CSCC Reports 2009: Thames paddle - Barnes Bridge to Isleworth Ait - April 2009
Bridget, Chris, Kirsten, Richard and Nick had a lovely sunny paddle on the Thames on Saturday 18 April. Setting-off at about 11am, we travelled upstream against the tide but with the wind, passing Kew Gardens and just about catching a glimpse of Syon House. Along the way we saw several herons fishing from the riverbank and spotted their huge nests high up in the tress opposite Kew Gardens.
We reached Old Isleworth at about 1pm and beached the kayaks opposite Isleworth Ait, for a spot of lunch at the London Apprentice. Dating back to Tudor times this is one of London's oldest pubs and was once the favourite haunt of highwaymen like the infamous Dick Turpin.
Leaving with our valuables thankfully intact, we headed back with the tide which was much lower than for our outward paddle. This presented its own set of challenges - namely trying to avoid the large number of rowers and pleasure craft all with their own interpretation of Thames navigation rules!
On the way back, the temptation to add another river to the tally was too much for one intrepid member of the group (me!) who insisted on paddling up the River Brent, which connects the tidal Thames with the former backbone of industrial Britain: the Grand Union Canal. My progress was somewhat hampered by a lack of water, but I did manage to get within a stones throw of Thames Lock. Chalk it up!
The trip was also a chance to try out the latest addition to the CSCC flotilla - a bright yellow sea kayak. Bridget reported that it handled well and offered more legroom than the existing sea kayaks in the club. Form an orderly queue!
Thanks go to Bridget for organising the trip.