Round Rousham- Sunday 2nd September

Simon, Ben, Chris (koala), Chris (little), Adam, Rach, Nick, Mark, Sarah, Charles and Tom

As a teacher, it was my last day of freedom before term started again so I decided to use it wisely by getting out on a trip. After a lot of organising and counting of boats we loaded up at the shed on Sunday morning and off we went. I'm not sure what happened but by the time we arrived at our get in point we seemed to have acquired another boat and now had more boats than people! At least it wasn't too few.

We started up the canal and soon arrived at the lift bridge which signalled the crossing point to the Cherwell. We jumped out and carried our boats over a gate and across a lot of mud (and cow pats) to reach the river. Simon cleaned the gate once we had gone through using a large leaf and Sarah chased a passing walker's dog away which didn't seem to go down so well!

The Cherwell was flowing pretty fast and had a number of trees down which made getting downstream a very interesting experience. We went under, over and in many cases through the trees. Sarah and I decided the best method was to put our helmets on, put our heads down and just go for it. Simon took everything at full speed and Chris (little) seemed to spend a lot of time sideways in the flow. Ben enjoyed hugging every tree we passed by!

Lunch was of the packed variety on the river bank and everyone was jealous of my lunch box (a very nice Jubilee M and S style one!)

Soon we were on our way again and making our way back through the reeds and trees. Chris (little) fashioned a very nice wig out of weeds. We passed by a number of cows on the river bank which scared Sarah and I by staring at us! As we reached the lowest fallen tree trunk some decided to go over the top (which was a mistake for Ben) but most had to remove our buoyancy aids and get right down inside our boats to go below. Adam adopted the foetal position in the bottom of a canoe and I managed to lie down flat inside the Charleston which was not the most comfortable of positions!

Our final challenge was to pass under a bridge and negotiate our way to the right to shoot down a small rapid. After a small paddy about being tired and not wanting to do it (sorry Ben) I got on with it and quite enjoyed it. Nick took the 'keep right' instruction very seriously and lodged himself on a rock on the right hand side of the river but we all made it down.

We crossed back over to the canal and enjoyed the clear, still water as we gently paddled back to the boat yard, via a lock, in the sunshine. The promise of a cream tea throughout the day kept our tired arms going and we arrived back at the boat yard and tea shop to find it... shut! As we were being told off by the owner we quickly carried the boats up to the road and across to the train station car park where we loaded up and headed off to return the boats and get some food (but sadly not a cream tea!)

A great day out and a fantastic way to spend the final day of the school holidays. Thanks to all who came.

- Sue