Monday, November 17, 2014

Sea kayaking in London

Over the last few years it has become a bit of a tradition that in the autumn members of the Jersey Canoe Club spend a weekend in the capital city paddling in the company of the members of Tower Hamlets Canoe Club.  Normally we do a full day trip on the Saturday upstream to just beyond Westminster whilst on the Sunday its a slightly shorter paddle downstream to Greenwich or slightly beyond.
Last year as we sat in the Prospect of Whitby celebrating another successful weekend we decided to do something slightly different and a year on the plan cam to fruition.  So late Saturday morning a flotilla of 21 paddlers set off from Shadwell Basin Outdoor Centre in search of excitement and a good night out in Richmond.
The 16 nautical miles of paddling took us through the heart of one of the world's great cities, allowing  unusual perspectives of familiar landmarks but sadly not with the assistance of several knots of tidal flow.  For some reason there seemed to be almost no movement upstream so the 16 miles took over 5 hours including a short stop just upstream of Putney.
It had been arranged to us to stop at Richmond Canoe Club, which we managed to discover in the dark before we headed out to Pizza Express, a great way to finish the day.
 Just outside the Prospect of Whitby near Shadwell Basin.  A historic riverside pub which surprisingly has been the location where a number of future kayaking adventures by the Jersey Canoe Club have been planned.
Preparing to launch from Shadwell Basin.  Sarah discussing with her cousin Toby whether she had made a mistake in agreeing to go kayaking with her dad for the weekend.
Approaching Tower Bridge, it doesn't matter how many times I paddle along this stretch of water it is always exciting.
 The section of river between Tower and Westminster Bridges is always the busiest with river traffic.  Once past the Houses of Parliament it is easier to relax when on the water.
 Battersea Power Station.  It was a relief that there was no wind on the river because we weren't receiving any assistance at all from the tidal flow.  It just didn't appear on Saturday for some reason.
A stretch of legs and a quick snack at Putney.  It also gave us time to fix the white lights onto the kayaks because daylight was fading fast and we still had a couple of hours of paddling left.
 Lovely paddling conditions on the Thames.  We reached Richmond Canoe Club just over 5 hours and 16 miles paddling after we had left Shadwell Basin having passed through the heart of one of the worlds great cities and the great thing is that we had to do it all again tomorrow, in the opposite direction.

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