St. Patricks Stream - Sun 28 May 2017
What a glorious day for a paddle, led by Shep and Chris, Michelle, Mungo, Neal, AliBee, James BR, Ian and Tim (and his sit on top) set forth from Shadwell having loaded the necessaries to the St. George and Dragon in Wargrave, Berkshire.
Arriving (after much hilarious conversation) at the St. George and Dragon (St.G & D) at approximately 10.15 or thereabouts. Unloading in the car park and seal launched onto the Thames by 10.45. Headed up river to the first weir (Shiplake?) where we portaged the kayaks over a lovely little old fashioned "glamp site" island. Embarking back onto the Thames headed upstream for about two miles until we reached St. Patrick's Stream off to the left hand side of the river. Narrow but deceptively fast flowing and carried us through stinging nettles and beautiful backwaters,. Found a little stone bridge (three arches) with flowing water through (could not ascend due to obstructions) but still had great fun practicing our ferry gliding. Carried on the stream until we joined the Loddon River. After a mile on the Loddon rejoined the Thames below the weir and back to the pub for lunch. For those who brought a picnic there was no problem eating at the tables and benches by the Thames.
Set off after lunch downstream towards Henley via the Hennerton Backwater for 1.5 miles before joining the Thames. Enjoyed the company of two young canoeists who attached themselves to us whilst their parents followed more sedately! Having rejoined the Thames there are some extraordinary houses with large river fronts and boathouses, notably one guarded by a turkey and a rottweiler, one a road bridge clad (built?) by huge rocks a la Flintstones and a really Gothic style boathouse.
Reaching Marsh Lock (which incidentally is the longest portage in the Devizes to Westminster race as Chris informed us), we diembarked to have a look at the weir (looked pretty dangerous to us) and have a leg stretch.
Turned and set off back upstream towards the St. G & D arriving back at approx. 4pm. A little Eskimo rescue practice and rolling practice by Ali and Michelle and then time for dinner (reserved table for 5pm). Walking through the pub in a wetsuit was an amusing experience for some but the pub really wasn't bothered.
A great meal to end a wonderful paddle, with even more banter on the drive back reaching Shadwell about 8pm. Quick unload and out away. Many thanks to all the drivers and Shep for organising the day.
JamesBR and AliBee