Archive for John H

Hoe Mill to Rushes Weir wild open boat paddle 10th March 2019

It was windy, very windy. As I was unloading my open boat and pushing under the fence at Hoe Mill lock the telegraph pole I was standing beside shook violently, followed by a big cracking sound, and a tree, 30 feet from me fell down , blocking the whole road. Wow, so pleased I wasn’t standing beside that, or that my van wasn’t under it. 10 minutes later the rest of the Open boaters started to arrive and all parked under very old trees, and after a quick rethink, the penny dropped and then they re parked away from the trees. Happy bunnies. James and I went two up in my OB, and Barry and Kevin R, the die hards, paddled solo – oh regret on their behalf.

Lets say that the desired direction of travel and side of the river wasn’t always happening due to the very strong F6 – F8! winds. Serious boat trimming went on amongst our solo paddlers.

The intrepid duo didn’t suffer half as much. Somewhere along the way Barry got out and walked, then paddled. Kevin moored up and joined Barry, and later Barry Kevin and James all joined together and then James went solo, Kevin joined with John, Barry was on his loansome.

Hope you’re keeping up with this. Rushes Weir came into sight and after a quick play in the wier, we had a break.

James, “I’ve not done this before” Rushes Weir.

It was then Sail paddles up and away we went back to Hoe Mill. James and I took off at a great pace with the wind filling the sail paddle.

Kevin had varying degrees of success, although appeared to be scooping more water than wind. Eventually Barry and Kevin rafted up and they managed to get going under sail.

Kevin and Barry. Kevin’s new tactic was to stand up and blow into the sail.

Getting back to Hoe Mill didn’t take long at all. Really good fun in seriously windy conditions, this was followed by a pint in the pub afterwards. Thanks to my fellow paddlers, James, Barry and Kevin R.

Kevin, with red sail already to fly.
Submitted by John H 120319

Surfin’ training at Old Felixstowe 25 Nov 2018

Sunday saw Kevin, Barry, Liz and me having a play off of Old Felixstowe in the surf zone. It was a first time for Liz and me in this area. We were told that the surf would start off small and get bigger, in fact it was the other way round. Paddling beyond the sandbank finger saw us in a nice steady swell 6 – 9ft at a guess, boats were disappearing in between the troughs, so enough to practice on and get the adrenalin flowing, at least for me. After a while I took a break on the shingle sand bank at the mouth of the Debden. Very interesting to watch the surf line change by the minute as the tide turned. Very fast flowing volume of water. Anyway, the pictures don’t do it justice, but it was really good practice. Zoom in on the photos to get a better look.

…..”When it started with 2 metre high waves, I was thinking bloody Hell! How high will they be when it get’s big. Definitely an interesting place to paddle. Had some fun trying the deep diggity dig at the end” …Liz


Submitted by John H 261118

Bradwell to Colne Point (almost) Saturday 18 August 2018

After a lot of chat on FB messenger on the lead up to the weekend three of us decided to paddle from Bradwell to Colne Point. The wind and tide wasn’t going to be in our favour SE F4 and an ebb tide helped us along our way.

We made excellent progress but were very aware of the strengthening wind and the increasing swell, so decided to paddle until the tide turned (LW Bradwell 11:15), which put us in spitting distance of Colne Point!

Making our way back the swell had increased with 1 – 2′ waves and the relentless wind, however, we made really good progress. It was a lot of fun bashing through the waves, a couple of yacths decided to furl their sails and revert to motoring and a lone windsurfer was buzzing us going from Mersea Island to Sails Point at incredible speed.

We arrived at the entrance to Bradwell Marina, and since we had got there much earlier than expected decided to go around the baffle at the entrance only to spot a very angry looking pigeon sitting on the baffle top.

It turned out to be a perigrine Falcon, and he/she didn’t look very happy at us paddling in its hunting ground.

Going back into Bradwell Marina an unhappy yacthsman and his crew were well and truly grounded at the entrance, scratching their heads whilst waiting for the tide to fill in. Thanks to Adrian (MAD cc) and James for a great couple of hours on the water.

Submitted by John H 180818

Walton backwaters Sunday 12 August 2018

A mixed bunch of eleven kayakers from BCC, MAD, and Braintree CC set off from Dovercourt, Harwich to paddle the backwaters and see the seals. Leaving the north sea and entering a small inlet was like stepping/paddling into a different world, very quiet and serene. The tide carried us through the maze of waterways to the seals laire, big rusty beasties sunbathing on the mud.

The seal sightseeing boat came around a bend and stole our private veiwing of our blubbery friends, so it was onwards and forwards against a strong southerly wind F4, punching our way to the main channel to join the ranks of the sailing boats out enjoying themselves.  Sorry no pictures of the seals as my camera lens got water on it and blurred the lot! We stopped off at Stone Point for lunch and watched the very strong tidal race play havoc with the big motor launches making their way to the Marina.

It was then time to make our way home, we paddled across the estuary to the sunken barges, avoiding the main tidal race and rejoined the North Sea. Eleven very happy kayakers would like to thank Barry I for organising this trip.


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Kevin 🙂 24/07/18

John 18/07/18

Kevin D 24/07/2018

Barry 24/07/18

Anna 24/07/18

Andie 24/07/2018

Jill 29/7/18

Cheryl 30.07.18

River Dart Weekend 20-22 November 2015

Seven club members ventured to Devon for the annual Dart weekend. Friday night had us sitting in the Prince of Wales pub, Princetown, watching the snow fall and Chris devour a whole farm yard of pigs, chicken eggs and a crop of potatoes as we discussed our plans for Saturday. We decided to run the Loop and then do the River Erme, which was a grade 2/3 or a 3/4 or maybe a 4/5 river. That kind of detail got lost as the river guide was passed around the pub in between rounds of beer.

Saturday.  The Loop was running at medium levels and once we’d got away from the maddening crowd we could enjoy the river, having decided that we weren’t going to play on it for too long as we wanted to do the R. Erme. 3 hours later we were at the get in point for the R.Erme. Jill had decided not to paddle the Erme as she had badly bruised her arm earlier on the Loop. The Erme began with a rock garden lots of twists and turns and bumpy scrapy stuff to sort through. The first fall had me out, as did the second and the third; you get the picture. I decided enough was enough and walked out, Andy (blonde beard) who had hurt is shoulder also decided to walk back to the car with me. Unfortunately Jill had both sets of car keys, and our only phone was dying, just enough power to give me Jills phone number which was scribbled onto a £5 note in charcoal – not good. We dragged and pulled our kayaks for a good 20 minutes before reaching Andys’s car. On route I spoke to a couple of walkers who kindly agreed to phone Jill once they had a signal. At the car I knocked on one of the local houses who not only let me use their phone but also gave us tea and mars bars. Embarrassingly, Andy only drinks coffee so the lady made Andy a coffee. Really, really nice couple, they even let us shelter in their shed out of the rain whilst we waited for Jill. If you think that was good a jogger went by and said if you’re still here in 20 minutes I’ll fetch my car and run you to Ivy Bridge. Wow,the people in this part of the world are really helpful and kind. Jill picked us up and we drove to the get out point just in time to see the others arrive, perfect timing. That grade 2/3/4/5 ended up as being a 4/5 with the falls getting bigger and bigger, people disappearing into holes, lots of pinning, a broken paddle, a dented boat and five grinning kayakers. You can take it they enjoyed it, in fact that night in the pub confirmed they really enjoyed it. Kevin’s just got to sort out his left from his right. The book said don’t go right… and later in the pub “yeah, I remember reading something about that”.

Sunday – it was the Loop again, just to see off the weekend and gave me a chance to try out Chris’s boat, a dagger Mamba. The river was running a lot lower. Jill had decided not to paddle as her arm was still very painful.

Chris keeping an eye on me using his green Mamba

The Loop get in

The washing machine , lovers leap, triple falls all taken in my stride. After initial nervousness in a strange boat, it grew on me and it was so comfortable.

Getting to grips with the dagger Mamba

Come Triple falls Chris had had enough. He had shoe horned himself into my Pyranah and cramp was now getting the better of him, plus the fact he was convinced he had holed it! Back in the Pyranah I was able to make a direct comparison between the boats which was really helpful. I like the Mamba. Comfort, buouyancy and not having the fish tail getting sucked back in stoppers was confidence inspiring. On the down side its heavy compared to my Pyranah one zone, a small price to pay.

Thanks to Kevin for organising the trip, and to my fellow paddlers Chris (thanks for the loan of your boat) Andy(black beard), James, Andy(blonde beard) and Jill, who made the trip so enjoyable.