Simon Cosson, Sue Tadman and Rita O’Reilly paddled from Ham Bridge to Knightwick.
Our usual access was overgrown with stingers and other nasty plants so we slid the boats down a steep, newly-made access that, most likely, was used with higher river levels. Using a throw rope around a tree, we lowered ourselves onto a gravelly bank.
The weather was warm and the river flowed well. The giant willow blocking the river had been removed making our journey all the more enjoyable. We all practised our eddy-in and eddy-outs on faster water, ferried across and did tight turns in weirs. Building confidence, we did turns just edging. Further down river we found a tree blocking our path but we were able to press it down as each of us paddled over it with effort and some assistance.
At one stage, en-route, we could hear fast flowing water and see lots of agitated waters ahead. I thought I knew the river well but this was unexpected. We went forward observing what looked like rapids moving away from us. Ducks! Numerous ducks continued to, spasmodically, ruffle the water ahead; they had me fooled.
Happy to say we saw flashes of blue kingfishers flying as a pair, had a delightful picnic, and safely arrived on dry land after a safe and thoroughly enjoyable paddle.