Henley to Marlow 15th October 2016

posted 17 Oct 2016, 13:57 by Sailing Secretary   [ updated 17 Oct 2016, 14:09 ]
Our group assembled at 09:00 on a dull Saturday morning, with just seven kayaks, the trailer was soon loaded and a two car convoy set off for Henley on Thames. 

The put in point was The Eyot Centre, 300 metres upstream of Henley Bridge. The centre manager had been most welcoming and generously allowed us access to the toilets and heated changing rooms. Steve was our driver for the day and having seen us off, took the trailer to our finish point at Marlow.
Once under the bridge we were soon paddling along the wide open reach of the famous rowing course, past the grandstand of the regatta HQ and " mixing it" with a fair few sculls. The weather was by now brightening and apart from a few stray clouds we had sunshine most of the trip. 

The autumn colours were developing nicely and we had the river pretty much to ourselves.  The lock keeper was on duty at Hambledon and happy to allow us through the lock, a new experience for Rob and Hugh, who were joining us for their first Minima Adventure. The extensive weirs were impressive and quite noisy, although the stream did not seem to be particularly strong. We paddled past some very impressive old houses and even encountered cattle wading in the river. We were frequently entertained by red kites displaying their flying prowess in the sky above us. 
Steve was waiting for us at our lunch stop at Hurley, a very well appointed lock, with toilets and an outdoor cafe. The portage was simple with a nice put in point below the weir.

The after lunch paddle was much shorter, past Marlow sailing club and the National Sports Centre at Bisham Abbey. Marsh Lock was unmanned and quite busy, we were joined in the lock by a large group of scouts heading for camp at the scouts sailing centre just beyond Marlow.

We finished our trip under the bridge at Marlow. This attractive  suspension bridge built in 1829, has a weight limit of 3 tonnes, however on 24th September a 37 tonne haulage lorry attempted to cross (damaged its wheels on the traffic calming measures) and caused structural damage, which resulted in the indefinite closure of the bridge to motorised transport. It's an ill wind.. as they say and we were able to park up the trailer on the closed approach road for loading. 

The weather forecast was uncannily accurate and as Steve Jim and Judy loaded the trailer the rain started. Unfortunately Kathy had already left to ferry the rest of the group back to Bernie's car at the Eyot Centre with Steve Jim and Judy's bags in the back of the car. On return to Marlow she found them sadly siting in a pub... WITH NO BEER.
 They’re so polite in Berkshire!