River Lee at Hoddesdon Trip Report

When: Saturday 23rd December 2023

Where: Dobbs Weir Car Park – River Lee to Broxbourne Mill returning along the River Lee Navigation

Paddlers: Michael Quinn (Trip Leader/Organiser), Nigel Atkinson, Chris Brown, John Murray and Dan Wickham

After a week of persistent rain we arrived at Dobbs Weir car park to be met with blue-ish skies and brilliant sunshine, perfect weather conditions for the Nomad pre-Christmas paddle. After an obligatory mince pie whilst getting changed we made the short walk across Dobbs Road bridge to the launch site below Dobbs Weir. The customary safety briefing and warm up ensued before we took to the water and headed south under the road bridge along the first section of the river.

Whilst one of Santa’s not so little helpers assisting with launching,
the other was taking photographs.
Nigel makes a quick inspection of Dobbs Weir

After paddling a few hundred metres downstream we kept right and followed the River Lee rather than the River Lee Navigation. Skirting the campsite it didn’t take us long to reach the hidden fork in the river and after a quick check of the map Mike led the group into the undergrowth….

Entering the River Lee
A quick check of the map before heading into reeds
Heading into the reeds
Safely emerging from the reeds

Once safely through the reeds we entered a picturesque wilderness. A few tree hazards followed which Mike and Nigel found ways through, both over and under, without the need for portaging. Once passed the final tree, the only remaining hazard was a low bridge, luckily high enough for us all to limbo under safely. The small bridge was followed by the larger railway bridge and we were soon at Broxbourne Mill, our first portage and the mid point (distance wise) of our paddle.

Clear waters
The first tree slalom/limbo
and then on to the next tree slalom/limbo
Just enough room to limbo under the bridge

After egressing the river we carried the boats for 100m metres towards the Navigation and stopped for a short break. After 20 minutes or so taking in the December sun and a hot drink it was time to launch onto the River Lee Navigation and head northwards towards our starting point.

The Navigation was much wider and clearer than the river but still as picturesque. The only remaining challenge was a portage at Carrthagena Lock, the challenge being it was quite a high bank to portage at but with a great bit of team work everyone managed to portage safely.

Another mile or so saw us back at the start/get out point. Once again another excellent Nomad river trip with the River Palace Cafe adjacent to the car park being the perfect location for the customary post paddle debrief. A pleasant end to a nice pre-Christmas paddle.

Thanks to Mike for organising and everyone who attended.

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