On Sunday 26th of May 10 Nomads travelled to picturesque Wargrave to paddle the Thames and St Patrick’s stream backwater. It wasn’t as sunny as promised, but was very warm and the water cool and inviting as we put on the Thames to paddle a couple of miles upstream against the relatively mild current.
Marc on his first trip with the club coped admirably with an unfamiliar boat and against the current and we arrived quite quickly at the pontoon by the first and only portage. After ejecting a couple of swans from the pontoon we took our boats out to portage the lock carefully avoiding the large and fresh piles of swan excrement.
After waiting for several floating gin palaces to exit the lock and one to enter we put in again and continued past the weir and Shiplake College around a scenic loop in the river and shortly arrived at our picnic spot just before noon for an early lunch. There was a gentle breeze and no sun as we sat on our boats to eat with Tyler wisely staying in his boat with spraydeck to conserve warmth as the rest of us talked about trips and kayaks over lunch.
Putting in again suitably refreshed it was only a short stretch upstream to the willow adorned entrance of St Patrick’s stream and its interesting twists, turns and currents. We stayed in a close group as those new to the waters enjoyed the challenge of avoiding a bank of reeds or tree at every turn, with one downed tree to limbo and a solitary docile swan to pass by.
We stopped to play at the bridge over the fast stream entering from the left – probably by Paul Daniel’s house, according to Annette – where Martin in his playboat made the most of the stoppers under the bridge and the rest enjoyed the moving water and some ferry gliding. Marc found this all too easy so he had to try it backwards – a bit harder!
Suitably exercised by the current we continued round more twists and turns past increasingly ostentatious and futuristic houses (at which we’d probably not turn our noses up!), chatting as we went as a light rain started to cool us down for the last stretch back to rejoin the Thames. From there on the rain stopped and we breezed back down with the Thames current to our put in.
Well done to everyone new to this river for an enjoyable and incident free trip and well done to Marc for completing his first trip with the club – not the easiest.
Matt, trip leader