(Dave, Nigel, Sue, Pierre, Jai, Nathan, Phillip, Hannah, Conrad, Andy.)
(Ana + 6 Paddle boarding with Ana)
On Sunday March 12th 2023, 10 Nomads from Rickmansworth and 7 Paddle boarders from Stand up paddle boarding with Ana from Tonbridge met at the Mytchett centre for a 10 mile paddle along the Basingstoke canal, 5 miles up and return.
Once prepped, dressed and ready to get on the water we gathered for the usual safety brief (given by Dave) and who carefully passed the warm up on to Nigel.
There was also a group of ramblers gathering at the nearby campsite who gave a bit of an audience for 17 paddlers acting out their normal morning routine with some running up and downstairs, brushing teeth and doing all sorts of things in a weird way.
Not completely warmed up Nigel decided to try another warm up that was like follow another person, sounds simple, but it seemed about 10 had picked Jai and the chase was on. This one ended with Jai running out of places to run and lots of laughter from our bystanders and the group.
We got onto the water along with Phillip and the doggies and Nomads new SUP officer (Andy) deciding to SUP this trip instead of his usual Kayak stating he had to get used to it sometime, we were all set.
We proceeded upstream with a gentle wind in our faces but at a leisurely pace, Lots of new people to talk to, paddle with and enjoy the company and scenery.
We reached Ash Viaduct where we decided to take a break and grab a drink before proceeding to Ash lock.
At Ash lock we all had a discussion as to whether we should take lunch here and turn back or proceed to a further point upstream spotted by Pierre that would be around the 5 mile point, we all decided to continue.
Another 1.5 mile we came across a slipway that was ideal although the lack of tables and benches was a bit of a letdown. We all managed our packed lunches and drinks easily, we had earned them, with Andy managing the whole distance so far without even getting damp let alone wet.
The return leg began with one of Conrad’s many Sideways hop-ons that almost went wrong but a well placed support stroke rectified his upright position. Well done Conrad.
Returning to the portage of Ash lock was done and getting back on the water for the kayakers was for many an assisted seal launch, Dave, Nigel and Conrad decided to all seal in one go, after the count of 3, 321, 123, after 3, shall we just go? And wait for Conrad, Yeah.
Back on the water Andy had found his pace and technique and was up front, those behind that know him were taking bets as to when he would fall in., and some that don’t know him.
A mile or so back downstream we decided to take another short break at one of the lagoons with a few sunken boats in it just to break up the trip.
After this point the group seemed to spread out, some powering for the end (Andy), some not wanting the trip to end, and some just too relaxed and a little bit achy after not paddling throughout the winter.
Back at our start point (some of us) lost our bet.
The Café was closed on our return and it was getting a little more breezy, so we all packed up cleaned and dried kit, said our goodbyes and headed home. Some of us went to a pub.
All in all a great day out on the water, it’s good to paddle with mixed craft and see different aspects elements and styles, as well as meeting new people with the same interests.
Thanks to all below.
Nomad Kayak Club, Paddle boarding with Ana, Pierre Leon,
Write up by Dave Hillier