Sunday 15th September 2013
Chelmsford to Hoe Mill
The weather forecast for Sunday was low pressure coming into our region bringing high winds and rain!!
However it turned out that the wind was at our backs and we only saw a light shower towards the end of the paddle.
There were 13 of us at the start at Wharf Road. The paddle had been circulated to many local clubs but only 4 non Bramston members turned out. One of those was Clive. Many were in open boats, including Barry with his black sail!
The first problem was that apparently the lock gates had been opened, and left open and there was not much water to launch into at Wharf Road. The rollers we normally use to seal launch went straight into mud, the open boats were able to set off from there but those in kayaks had to launch further along the bank. We were all given our notes on the local flora and fauna and wildlife, and the access and egress points from Chelmsford to Hoe Mill.
We set off and made good progress along the river, wind assisted. Those who had the knowledge started spotting the different trees, plants etc. Where possible we tried to shoot any weirs but the water was quite low, so in many cases extra effort was needed to get over the ledges.
We arrived at Soneham’s Lock and went over the weir, only to be faced with a tree and branches blocking our path back into the river. We were not the only things that had been held up by the branches. The green algae floating hid some disgusting items floating and the stench matched anything from a sewage farm. While the other more intrepid paddlers in open boats and kayaks managed to cut a way through the branches and muck, Caz and myself, got out and re-launched above the weir. How all that sewage managed to get there we do not know but hopefully it will be gone by the next time we paddle there.
At the lock we stopped for lunch, trying to disinfect ourselves as much as we were able. We were then treated to the best break dancing any of us had ever seen. Kevin was throwing his arms around, jumping up and down. Then some others joined in, we then realised that this group, who had been sitting on the lock wall, had disturbed a wasp nest buried in the ground!! This was one wildlife insect that was not mentioned on Kevin’s flora and fauna sheet. After sting relief was administered to those affected we continued on our way.
We arrived at Paper Mill, and collected the local mechanic in his kayak. He goes by the name of Andy and is now an expert in repairing that well known car the KA! Some of us in kayaks went over the weir, not much water there and I managed to get stuck on the ledge again!! Anyway no disasters occurred.
Onwards to Hoe Mill,with the usual suspects playing at Rushes Weir. There were some guys fishing from the weir with their lines in the stopper. Not so much water again but as always had fun in the smallest amount of water. Nearly saw Clive leave his open boat on the way down the weir but he managed to stay in.
This was an enjoyable day on the Chelmer, thanks to those who organised it all, and arranging the weather to stay dry most of the day