A Sunday Paddle on the Mighty Thames Newsletter for 14 June 2020

Greetings Fellow CPCC club members and guests.

This is a repeat of the Weekly Mailchimp newsletter.

We are now in out twelveth week of lock down and we are still trying to find ways of getting back out on the water to paddle.
As you already know we have been experimenting with coach and a club member paddles. These have thrown up various issues, but we are coming to terms with how to we can over come them and still operate.

This week the Pier House toilets are open, thanks to Dean and his daughter. So another obstacle overcome, however you still have to supply your own toiletries. 

We are still working within the limitations of the dreaded virus by keeping two metres apart. Thus only two people on the pontoon at the same time, which limits how quickly or not we can launch. Obviously we cannot help with launching, but the coaches will effect a rescue should one occur. 

For those lucky club members our Chair person Sarah Deeks has been sending invitations to come paddle on a Sunday. The setup is different as we have to control the buoyancy aids, paddles and boats such that they aren’t reused within 72hrs (the virus longevity). We are currently working one coach to two club members sometimes fewer, dependent on the number of club members who have pre booked. 

We have had to change our ‘turn up and paddle policy’ so effectively its invite only. Sarah is scheduling departures, to minimize possible contact time on the pontoon. To reiterate it is ‘no longer turn up’ and you can join the club Sunday paddle. It is for Club members to contact Sarah to allocate them their paddling slot. 

We cannot accept Guests at this time – sorry we really would like to, but the limitations caused by the virus means we simply cannot at this time. 

Toilet Block Divider

Thanks to the hard work of Dean, we can now use the two nearest the door toilets. Well done Dean never has so much been done for the relief of others. Sorry to paraphrase a great speech.

Social Distancing And Paddling from our Chairperson

If you are invited to paddle, Sarah Deeks has put a template in the garage

We want anyone using a club boat to fill this in.

– it simply says which boat you took out so that we can be certain no one else has paddled the same boat in the last 72 hours. 

When it comes to any club kit please put used kit (buoyancy aids and spraydecks) as far away from the door lock as possible – that way we will all be using different kit.  When it comes to paddles I would suggest a wash down to be super safe – this is subject to change!

I will be emailing our independent paddles to let them know it is possible to go out. Access key holders are Sarah and Dean.

A New theme to amuse you, based on the theme of where is Wally….!

Do you recognise this bridge? Again no takers for last week’s picture, so an even easier one for this week.

Photo by our own Michelle McCarthy

A lovely picture taken on the foreshore with the caption, New Advertising for the club? I think this one was taken by Young Michelle McCarthy on a previous trip.

Any more imaginative pictures?

Last Weeks paddle was a jolly affair.

Another week and with a little more traffic on the roads it no longer takes 20 mins to get to the club house we are back up to 40+ dependent on which road they have decided to dig up today.
On arrival at the club, a quick change, no kit can be stored in the garage at this time. Say hello to Sarah, John and Elaine, where Sarah explained the placing of the buoyancy aids on the rack. Fresh Buoyancy aids on the upper rack ready for use and the lower rack for used, Note this change of policy!
With that instruction given, it was walk down the bridge to the pontoon. Stop and wait for the previous group to get their boats and put them on the low level pontoon, before I could even approach the floating pontoon. 

With that group launched it was get the open canoes down as quickly as possible without holding the group behind mine up, which happened to be Sarah’s group. With a bit of fuss MJ (my paddling partner) and I launched onto the Thames. Coach David K was already on the water waiting for Sarah’s group. As MJ and I paddled slowly against the ebbing tide Sarah and her party quickly over took us, which pretty much left us on our own. We ambled along the Middlesex bank where it was obvious the number of scullers on the water had increased exponentially. In the majority were single scullers, but there were the occasional double. We thus had to keep a good look out making sure they had seen us.
Even now with various craft taking to the water, not all of them are aware of the local navigation rules on our section of the river Thames. 

We passed many nesting birds showing off their new family, for some they were so tiny it must have been their first dip in the river. There was even a family of swans defending their position against an aggressive dog loose on the river bank. I’m not certain whom would have won the battle, should it have come to that, but mum and dad swan and signets where all safe. The dog was called away by its owner albeit with much shouting. On we paddled against the ebbing tide.

MJ had wanted to stop before Chiswick Bridge, but spurred on by the thought of a toilet stop, we headed on through Chiswick Bridge until stopping at the first university boat club. You can tell how far we had come because several of the earlier club members were already coming back. Of course it was great to see them, but I hadn’t even got started yet.

I did have a lovely chat with a group of lady scullers just setting out. Their boats are so thin and I did ask is this the most unstable moment. Apparently yes it was and we had a laugh about lets not preempt what might or might no happen. Of course the faster they go the more stable they are. Successfully launched the ladies headed off at high speed. With MJ back in her boat, we headed on. Passing and chatting to Belinda on her balcony and then the folks feeding the ducks from their deckchairs at the bottom of their garden.

The flow was much less now and the foreshore reached further out into the river, pushing us out further from the shore line. We paddled further out but just so we could put our paddles into some water depth enough to cover the blade. Down by the refueling platform we met up with Elaine and her paddling partner Safi in their sea kayaks. Photos were taken best wishes were given and taken and so we paddled on. Arriving at Kew Railway bridge we had a decision to make, to go further or turn around and head back. I say this as both MJ and I needed to do some grocery shopping. Surprisingly MJ wanted to go on, so a decision was made to go around the island just after Kew railway Bridge and then head back. I knew we had to get back before 4:30 as the tide would turn, so I was confident we would make it back before that happened.

We had met Julius and party on the way out and now met them on the way back. They decided that a trip to Richmond although very possible would have been hard work so had got to the London Apprentice and ditto decided to get back before the tide turned. Julius and party over took us as we paddled down the middle of the river. On arriving at Chiswick Bridge we moved to the Surrey bank and continued till the crossing point (green buoy) where we crossed over to the Middlesex side to line ourselves up with the historic boats and the get off. On the pontoon, Julius and Party we busy putting their kit away and thus MJ and I put our canoes back on the rack. A quick tidy and change of shoes and it was off to the supermarket which I missed. They were shutting the doors just as I parked up. So there was no sherry in the house that night as we had run out. So ended a lovely day on the river with over an hour to drive home and find a parking space. No problem parking the car a street away isn’t an issue, but carry the bags containing the safety kit I carry, seemed like hard work. In fact the most exercise I had all day.Think positively, things are improving.

Best wishes and keep safe and well


Above we have MJ paddling on her outward leg with Steve and Elaine and Safi on their return leg. Add in a picture of Sarah socially distancing and you can see several groups were out having fun on the river Thames.

Elaine and Safi Explore the over flow from the canal. Sometimes when the tide is right a little surfing can be done. Not recommended for beginners though.

Equipment Required

Liz Dodgson wondered of anyone had a second hand life jacket for sale?
Size 10 /12 or a Ladies Medium

Contact Liz @ www.ATteacher.co.ukLatest Covid news

Do You Have Any Spare Bedlinen?

They are being made into scrubs for the NHS. Details here: https://chiswickcanoeclub.co.uk/2020/06/scrubs-for-the-nhs/

A Message from our Lovely Sunday morning meet and Greeter Sarah Hodgson.

I continue to miss my Sunday morning coffee making at the Pier House. I hope to see you all again soon fit and well.
I look forwards to life after lockdown.
Love to your all.