So, this bank holiday was a lovely time to get out on the water, and thankfully the club had arranged a nice paddle from Denford to Wadenhoe. A full 10km! The day got off to a rocky start, with punctures and parking and all that good stuff. Once we had everyone sorted, we set off… And 200m down river we encountered what would be our first fun challenge of the day.

As we all set off, we could instantly see the picturesque scenery, the lovely period houses lining the water and a lovely bridge we would have to skip under… Once we got nearer it though, we started to feel the water speed up. On getting to the bridge, a couple of brave souls tried to get through it, but we soon found out that when water is that fast, and that low (so you cant get your paddle in the water) its near impossible to traverse. Thankfully, a couple of the more experienced paddlers got through and set us all up with some throw lines to pull on. After a good half hour of battling, we all made it through.

At this point, I think a few of us were all ready for lunch! Either way, we all carried on down the Denford leg of the trip, chatting, taking in the scenery and generally enjoying the Easter sun. A rarity in the UK to be sure. This led to the second challenge of the day. A really high portage where our boat kept disappearing under it. This actually turned out to be a non issue, and got to the last stretch before lunch.
If any of you haven‘t been down these stretches of rivers, its really hard to tell you how pretty they are. Its one of those areas that‘s full of overhanging willow trees, rich grasslands and large oaks. All of this is speckled with interesting buildings, other paddlers, and a few longboats. We wound our way downriver to our 2nd portage of the day, and thankfully. LUNCH. We spent half hour resting and taking in the sun a bit before setting off again. I think everyone really enjoyed the chance to sit down and enjoy their time and it was great to see the club hanging out together. The next section was pretty uneventful, as these things go. Lots more scenery passed by at a leisurely pace until we reached the last of the portages. This one turned out to be a bit more of an event. We had to set a canoe in the portage and tie it down so we could get out of our boats, into that, and finally onto the portage. It was quite a tall one!

This led us to a choice of 2 get-ins. A nice, chilled easy float, or a 15ft seal launch that dumped you right below a sluice outlet. This was a great chance to have a little play, and personally. Almost take a swim. We managed to capture a few videos here and it was a nice break in the day while everyone got in.

This last section was a meandering float down the river, mainly surrounded by fields and with kites and buzzards flying overhead. The last thing we I wanted to note was on the last leg, we passed an island managed by friends of the river Nene‘ which is a lovely piece of land that can be used for wild camping for a small fee. It looks like a lovely place to take a tent or hammock, and is pretty local to the club.

Passing this, we made the final push to the get-out, which was (thankfully) a nice low, soft and close to the car park affair. It took us another half hour or so to get everything sorted, and all the cars in 1 place, but it was a much-needed break for everyone after the 10km.

Thanks to everyone that made the day such a great one and we really look forward to doing the next trip.

Chris Tooze.