2 Star trip: The Thames, St Patricks Stream - 14 April 2012

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<Flickr>6933541486|medium|thumb|right</Flickr> <Flickr>6933542504|medium|thumb|right</Flickr>

Hoping for a break in the week's rain, 15 paddlers filled a van full of boats and headed to Wargrave to paddle on a few of the Thames' pretty backwaters.

Although rain was predicted, fair weather prevailed on our club trip to St. Patrick’s Stream on Saturday 14 April 2012. Ten paddlers and two leaders gathered at the basin at 8 am to load kit onto 3 cars and a Ford Transit. Heading off in convoy at 9 am we were quickly dispersed by road works and traffic jams.

We arrived within minutes of each other, around an hour and a half later, at our put in, the St. George and Dragon pub in Wargrave. Our third leader, who had travelled from Waterloo by train, soon joined us and we set about unloading before re-parking the vehicles in the School Lane car-park at the other end of town.

After some discussion about winds and currents we decided to paddle up the Thames to Shiplake Lock. After being locked-through, we headed further up river to the St. Patrick’s Stream inlet which we continued along until reaching a junction with another stream.

Here we divided into two groups, one to practice breaking in and out and the other ferry-gliding. Once we had all had a chance to attempt both skills we returned to the Thames Via the River Loddon, and back to the pub where we stopped to eat lunch on its grassy banks and avail ourselves of its facilities.

Revived we returned to the water traveling downstream, in the opposite direction of our morning foray, veering right into a picturesque backwater. Before rejoining the Thames, those with energy to spare engaged in a lively game of water polo while the others looked on. Crossing the Thames to the far bank we returned upstream, hugging the bank to avoid weekend launches and pirates.

We put out a little further along from the pub at a small jetty at the end of Ferry Lane. After hauling the boats to the car-park we quickly changed and reloaded in the hope of returning to London in good time. Unfortunately we were scuppered by diversions and congestion arriving back at the basin in dribs and drabs from 8 pm onwards.

The day ended at the Prospect of Whitby where, satiated, we recounted tales of a very enjoyable trip which I would highly recommend to other 2 star paddlers.

<Flickr>7081394119|medium</Flickr> Photos from Dan

<Flickr>7080572547|medium</Flickr> Photos from Mark