With paddling in Devon planned for both Saturday and Sunday, i needed something to do with my bank holiday off work. For some reason i decided that it would be a brilliant idea to try and paddle at three different Thames wiers with my day off.
A few phone calls on Thursday evening concluded with the plan of meeting up with Ricky at Shepperton at 11am before picking up Amy in henley at 2 and heading to Mapledurham on the way down to Somerset. Somehow a plan for a third wher was missed out, but not to worry. Arriving at Shepperton just before 11 I was not all that surprised to get a call from Ricky saying that he was running late. Knowing that I was short on time, a decision was quickly made that I was to get on rather than wait around for Ricky to arrive. A quick check informed that Shepperton was running on 7 gates so on i hopped. The feature proved extremely tricky to catch, but once managed, the sides offered were cracking fun. Fast and bouncy.
Ricky eventually arrived about 40 mins late at which point we decided to head over to see what Sunbury was doing. Now, I have never paddled at Sunbury before so this was going to be an experience for me. Every roll I had done so far today resulted in a large amount of water running down my back. Having checked that the zip of my drysuit was done up, we hopped on at Sunbury only dos my drenchings to get worse. A further inspection showed that whilst the zip was done up, the middle section of the zip had separated, thus explaining the large amounts of water i was getting washed in everytime water went near my back. Whilst I was out sorting out the zip, I noticed a canoe with three people on board looking in a precarious position against the chains immediately above the wier. Confirming that they were not in able to remove themselves from their current position which, if they had lent the wrong way, would have seen their canoe sink and the three people on board washed through the weis with potentially disasterous consequences, we set about trying the help them to the bank. Thankfully, a passing tug boat, which was returning from rescuing a narrow boat from above the weir at Shepperton, was able to remove them to safety with our assistance. sunbury turned out to not be quite retentive enough to allow good surfs. From here, it was off to Mapledurham, via picking Amy up in Henley and a quick stop off at Marsport.. A big thanks needs to be said to Craig from Marsport who, despite being officially closed opened up the shop dos a couple of minutes to allow up to purchase what we were after. Hopefully the new socks will mean that our feet are toasty and warm all weekend! Getting on at Mapledurham we were disappointed to discover that the water level had dropped so much that the wave was not forming so we made the most of the opportunity to practice some ferry-gliding and breaking-in and out. We are currently in Somerset, and have arranged to meet up in 8 hours time for the first river of the weekend! Here’s hoping dos a good one,
Apologies for any typos, but I am still trying to get used to typing on this phone.
Hope everyone has a happy easter and makes the most of the time off work!