Chris, Stewart and Dave G joined me for a pleasant day's paddle in canoes on the river Arun on Sunday 1st July. The club keeps returning to this river and with good reason. This time we paddled the stretch north of Greatham bridge. The views of the South Downs are perhaps not as good as towards Arundel, but that day the state of the tides were more favourable.
We launched from the (free) public car park immediately next to the bridge about an hour and a half after high water at Littlehampton in order to get assistance from the continuing flood tide as we headed north. A local chap taking his son and Labrador puppy for a boat trip had confirmed that high water at Pulborough is about 4 hours after HW Littlehampton.
The Arun has a lovely natural feel with very few motor boats and reeds along the edge and it lacks the usual litter of drinks bottles and cans that spoils so many English rivers. This is a great trip for bird watching. Our sightings included a kestrel (Stewart informed me that if a bird hovers it's a kestrel), swifts (or swallows?), buzzards, a kingfisher, a cormorant, a sandpiper and of course swans.
Man-made highlights include the beautiful old stone bridge at Stopham. After resisting the temptation of an early lunch at the White Hart at Stopham Bridge we carried on upstream for about half an hour just beyond a beautiful old farmhouse and then retraced our steps and landed by the pub. The White Hart serves well kept local ales and tasty home cooked meals.
After lunch we continued on downstream. We must have had some tidal assistance, but now we were paddling into a fairly strong head wind. Our decision to paddle tandem had been a good one. The total trip distance was 13.5 miles. Amazingly for the summer of 2012 we only had a brief rain shower and the sun shone for much of the day.
Chris's pictures here.