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The River Stour was the venue for the open boat training, with everyone meeting at 10 ish at at the put in point, Nayland. With boats unloaded, recce of the area done, pre brief completed it was time to take to the water. A short trip up the river to a suitable area for one to one training and some serious practice.
Then the trip started in earnest through the tunnel going under the Horkesely Road A134 to our first obstacle a fallen tree blocking the whole river. The sensible ones portaged via the river bank and some decided to go tree climbing.
On wards and forwards to the box weir where again a portage was necessary.
Jill ran the weir, and the rest of us cheered her on. It was then a bit more practice in the faster flowing water at the bottom of the weir before heading up a small creek leading us to our get out point. The creek was good fun and for those who had punting poles the going was easy.
Really good day on the water, everyone learnt something, and we all went home with big happy smiles on our faces.
Submitted by John Vice Chairman 260318
A cold winters morning with bright sunshine and a bit of ice on the water to keep things really fresh.
Add to that a bit of a breeze and Barry was well away sailing northwest from Heybridge Basin
Originally there were going to be more of us on the water but as the weekend drew near people got cold feet/other plans, so Kevin, Barry, Paul and I had the river to ourselves.
Paul, a newcomer to the sport, had just bought himself a new canoe and this was his maiden voyage, and what a lovely day to be introduced to canoeing.
One of the locks just below Beeleigh was being refurbished so it gave us time for a bit of a leg stretch and then we continued onto Beeliegh Link. On the way the ice had all but melted and the wind made us put in a bit more effort, but otherwise a really pleasant way to start the weekend followed by a pint of beer in sunny Heybridge basin.
Submitted by John H 250218
New waters they asked for, so off we went to the Isle of Sheppey. During my research on maps, charts and good old Google earth for appropriate car parks and launch sites I came across the words “Grain Tower” on my OS map. A Youtube search later I decided that this will be part of our trip.
The large free car park at Barton’s Point became our chosen launch and landing beach. With the need to cross the Medway shipping channel I decided to go North, out to the wreck of the SS Richard Montgomery so we could have a clear line of sight for any on-coming shipping. Being a Sunday there wasn’t much traffic apart from the pilot boat no 4 passing us twice and a small freighter but being to the north of the channel they weren’t too much of a worry for us. Grain tower was now in our sights about a mile away, with the flood tide it took us no time at all. With a rising tide, getting out of the boats and onto the tower was a slight challenge the only option we had was to tye the boats off. The main tower is a Martello tower 1855 with additions from WW1 and WW2 as a defensive position on the Thames and Medway. Being that the youngest parts of the structure are over 70 years old its evident that the elements and vandalism have taken their toll, Enter at your own risk!
Getting back into the boats was even more of a challenge with the tide now 1mtr higher and flowing much faster through our get-in point. Good practice though, it can’t be easy for them all the time but we managed. After finding the lost paddle down the tide, we continued our journey into the Medway. Passing Deadmans island we landed on an old gun emplacement on Burntwick island for a late lunch at High water. The return journey was much quicker with a fast running ebb tide past Sheerness docks.
As we approached our get-out a Coastguard pick-up arrived. Coastguard: Q “did you guys call it in”? Us “what”? Coastguard “That big log” pointing at a 4mtr jetty post 100mtrs out. I wasn’t sure what they were going to do without a boat. Thinking let’s help them out “we might need there help one day” Mark and I went out and towed the huge heavy lump in (and the log) and helped them drag it up the beach, sorry no photos I was too busy. I did manage to get a picture of Mark’s failed roll and swim though, sorry Mark sticker on its way. Roughly 22km paddled with tidal assistance most of the way, “makes a change”.
Fantastic weather, great company, thanks for my breakfast and lunch-breakfast rolls Andy. Experiences gained. 4 out and 4 back safe and smiling. Thanks for your company guys. This trip will be revisited I’m sure.
Paddlers: Andy E, Mike D, Mark B and Me Barry I. 18/02/18
Submitted by Barry I Events Officer 18/02/018
A very windy day. F5 gusting F7 westerlies on an ebb tide. Our origninal plan was to paddle to Thirslet Spit toward Bradwell from Marconi Sailing Club, however it was decided better to punch the wind and what was remaining of the tide and head up to Maylandsea. There was a bit of surfing to be done and some seals to spot on route.
Submitted by John H Vice Chairman 130218
Sunday 28th Jan. After promising the dogs a long walk on Sunday Barry suggested a nice relaxing Sunday paddle against the tide and winds of 15Kn gusting to 27kn (Force 4 to 6). After explaining to the mutts something had come up, the four of us met at Bradwell to fight the elements. Mike bought his new Sea kayak that he had purchased 4 months earlier to try out, which needed the dust blowing off. Myself, Andy, Barry and Mike started with a leisurely paddle to the end of the island so Mike could try a few maneuvers and get a feel or his new toy. After this, it was a tough ferry glide across to the Ross Revenge (Radio Caroline) with a falling tide and a strong headwind.
Unfortunately, there was no rest bite as just holding ground required a certain amount of effort. After this we paddled over to the Tollesbury old railway line on the north shore for some refreshments and to rest the burning muscles. The return leg was fun with a bit of surfing on the swell. Andy practiced a few rolls and then it was back to shore for a well-earned pint. Thanks for the suggestion Barry though the dogs are still giving me the cold shoulder !!!!
Photos by: Barry