The skies didn’t quite looking as welcome as forecast but at least it was dry as a group of 16 paddlers congregated at Bourne End marina to start their excursion back to Bray along the Thames. It was a motley crew with 5 kayakers, 3 canoeists and 8 stand up paddleboarders.
Launching from the bank at Bourne End was interesting as there was quite a drop to get on the water with some making more of a splash than others.
The canoe team headed by John with kids Sam and Dan on hand to paddle from time to time was the support boat carrying the all important pringles, chocolate and water! There were novice SUPers in the group namely Ariane and Claire who proved their mettle by completing the whole paddle despite the occasional cramp in the feet and a dunking in the water near Bray Lock for Claire courtesy of her daughter!
There were power paddlers Ian and Mark who quickly took the lead and who eventually disappeared into the distance as they were under orders from other halves to be back in good time!
This worked out rather well for the rest of the team who were able to take a well earned break on John Lindley’s boat which was moored up in Maidenhead where the hospitality was second to none with Pimms, beers, tea and nibbles – he’s already offered to provide mince pies and mulled wine for the Christmas paddle…
The sun came out as the group passed under Maidenhead bridge and did it get hot then. Ariane who was SUPing was definitely feeling the heat in her wetsuit while kayaker Neil’s choice of hat was very flattering. At this point a bit of a head wind developed which almost stopped everyone in their tracks whilst paddling up from the Waterside Inn towards Bray Lock.
All the locks and weirs were successfully negoitated with short walks to take kit from one side of the river to the next. Finally it was a relatively short paddle from Bray Lock to the entrance of the Cut, the view of the Summerleaze footbridge was most welcome as it meant the end was in sight.
The Cut proved a bit of a challenge as it was an up stream paddle but with the smell of coffee in the air, a last push bought everyone back to the Lake. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the trip and already discussing the next one as well as the Christmas paddle set for December 12th – all paddlers must wear some Tinsel or Baubles to get in the festive spirit. For more photos check out our fanpage on Facebook.
Contributed by: Bray Team