A simple Sunday paddle with Hammersmith Bridge closed indefinitely, our only option is to paddle in the Richmond direction. So looking forwards to some tough paddles in that direction for the future.
It was a flood tide as we got on the water, so a float and boat Sunday. Our pod of two MJ and myself bobbled into the middle of the river, leaving a suitably large gap such as the rowers could approach and overtake us. I was paddling on my right had side so I could observe what was happening behind and take appropriate action if required.
We were nearer the Surrey Bank so there was plenty of room for the rowers to pass by. First time I had seen coxed fours out since the lock down started. There were of course plenty of single and double scullers out and about.
We sort of floated with very little effort down to Chiswick Bridge and cross the river there back to the Middlesex bank. We passed Belinda’s river front, but no one was in. Sticking with the Middlesex bank we carried on until passing under Kew railway Bridge where we headed over to the river side of Oliver’s Ait and then back over to the Middlesex bank to pass under Kew Road Bridge. There was a little action at Kew Bridge with three SUP’s heading out. We followed them on the inside of the Brentford Ait’s.
We were on the look out for kingfishers, which I had seen in the past there. Wrong time of day I think so no sign. We paddled on arriving out in the main part of the Thames again for the haul passed Syon Park. It was easy going, so no dramas.
On we paddled, I pausing for a water break at Isleworth (got to keep hydrated in these warm conditions), MJ carried on. I quickly caught her up and I decided it would be good to introduce her to the river Crane.
We headed in but I think MJ was spooked by the thought of being trapped in there by the automatic gates closing, so we turned around and headed once again out in to the Thames. As we popped out we met with a couple of paddle boarders whom we stayed with till the Slug and Lettuce at Richmond.
Having pulled the boats up on the public access way, we found the paddle boarders had beaten us to it. We pulled the boats ashore and tied them up. Whilst MJ sorted food, Fish and Chips and some cider, I simply sat and watched as two groups from Edge paddle into the same landing place.
We then had a couple of deep keeled boats moor up, I guess they were there for a while as they were high and dry by the time we left. There were a many people milling about at Richmond including a group of bikers that arrived in a flurry of noise and exhaust fumes.
We sat and chatted to the Edge group, before it was time for us to leave, not before MJ needed an ice cream. There was much dog frolicking in the water, I guess they needed to cool off. One lady borrowed my paddle to retrieve a ball that her dog couldn’t reach. I’m saying nothing.
I did have a nice chat with the man from Turks shipyard, as I was curious about about whether they ran as far as Westminster. They apparently are only running round trips, however the Thames river boats won’t now be able to run there trips as there is no access through Hammersmith Bridge.
Back on the water and to my surprise the Richmond half lock was still open, so we gratefully paddled through it. The tide had turned and all we had to do was float back to base on a slow ebb tide. We did met a fellow open boater which we doffed hats with as we passed by.
There were no king fishers on this trip, maybe next time, but there were quite a few giant carp dead and floating in the water. There had been a sewage discharge at Hammersmith earlier so maybe that was the cause of their demise. We also noticed a quantity of green algae floating on the surface of the water. Odd to see green algae on a flowing river. Possibly the ecco system had become out of balance due to the additional sewage and the high river water temperature?
We paddled on stopping at Kew Bridge where I was able to get some canoe poleing practice in. It wasn’t long before MJ returned and it was just paddle back to the club house. We did stop by Belinda’s on the way back, her family were on their balcony, so it would seem unfriendly not to stop and say hallo.
On we pressed and it was a simple last section before arriving back at the pontoon. An easy get off at low tide and a quick put of boats away and we were done for the day.
So ends another glorious day on the river Thames and the good news was the thunderstorms and lightening didn’t show up to spoil our day.
See you on the water soon.