Wargrave to Tilehurst Club Trip October 2010

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Trip co-ordinators:
Sarah Keogh
Neasan O’Neill

Trip Group:

Saturday 30/10/10

Start Point
George & Dragon Pub, Wargrave
Post Code - RG10 8HY
Geographical Coordinates - 51.50311959268389, -0.8693361282348633

Planned Start Point
Ferry Lane, Wargrave
Post Code - RG10 8ET
Geographical Coordinates - 51.50227142795185, -0.8711439371109009

End Point
Scours Lane, Tilehurst
Post Code - RG30 6AY
Geographical Coordinates - 51.46613296928832, -1.0140681266784668

Route on a Google Map

~8.2 miles / ~13.2KM

Travel to start point (from London Paddington Station):
08:42 train from Paddington to Twyford
09:50 train from Twyford to Wargrave (once an hour)
10 min walk to car park/start point.

Drivers can drop the cars at the end point and grab a lift with the guy (Phillip) delivering the canoes. However he can only take 2 people in the van with him.

Travel from end point (to London Paddington Station):
Bus back into Reading (every ~15mins)
Train Reading to London Paddington (every ~10mins)

There is NO lunch options along this route at the time of the year this trip was done (30th of October) so you will need to bring a packed lunch and plenty of water
Lunch Stop
We stopped at Sonning Lock.

Proposed Lunch stop
We had planned to stop for lunch around here RG6 1PQ).

Off peak day return London Paddington to Reading - £15
Single Twyford to Wargrave - £1.70
Bus into Reading - £1.80
Hire of kayaks was £30 a boat
Hire of open boat was £40 a boat
Delivery to the start point was £35

Planning the trip:
It is based on these two trips; Reading To St Patrick's Stream, Reading To Tilehurst

We are renting canoes and kayaks from Thames Canoe Hire. They will be delivered to the start point and we will return them to the company at the end point (their HQ). The canoes/kayaks will be dropped in the car park at The George & Dragon Pub at 10am.

The route is quite simple. It is a straight paddle from the start point to the end point (see route mapped above). However there are three points where we will have to portage but they are all quite easy. They are; Shiplake Lock (not far from the start), Sonning Lock (point 3 on the map), Caversham Lock (just before point 6 on the map).

For a lot of the trip the river bank is easily accessible and we are very close to civilisation, this means if someone freaks out/gets in trouble we can get out of there very easily. We have to have the boats back by 18:00, however this gives us almost 8 hours to get the boats back, I'm sure we can do better than 1 mile/hour.

Description of the trip:
The trip went mostly as planned. Changes however included:

  • The start point was moved to the car park of the George & Dragon Pub. This was easier to get the kayaks/canoes delivered and to launch from. Ferry Lane was a possibility but would have involved trying to carry boats across the road and down a narrow lane.
  • There were 2 people with cars. One of these ended up parking in Wargrave because of a late start due to a malfunctioning car park gate. The other parked at Tilehurst and got a lift to the start with the van dropping off the boats.
  • There are toilets in the pub but we did not use them. We changed on the train to Twyford.
  • Any gear we didn't want or need on the trip was left in the van that dropped the boats off and that was brought to the end point.
  • We did not stop at the proposed lunch site but at Sonning Lock. This had the advantage of toilet facilities and a tea house (only open in Summer months), nice scenery and was when people wanted lunch.
  • We were finished an hour early, which was fine.
  • There are toilets at the end to change into clean/dry clothes.
  • Due to a car being back at the start we ended up back there after we offered a lift in the van back to the start for 3 of us. The rest of us went back to the start with the driver parked at Tilehurst.
  • We had a few nice drinks in The Greyhound in Wargrave (The George & Dragon seemed a little OTT for post paddling pints) and got lifts back to London from the drivers as opposed to the planned train from Reading.

Lessons Learned:

  • If you are hiring paddles, make sure that if someone is left handed that you mention that so you have one for them.