CSCC Reports 2009: Thames Source to Sea - Gravesend to Hole Haven - April 2009

Chris, Dan Jones, Bridget, Claire, Caroline, Marc, Hilary and Tim got on the water at Gravesend Rowing Club at high water as planned. The weather was perfect – sun, blue sky with cotton wool clouds, and a pleasantly cooling breeze.

Tim was in his beautiful Tahe Greenlander. 

We soon left the moored boats and barges, wharves and jetties of Gravesend’s riverside behind us as we paddled along the Kent shoreline beside the Saxon Shore Way. To our right were the low lying marshes of the Hoo Peninsula. We passed occasional buoys and jetties and Shornmead and Cliffe Forts on the Kent side and Coalhouse Fort on the Essex side.

Caroline drew blood when she caught her hand on the skeg cleat on the new Valley sea kayak. Bridget produced the first aid kit and a roll of Duck Tape to dress the injury and we were on our way again in a few minutes. 

As we rounded Lower Hope Point, where the estuary turns to the East, we encountered a noticeable swell. At this point there was in fact no land between our position and Belgium and as we entered the “Sea Reach” it felt much more like being on the sea than on a river.

As we were about to cross the shipping channel to arrive at Hole Haven we had to wait for a tug to pass, which it did at speed churning up a massive wash. The delay caused us to lose some ground and a fairly energetic ferry glide was needed to overcome the tidal stream flowing out of Hole Haven Creek as well as that of the main channel.

The trip covered 9.74 land miles in about two hours.

After loading the boats we repaired to the adjacent “Lobster Smack” pub which has the reputation of providing the best beer and food in the area. Unfortunately they had no free tables in the restaurant but we were able to get something to eat in the “King Canute” at the other end of Haven Road.

Special thanks to Laura for helping with the shuttle.

Get in: Gravesend Rowing Club TQ 653 744  postcode DA12 2BS
Get out: Holehaven Point TQ 773 823  postcode SS8 0NR

Port Control: call sign “London VTS” VHF Channel 68
telephone 01474562215

The "Lobster Smack"
telephone 01268 660021

Chris's photos
Hils' photos
Bridget's photos