What a Great Day to Paddle the Mighty River Thames

Sunday paddle with CPCC was another epic affair. Having lead and coached for such a long time, my colleagues and fellow coaches are sharing the load and allowing me the opportunity to paddle as I wish.

This week’s paddle was into the ebbing tide from Chiswick Pier in the direction of Kew Bridge. An easy paddle in variable conditions, rain sunshine and occasionally a degree of wind. Oh! Forgot to mention at one point lack of water!

It was a simple paddle out with a bit of a play at Barnes Railway Bridge, but with not much tide flowing not a lot of fun ferry gliding between the uprights, so on with the paddle towards Kew. I chatted with a few rowers who mostly appeared to grateful to be out on the water in their single sculls. I was warned by one lady rower that beyond Kew Bridge it was quite windy, so I had to go see!

Rather like last week I had expected the club to quickly overtake me, but I think I had such a big start before the rest of the club actually got on the water. I passed Kew Railway Bridge and onto Oliver’s Ait, passing on the Strand on the Green side. Next it was Kew Bridge where a canoeist was paddling with the tide through the navigation arch.

On to Brentford Lower Ait where I took a risk of taking the inside passage. A risk, as I thought it may not be possible to transit during a low tide, which is exactly what happened. In fact an impending black cloud meant donning some rain gear where and in doing so, I lost track of my route and at the same time Coach Elaine from the main club party appeared in her red sea kayak. Apparently the rest of the club were all in the Bulls head rehydrating.

Undeterred, but with a degree of doubt meant it was time to give up on my chosen route on the inside to Brentford lower Ait. A short paddle back to the end of the island and a check on the tide and time and yes I had enough time to get to the entrance to Grand Union Canal before having to head back. So into the wind and tide and after only a short amount of time I was there at the entrance to the Grand Union Canal and time for a well earned cup of tea on a handy river bank.

A short Break ensued on the Bank of the Brentford Upper Ait and watching the rowers go by in the rain. Showers rolled in, so it was pause a few minutes sheltering under some friendly trees whilst the rain passed. Time to head back before the tide turned.

Hoisting the jolly sail and using some cord supplied by Julie, I fashioned a makeshift mainstay traveller, hooked a carabiner to it and with poles set into the sail it was off I go with both the wind and the tide. Should have been a very speed return to the pier, which it was.

I did feel I was inspected by the port of London Authority Boat and did meet up with old friends going in the opposite direction. No time for a barbecue for me, I needed to get back.

It wasn’t a particularity eventful sail back, with the change in river direction so did the wind. As it was a simple light wind all very easy. Arriving back at the pier it was a straightforward get off and dismantle the sailing rig.

Next problem was lifting the Novacraft to sit on top off the two previously stored canoes. Shall we say single handed its hard work, but with a little ingenuity quite straightforward to do.

So ended another splendid day where I could just paddle.

Thanks guys.