Yesterday a small group of us ventures out onto the River Thames near where we live.
This was a bit of a trip down memory lane as we have inflatable kayaks that we have not used for about two years, so there was a certain amout of guessing when it came to putting them together, including some confusion caused by having the pump in deflating mode when trying to pump it up. But we ended up with two well inflated, solid looking kayaks.
After all that effort we decided not to rush onto the water, so had our picnic lunch. This was good fare and did not seem to be too inviting for the local wasp population, which was a bonus.
After packing away the picnic and any other extra kit into the car, we finally took to the water. The threatened heavy cloud was no where in sight, so we were very fortunate to have almost wall to wall sunshine for the whole afternoon. There was a gentle breeze which helped us paddle against the flow of the river, although we did have to avoid too many anglers for my liking, their rods are a silly length and they were only catching things that would gave been small for whitebait.
After about an hour of reasonably easy paddling, we found the mouth of the River Thame. There was some discussion about whether to go up or have a swim first (not being a great one for swimming, my vote was for going up the Thame). As there was no obvious way of getting back out after a swim, we went decided to head up the Thame.
The Thame is a very narrow and shallow river and at this time of the year is fairly overgrown, but it was good fun navigating up, via the odd bank of reeds and nettles (less fun). We managed to get all the way up to, the misnamed, Dorchester on Thames and then turned round to head back to our starting point.
The paddle back on both rivers was a little easier as we were going with the flow, but it soon became apparent that we were all out of practice and our arms were beginning to suffer from all the unfamiliar exercise. Part way back we did stop for a swim, although I decided that getting cold and wet at that stage of the day was not for me, so looked after the boats.
We headed off again and, after what seemed like an age, spotted our starting point and with a certain degree of relief, our paddle came to an end.
It was hard work, particularly towards the end, but it was a good day and I am sure that in a couple of days my arms will stop hurting!