1* Trip to Sandford

After our first round of 1* assessments we invited all the new 1* paddlers to join us for a paddle to the pub. We chose an old favourite, the King's Arms in Sandford, and after Susan, Jules, Rachel, Keith, Dave and Paul had arrived we got out the sea/touring kayaks and started to prepare our kit.

After a brief period of adjusting to the longer boats, and realising just how hard they are to turn, we set off across the river and made our way towards Iffley Lock. The group made quick work of the short portage around Iffley Lock over the rollers and headed off in the direction of Sandford.

We all marvelled at the bridge that some of the Wednesday paddlers seal launched off (it was rather impressive). We carried on past fields of geese, cows and calves, then at the first fork we decided to head right down the stretch known as Fiddler's Elbow. At the big weir we came to a stop and portaged around as Simon climbed down with his open canoe. We regrouped at the bottom and watched the water tumbling down the stepped section of the weir next to the closed gates.

After a short detour down a side stream floating past a fluffy nest of baby moorhens, and a less attractive shopping trolley, we came to a pool at the bottom of a small weir which was the end of the road. Simon decided to climb up using the painters on his canoe, but since our kayaks didn't have anything to use as a hoist we decided on good old fashioned people power by having kayakers paddle quickly towards the bank and, once mounting it with the bow, they were pulled out further so the kayakers could jump out and carry their boats up to the tow path.

We settled in at the pub, sitting as far away from civilisation as possible in our wetsuits, and after a couple of 'interesting' jokes and a few pints we headed back to base in near silence as we slowly paddled into the dark stillness.

Our first Friday paddle, and a great one to start the season!

- Jen

Photos by Jen.