Pub Paddle to Sandford

After the success (as in no one was injured) of their maiden voyage, the newly named 'Ninja Gimps' (a mixture of Wednesday and Thursday Intermediates) decided to actually make it to a pub this time.

Rach, Lynds, Paul, Hilma, Pete, Bradley, Cam and Alice all met at the Scout hut for 6pm to be on the water for 6.15 sharp - so at 6.30ish they made it onto the water ;-) With a quick swap of tourers between Pete (long legs) and Alice (short legs) and a few minor issues with spray decks, we started our descent on the Kings Arms pub, Sandford.

Bradley was elected to be the lemming / lollipop man to check all was clear for our entourage to cross the river. Aside from making a choice, whether to mow down or go around a squadron of ducks (that wouldn't budge as someone was throwing loads of bread in for them) that was it, we were off! It was a nice paddle up to Iffley lock, getting to know Cam and Pete who we hadn't all met before. Paul had decided to man a canoe and several times reminded Alice and Lynds of TRUNK ROTATION....especially when they were both moaning about their arms being as strong as twiglets and having arm ache already!

We portaged around Iffley lock - Lynds was uber impressed with Hilma's stealth like skills at getting in and out of the kayaks and on trying to copy Hilma's style, ended up needing Alice, Rach and Pete to help get her out...oh and back in! Rach and Alice made light work of it - both getting to be pro's now! Once everyone was back in the tourers we continued onwards having a good old gossip and taking in the scenery as we went. We took a left at the first fork (i think) and made our way through some over hanging trees, completed a kayaker's version of limbo under some random red tape...and on emerging the other side, found Cam already chatting away to a fellow kayaker who looked intrigued by us all...

After a 'are we nearly there yet?' shout out from Alice, it turns out we were very nearly there...however, Lynds' beam of happiness didn't last long on seeing the bank we had to climb out of the kayaks on to!! After being told 'No chance' to staying in the kayak and someone passing her a drink, Lynds proceeded to climb out with dignity and style (that last part is a lie)! Pete, Alice, Cam, Rach & Bradley all tootled off to the bar whilst Lynds took photo's of Hilma and Paul snacking on some kind of healthy looking cereal/biscuit bar. We all slurped down our wine/pints whilst listening to Cam tell us about his (slightly off-putting) experience of the lasher and some glass (his nickname is the 'Bleeder')! Time certainly flies when you're having fun and we were soon jumping back in the tourers - aside from Alice, who noticed Lynds had left some wine so made Paul grab the glass so she could quickly down it! The wine certainly gave Alice an energy boost as she flew down the first 200 metres back....shame there was still about 2 miles to go!

On the way back Rach found a present for the coaches - a rather lovely cone! It was passed from Rach to Hilma (cue slow motion and Black Beauty music - then picture it as an Olympic Torch) and carried on the back of Hilma's kayak. Time was ticking on far too quickly, or was it just Alice and Lynds were paddling too slowly...either way Hilma, Pete & Cam steamed ahead to make sure they were back before the coaches needed to lock up. Paul remained with the Ninja Gimps, reminding Alice & Lynds of the benefits of trunk rotation.

After portaging at Iffley lock in record time (that's another lie) it wasn't long before we beheld the beeeyootiful view of Donnington Bridge (!!)....confirming we were so nearly home (and dry).When we made it all the way back, we were greeted by Bradley completing a roll (no more washing machine action for him). Not content with one drink, a few of us continued on (in cars this time) to the Prince of Wales to join the coaches for another well earned brew!

- Lynds