DoggyPaddle

The weather promised to be awful, so it is true you should never trust BBC weather! We loaded up the trailer at the Scout Hut at 7.30am with small drops of rain, but that was all we saw for the remainder of the day. We dropped off the shuttle car at the get out in Stratford-upon-Avon and then drove up to the get in at Leamington Spa.

We were one of the last groups to get onto the water and made our way along to Warwick Castle in the sunshine. The crowds were out on the battlements overlooking the castle weir. We portaged around so we didnít do any damage and then set off for more sunny paddling.

A little further down the river we came across our first weir. Penny and Nick portaged around so they could take photos of Steve and I. We watched a few open canoes make it down safely before shooting it ourselves. From here the river got twisting with some flow on it. We ambled around bends to find lambs and cows watching us curiously from the banks, and swans and geese idly gliding past.

We paddled on and just as we were starting to get hungry we came to the lunch stop over a second weir. We pulled our boats out and sat overlooking the weir watching all sorts of boats attempt to shoot it Ė open canoes, play boats, touring boats, inflatables and river runners. Some were successful, others, well they spent some time mopping out and drying off. Anyone who showed particular courage or style got a good cheer from the watching crowd.

We carried on after refuelling. A paddle over the deer gate highlighted we were now in the grounds of Charlecote House with its waterfall, and nearby we paddled past a heronry, complete with herons in some of the nests. Further on before we once again slipped over a deer gate we managed to catch sight of a cormorant. The second deer gate brought us another Isis rescue when an inflatable got stuck so Steve and I decided a good tow was in order to get them free.

The rest of the paddle was a simple meander into Stratford, dodging pleasure boats and barges. We finally made it to the theatre for our certificate and a celebratory ice cream. A short shuttle later and we were off home to Oxford. Yet another fantastic dayís paddle with some very lucky weather, thanks Steve, Penny and Nick!

- Jen

Photos by Jen.