2 star trip: Thames Backwaters, 6 June 2009

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A paddle on the backwaters of the thames and St patrick Stream

The trip combined some relaxing still water that allowed messing about and relaxing with the fast flowing St Patricks stream, giving some excitment and a place to pracice moving water skills. There was no rush and lots of time to play on the water.

We got to the basin at 7:30 with the van arriving at 8am, packed up 6 kayaks and headed off to Wargrave, to a nice bit of the Thames.

We parked in Wargrave, at a public carpark on School Lane B477 - the put in to the Thames is across the traffic lights and then down Ferry Lane to the right - its a small road though, i wouldn't drive anything smaller than a car down it - we carried our boats from the carpark (the's a public loo there too).

We paddled up the river to shiplake lock, where there is a friendly portage peir on the left hand channel that puts you in right across in front of the lock. we then paddled futher up stream til we met the inlet to st patricks stream on our left hand side. St Patricks stream was fast flowing and bendy - a lot of fun. It widens out as it is joined by the River Loddon past which there were lots of opertunities for practising gentle breaking ins and out, as well as ferry gliding. The stream rejoins the Thames just between the put in and shiplake lock, and its an easy paddle down to The St George & Dragon pub - which we eat or lunch outside om a grass bank, buying tea and coffee and using their facilities (their lunch service being rather slow when we tried).

After lunch we paddled down the Thames for a while, turning back on ourselves to the right up a backwater that returned us again to just south of our lunch spot. Paddling back to our put in we did rescue pracice in the clear water, and played in a handy fountain that had been set up just for us at our take out (or perhaps for a wedding happening later in a nearby garden)

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