Given the tide was ebbing until ~12.30 our original plan was to go to Hammersmith bridge and return with the tide. However we were warned of a sculling race that would be starting at Hammersmith at 2pm so, fearing there may be lots of folk at the pubs by Hammersmith, we changed plan to aim for the Black Lion Pub in Chiswick instead as it has a large outdoor area. David Cleverly and I teamed up as I didn’t know where to find the Black Lion from the river!
We headed upriver against the tide initially to get a bit of a paddle in before turning after Barnes Bridge and returning to the Black Lion.
As we made our way towards the shallows downriver of Barnes Bridge to make our way through its middlesex arch, there was a great lesson in the power of the Thames flow. The ebbing water flow pushes out the bows of boats going round the bend, which can quickly result in finding yourself in the middle of the fairway, and we saw this happening to some boats ahead of us. By pointing our boats slightly in towards the shore and being prepared to take sweep strokes if necessary as we went past the shallows meant our group negotiated this with no problems. The value of “reading future water” and local knowledge!
With the fast flowing water now in our favour we quickly came past Chiswick Eyot and David pointed out the steps that go up to the Black Lion. I had never noticed them before! We were a bit early, and with a calm area of water just by the steps, we did some skills development. Playing with forward and reverse sweep strokes, and draw strokes – trying out how varying body, boat and blade position can make the strokes more efficient.
It was then an easy paddle back to the club, a ferry glide across to the pontoon and with everyone’s help the boats were soon put away.
Another lovely day on the river with a great team! Elaine and David