On Sunday 17th of March five Nomads set out from Grove Mill near Hunton Bridge to explore the grand union canal and river Gade backwaters back to the aquadrome. After the hurricane the previous day we were glad to start in sunshine with only a light breeze as we set off southward on the canal towards Cassiobury park.
After a pretty canal section past Whippendell woods on the right and a portage around two locks, we soon arrived above the lock in Cassiobury park where we turned off left on the river Gade. A selection of weirs presented themselves, but we took the easiest chute to the left into a pool with no obvious exit due to a fallen tree. Undeterred we forged our way through the tree branches continuing down the river to the footbridge, which being too low to limbo we portaged. This put us on a very pretty stretch of the Gade winding through the park past the model railway and playground to the first weir, which we all shot through the old iron sluice gate hoop to the amusement and waves of passers by.
A lovely winding stretch followed through low hanging willows and bullrushes to the second low weir, which everyone shot admirably, then some long shallows sections where some of us were forced to get out and pull our boats. Then we were out of the park and into Croxley business park with a couple of low bridges to limbo before hitting the grand union canal for the home stretch.
We broke for lunch on Croxley moor with a portage to above the sloping weir, which we shot for fun after lunch before portaging back to the canal. An uneventful run back to Rickmansworth was broken by Tony deciding to try the chute to the left of Batchworth lock, which was running very well, and having a little swim. His sub aqua experience came in handy! Dark clouds were gathering as we paddled the last mile past Tesco and we got to the club and shelter just before a hailstorm started.
Well done to everyone for an interesting and unusual paddle and to Tyler for keeping up without any problem.