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Winter Wild Camp 1-2nd Dec 2018

I had been anxiously monitoring the weather report all the week before my first Bramston Winter Wild camp, and every time I checked, the forecast was worse than the time before. On the Wednesday, I received an email circular, saying that one of the kayak instructors in the area had cancelled his weekend course due to the predicted extreme weather conditions. I was beginning to think that our trip may not happen, but Bramston kayakers are made of sterner stuff, and on  Friday it was confirmed that we would meet at the unearthly time of 6:30 am at Heybridge Basin, to be on the water at 7:00.

We loaded our kayaks in the dark, and finally got on the water at about 07:20, just as it was beginning to get light. Led by Barry, with Andy B, Andy E, James, Alan, Roger, and me. The forecasted rain wasn’t there, and we had a nice easy paddle along the Blackwater Estuary to sales Point, with a force 4 not interfering with our progress. The conditions did not however look good for the planned 4 mile open crossing to Colne Point, and we decided to finish for the day at our camp site.

Having pitched our tents, some of the team got to work collecting firewood, until it began to rain.  This was actually welcome, as it gave us the excuse to go to bed for a couple of hours, and catch up on our lost sleep. Two hours later, the rain had stopped, we got up, had some lunch, and walked along the sea wall to St. Peter’s on the Wall chapel, and collected more firewood on the way back.

The wood was soaking wet, and I was very impressed by Barry and his helpers ability to get a fire going on the beach. Dinner was cooked, and eaten, followed by an evening of  drinking beer, wine, and comparing the contents of each others hip flasks, and some much larger bottles. Sitting there in the dark, fire crackling away, with some good company, and a warm feeling inside me, I felt no urge to cross the water to my nice warm bed on Mersea Island. The tide came in, and got within about 3 feet of the fire, then receded, as we looked across at all the pretty lights illuminating the Mersea foreshore.

We had a good lay in on the Sunday morning, eventually cooking our breakfasts, then packing out boats ready for the return paddle. We got on the water for 1 O’clock, and the paddle back would be a completely different affair to the day before. The wind was blowing force 5, and gusting higher, straight from the west, and in our faces, with no chance of shelter from the shore.  The high wind was also holding back the tide, which should have turned, and I must admit, it was a bit of a struggle for me, but Barry and James stayed with me, and we finally got to Osea Island at about 4:00 pm, just as it was getting dark. Although this was probably the slowest time ever recorded for this journey, it didn’t matter, as we still had to wait up to 3 hours before the tide would be high enough to get back out at Heybridge Basin. However, Andy B had received a phone call to say that his daughter had been injured and was on her way to hospital, so he, accompanied by Roger, pressed on, and managed to find a way across the mud to the Heybridgeshore. Several hot drinks, and some food later, we decided that we would  press on to Heybridge, and make alternative arrangements if the tide had not yet risen enough. The wind had now dropped quite a bit, making the night paddle back to Heybridge a highlight of the trip, with flocks of birds flying around us as we disturbed their resting spots on the water. When we got near to Heybridge, Mark, who driven all the way from Colchester, was waiting on the shore, and called us to say the water was high enough. The temperature on land was still a very warm for the time of year 15 deg C, and we were soon in the pub having a drink and discussing the events of the weekend.








Thanks to Barry for organizing and leading, and everyone else for their good company. I’m already looking forward to the next one!


Pictures from Summer wild camp 2018

Images from a very calm Anglesey June 2018

Summer Wild Camp June 23rd-24th

Getting a thread started for this one……Who’s coming?

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Pictures from Sunday’s paddle on the Stour

Winter Wild Camp Dec 2017

Winter Wild Camp

What a blast – The cold wind didn’t put off the 12 intrepid club members from braving the winter weather, in fact the wind didn’t show, nor did the big freeze. If anything it was positively warm, well mild, maybe cold but bearable. Cracking paddle to Sales point. The usual scrabble for fire wood and foil wrapped spuds bunged into the burning embers along with crackers, mince pies, exotic spirits and beer. For the night paddlers they had a fast running tide and a bright moon to guide them home. Cheers Barry for another successful trip into the back waters of Essex.


River Vyrnwy Nov 4-5th 2017

River Vyrnwy 4th/5th November 2017

What a pleasure to see this trip so well supported by members of the club. We found ourselves in an impressive location with fantastic scenery along the river and lake. The bunkhouse was in the middle of now where down a sheep track. Very unnerving when you arrive in the dark wondering whether you have taken the right forest mud track with no possible way of turning back!

The pictures on the blog speak for themselves, with wave trains, bone shakers, log jams,techy bits, and some great waterfalls and waves to play on. This was a new venue for everyone which made it an even more exciting adventure into the unknown. The dam over the river Vyrnwy was very impressive matched by the weir further along with its 20 foot drop over rocks.

The usual problem as the weekend approached NO RAIN!! Lucky for us Welsh water decided to release some water from Lake Vyrnwy. Saturday we paddled Pont Llogel to Pontrobert and on Sunday Llanwddyn to Pont Llogel. The River Vyrnwy is great for an intro to Whitewater grade 2-3 with something for everyone, we will go back. Aftereights supplied by Chris, good game thanks mate.

Summer Wild Camp pictures

A brilliant weekend with some challenging conditions and an extreme popcorn chef. No pictures during the evening as they have been censored. Excellent team to paddle with thanks guys.

Some Pic’s from Winter Wild Camp 2016

The Night Paddle. June 2016

Saturday 4th of June was the date of the night paddle, the problem was that John and I had just finished a full day of coaching screaming Brownies and leaders on open boat rafts. With an hours power knap, Andie arrives for a lift to Bradwell. Once ready, Andy E, Andie B, John H and I get on the water at 21:50 at Bradwell on the rising tide. I’ve never seen the Blackwater Estuary so glass like and flat. It was a spring tide and before we knew it we had passed Osea island and were approaching Heybridge basin (00:00). After packing Andie (half-a-trip) B off, we had a two hour cuppa and a snack at the Basin. 02:00 proper dark now, down to three paddlers, we were back on the water heading to Bradwell. At around 02:30 it started to get lighter with the power station as a great way point in the distance to spur us on. With it almost full day light now we got to the public slip way Bradwell at 03:45 frazzeled but smiling.

This was a great night paddle exercise, yes a bit mad too but you never know when for one reason or another you’ll have to paddle in the DARK!