As part of British Canoeing’s Clear Access Clear Waters, ‘Big Paddle Clean-up’ Campaign (running 27th May to 11th June 2023), Nomad Kayak Club members paddled the River Colne in Rickmansworth on Sunday 28th May.
Lead by Ian Walker in a Canoe, four kayakers (Nigel, Dan, Hannah and Chris) set off from the club house at 1015 to join the canal at Stockers Lock.
As we travelled down the canal we were joined by Phillip, without the two ‘girls’ ( who were allowed a lay in) to make up our team. It was a beautiful sunny morning for a paddle.
Turning onto the Colne near Tesco we headed to the first weir where we portaged most of the craft.
Paddling onwards we scoured the banks seeking rubbish. It was remarkable how there was much less that on previous expeditions especially following the canal festival the previous week. The normal selection of bottles, cans, tennis balls and empty packets were gathered as we worked our way down the river.
The river was beautiful with abundant bankside growth as spring goes into summer. On the way round Ian got a help call from Chilly who had seen a large barrel that had probably been used for rafting by one of the local scout groups, and was floating down the river. This was captured and placed in Chilly’s garden.
However, we found a second one found a few hundred yards further on and it became a Canoe passenger for the whole journey.
The Colne was flowing steadily which made traversing some of the low-lying trees an interesting break from rubbish hunting. At one section a fallen tree closed the river to a small gap in which a build-up of logs had blocked the river completely. However, a knee-deep paddle in the water and some sterling log removal work from Phillip, created a gap that we could all get through.
Our journey continued with Ian and Nigel swapping duties in the canoe. One more blockage caused by a fallen tree needed some work to create a gap. There were also low bridges and weirs to negotiate carefully with Canoe and Kayak. All survived remaining upright.
More rubbish was gathered including a very large planter, nearly half size of the barrel! All of the rubbish was left just before the Colne met the canal again so Ian could collect it in his car.
A pleasant paddle on a beautiful river, in good company and ideal weather. What else could you ask for?
Thanks to Ian for leading and driving our continued support of ‘Clear Access, Clear Waters’. Thanks to the paddlers too.
Write up by Chris Harper