the cafe we wanted to get to.  Luckily Clive had arrived early, travelling overland, to warn of our imminent arrival, and gradually we were permitted to leave our boats in a quiet corner, enter the cafe and present our requests for food.  Gradually the atmosphere thawed and we had a pleasant lunch and chat in the garden.  Mr Hector thawed also and gossiped happily to his long-standing customers.

Back on the water around 13:00 – 13:30.  Again, we managed this more or less on time.

Paddle back to the cars, arrive around 15:00 – 15:30.  A nice paddle back, with the amazing novelty of a paddler falling into the water  beyond their kayak.  I’ve seen loads of people fall in between the boat and the land, and I’ve done it myself often enough.  But falling in so the kayak is between the swimmer and the land was absolutely new to me (note to everyone: caution on slippery banks and to also let go of the boat before it takes you with it into the water!)

Andrew Wallace

Winter and Night Paddling

British Summer Time ends on 28 October and already the sun is setting just after 7pm. Wednesday evening club paddles are finishing at dusk will soon cease to begin again next spring.

But don’t despair – Hamptoneers still go out paddling after dark in informal groups and there are some member-led night paddles.

Paddling after dark can be a great experience on a calm night with the reflections of boat and street lights it can be very tranquil. But there are a few precautions needed:

1. Put a white light fore and aft on your boat so that other boats can see you, (put them in a small clear bag if not waterproof). A head torch is also very useful as the light is higher above the water and if you fall in you’re easier to spot.

2. Wear reflective clothing and/or light coloured clothing, reflective strips on your paddle are also good to catch attention.

3. Keep an extra sharp lookout for rowing boats which can be travelling very fast and their light is very low down so not always easy to see.

4. Ideally, go out with a partner so you can keep an eye on each other in case either gets into difficulty.

5. Wear a PFD

In the colder weather
1. If you’re unsure of your abilities paddle with a more experienced member.
2. Wear layers of quick drying clothes, a waterproof top and a warm hat.
3. Carry a change of clothes with you in a dry bag.
4. Consider buying rubber paddling boots and gloves (members have a 15% discount at Whitewater Canoes in Shepperton Marina).
5. Wear a PDF and before setting off check the weather forecast and the river conditions.