Hmmm… 3 days off work, with a wedding (a long way Up North) on the Sunday.
For quite a while Martyn and I had been working out how we can combine the wedding with a paddling weekend. In the weeks leading up to the wedding, water levels were not looking good if we wanted to hit any rivers so we decided on a Wedding/Hurely sandwich. This was paddle at Hurley on the Saturday, go the wedding on the Sunday, and then paddle Hurley again on the Monday evening.
Having finally decided on an 11am meet on Saturday, I set off on a mission of going to Whitewater the canoe centre in Shepperton to get a new spraydeck and footrest. From here it was a quick visit to Woking to collect a pair of paddles which were lost on the club Devon weekend back in February from someone who found them a couple of weeks after we lost them! Many thanks if you are reading this; hope to see you on the river sometime – we owe you some beers! With the paddles in the car, it was time to head across to Hurley to meet Martyn.
Getting on, we were greated with an almost empty eddy and three gates. What was going on? We had both expected it to be heaving, what with it being a bank holiday weekend and some mighty-fine weather. It was not long until we had the weir entirely to ourselves 🙂 It was during a quick break on the bank that Martyn jokingly said that it was almost be an insult to leave the weir, in such good condition, if there were no other paddlers to take over from us. This ‘joke’ soon become a rule, and despite our tiredness and need for food, we were not allowed to leave! Thankfully a couple of other paddlers turned up after we had been on the water for a couple of hours, meaning that we were able to go in hunt of food. A couple of hours is the length of a normal session, but with no-one else there to queue up and allow you to catch a breather, a couple of hours felt like much much longer!
Feeling better following a ‘healthy’ pub lunch, we got back on the water to discover that in our absence the lock keeper had made an appearance and dropped it down to two gates. It was still a really nice feature, and the second gate was allowing some really enjoyable rides.
Sunday we headed North to help the new Mr and Mrss Birkett celebrate their big day – and boy did we celebrate. I don’t think I have ever had such a bad hangover as the one I ‘enjoyed’ the following day. I put it down to still drinking champagne with fruit shots in at half-past three in the morning! This lead to a very slow and sore morning before heading back south again. On the drive home I managed to pursuade Martyn that, despite us both feeling rough, we should pay a visit to Hurley that evening.
Still feeling rough as I drove to Hurley, a quick roll in the refreshing water yet again proved to myself that there is no better hangover cure. We managed about a 90 minute 2-gate session before were both completely knackered. It was great level that allowed for some nice long rides.
What an end to an amazing weekend!