Bulstake Stream to The Fishes

It was yet another warm evening so we had a good turn out for our Friday jaunt to another pub. There were initially twelve in our group: me, Simon, Paul, Hilma, Penny, Jules, Susan, Alice, Joe, Keith, Dave, Chris. After a short paddle to get Hilma back into the habit after her shoulder dislocation, our group went down to ten. We set off up the Thames and slowly made our way to Osney lock, which was our first chance to stretch our legs. We made speedy work of it all and got back in at the top of the lock and set off for the crossroads and our turning down to Tumbling Bay.

We all slid under the chain preventing boats from going down the weirs and came to a stop at the top of the first drop. Simon and I jumped out and I lined our open canoe down the drop while Simon helped all the kayakers shoot the steep drop without any dunkings.

At the second drop Simon tried some impressive acrobatics, balancing on one leg and somehow managing to tip toe into his boat at the bottom, while everyone else started to portage around. All except Joe and Chris who decided to push through and shoot the second drop with varying degrees of success due to the shallow bottom.

We then took on the slalom of the twisting Bulstake Stream through the various over hanging trees and even managed to push through the shallow rapid under the bridge and limbo under a low tree. We then had a more sedate paddle down the backwaters until we finally came to the turn off for The Fishes.

Liam and Helen joined us at the pub where we all enjoyed several pints and lots of munchies, braving the stares from the people inside in our various neoprene outfits. After the sun went down and the air got nippy we all made our way back across the lawn, through the nettles, to the water and got back in our boats. We decided not to use our head torches to develop our night vision and managed to paddle back down to the Thames where we eventually came to Folly Bridge.

We decided to paddle into the tunnel of doom, under the pipe of peril, past the punt of inconvenience and the heron of horror (which was sat under the bridge minding its business) until we eventually made our way back onto the main Thames and down to the shed.

A brilliant paddle and we're looking forward to the next one!

- Jen

Photos by Jen.