Kayaking the Thames - Cricklade to London... HELP!

Hampshire Avon drainage and eastwards, with the Nene as the northern limit
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AlexPurkis
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Kayaking the Thames - Cricklade to London... HELP!

Post by AlexPurkis » Thu May 10, 2012 2:01 pm

Hi all. This summer me and a friend are planning to kayak the thames from Cricklade to Central London (tower bridge finish line) for charity. We plan to do this using a "Teksport Xplore Duo" sit-on-top 2 man kayak (http://www.teksport.co.uk/kayaks-xploreDUO.php). We have a maximum of 9 days (from june 2nd) to do this in but are hoping to do it in fewer. I have done a few kayaking days in the south of france so know my way about a kayak but would by no means call myself an expert especially when it comes to a busy river such as the Thames, and as you can imagine, I have a few queries:

Firstly, realisticly how long do people think this will take us?
Are there any permissions/licences we need to get to do this?
Rules/bylaws of the thames, any useful links?

I'm sure I'll think of more things to ask, and things i just won't have considered! So any other information or advice would be really helpful and greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance!

Mal Grey
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Re: Kayaking the Thames - Cricklade to London... HELP!

Post by Mal Grey » Mon May 14, 2012 4:23 pm

Hi,

You should be able to manage it in that timescale, if you spend a bit of time getting fit and used to the sit-on-top. Flow rate will make a difference, at the moment its quite fast, but in summer it can be negligible.

Here is some info on the route as far as Teddington, the tidal limit: http://www.igreens.org.uk/canoeing_the_ ... thames.htm

You will need to get a British Waterways licence. The easiest, & cheapest, way to get this is to join the BCU/Canoe England, as it comes as part of the package: http://www.canoe-england.org.uk/membership/

For most of the river, the only rules you need worry about are just common sense. Keep to the right, follow any instructions from lock keepers etc.

For the tidal bit, you will be in much more serious territory and should read up on Navigating the Thames Tideway here: http://www.pla.co.uk/display_fixedpage. ... navigation. This bit needs some planning and would be better with a group with regular paddlers, rather than just one kayak with relatively little experience. More info here: http://towerhamletscanoeclub.co.uk/wiki ... o_Shadwell


There are some routes that I've added on Paddle Points, starting from Cricklade, which might help you plan days: http://www.paddlepoints.co.uk/PaddlePoi ... =cricklade

Enjoy your trip!

Mikers
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Re: Kayaking the Thames - Cricklade to London... HELP!

Post by Mikers » Tue May 15, 2012 1:37 pm

We're (my brother & I) paddling from Tower Bridge to Richmond on the 10th June. Wave if you see us.
Actually, thinking about it, don't. We've timed our run to coincide with the tide, which runs quickly on the thames... If we see you, then you're fighting the tide, you'll need both hands on the paddle just to stay still.


Maybe I should be a little less obtuse and post a link to the tide tables:
http://www.pla.co.uk/pdfs/hydro/PLA_2012_low.pdf

AlexPurkis
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Re: Kayaking the Thames - Cricklade to London... HELP!

Post by AlexPurkis » Wed May 16, 2012 3:05 pm

This is all great stuff thanks guys,

Is there any gear we should be getting or any brands to look out for/avoid? on the shopping list at the moment:
buoyancy jacket
gloves

any recomendations on where to get this stuff from, either a website or a shop somewhere around Tring (hp23) , or anything else i should get my hands on would be extremely helpful.

Thanks again for your info so far!

Claude
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Re: Kayaking the Thames - Cricklade to London... HELP!

Post by Claude » Sun Sep 02, 2012 4:59 pm

Hi Alex
Did you guiys do the trip? I'm planning the same route over the Easter weekend 2013. How long did it take you? I was reconning on 9 days too?
Thanks Claude

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MatSav
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Re: Kayaking the Thames - Cricklade to London... HELP!

Post by MatSav » Tue Sep 04, 2012 12:47 pm

Claude wrote:...I'm planning the same route over the Easter weekend 2013...
The Easter weekend is usually the Devises to Westminster Canoe Race: http://www.dwrace.org.uk/, so it'll be very busy.

JJC
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Re: Kayaking the Thames - Cricklade to London... HELP!

Post by JJC » Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:11 pm

Hi,
I paddled from nr Cricklade to Maidenhead about a week ago in a sea kayak. Excellent trip, well recommended. Took 5 days of steady paddling. With another two days we would easily have got to Teddington. The tidal section of the river is a different proposition altogether. Firstly you need to be a competent rough-water paddler and understand the many hazards along that section and secondly, finding a handy campsite beside the river in central London is going to be a challenge. Glad to offer some more detailed advice if you drop me your email address.
Joe

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Vulch
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Re: Kayaking the Thames - Cricklade to London... HELP!

Post by Vulch » Sat Sep 29, 2012 7:27 am

MatSav wrote:
Claude wrote:...I'm planning the same route over the Easter weekend 2013...
The Easter weekend is usually the Devises to Westminster Canoe Race: http://www.dwrace.org.uk/, so it'll be very busy.

To be fair, its not actually that bad. By the time everyone gets down onto the Thames, its not actually that busy. Look on the DW website to find out which tide they want the seniors to finish on, and you will soon work out where everyone will be. The section between Reading and Marlow will have 4-day crews on it on Easter Saturday from about noon, and the Marlow to Teddington section will be used by the same crews for most of Sunday.

If you absolutely need to get all the way down to Central London, then so be it, but it could leave a funny taste in your mouth at the end of an otherwise lovely adventure. Getting out at Teddington, Richmond, Kew or perhaps even Hammersmith would be much more enjoyable. You are only 10 miles or so short of central London, which is the least pleasant 10 miles of the Thames, and also the most dangerous. And it can be seriously dangerous if there are big boats about. I'm not accusing you of being a wuss, I'm just saying that it isn't as great as you imagine it will be! The escape options are also surprisingly limited if you do need to get out, or have a collision and a swim. I would far prefer a lumpy trip around Portland to a busy day on the Tideway!

HTH.

Vulch

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Re: Kayaking the Thames - Cricklade to London... HELP!

Post by Mal Grey » Sat Sep 29, 2012 11:41 am

JJC wrote:Hi,
I paddled from nr Cricklade to Maidenhead about a week ago in a sea kayak. Excellent trip, well recommended. Took 5 days of steady paddling. With another two days we would easily have got to Teddington. The tidal section of the river is a different proposition altogether. Firstly you need to be a competent rough-water paddler and understand the many hazards along that section and secondly, finding a handy campsite beside the river in central London is going to be a challenge. Glad to offer some more detailed advice if you drop me your email address.
Joe
Hi Joe,

Was it you guys we met at King's Lock? We were the 3 opens and a kayak with a couple of young kids, and we talked about Oxford camping? Glad you had a good trip!

Mal Grey
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Re: Kayaking the Thames - Cricklade to London... HELP!

Post by Mal Grey » Sat Sep 29, 2012 11:46 am

Vulch wrote:
If you absolutely need to get all the way down to Central London, then so be it, but it could leave a funny taste in your mouth at the end of an otherwise lovely adventure. Getting out at Teddington, Richmond, Kew or perhaps even Hammersmith would be much more enjoyable. You are only 10 miles or so short of central London, which is the least pleasant 10 miles of the Thames, and also the most dangerous. And it can be seriously dangerous if there are big boats about. I'm not accusing you of being a wuss, I'm just saying that it isn't as great as you imagine it will be! The escape options are also surprisingly limited if you do need to get out, or have a collision and a swim. I would far prefer a lumpy trip around Portland to a busy day on the Tideway!

HTH.

Vulch
I agree that the tidal section is a very different proposition. However, I disagree that its the "least pleasant 10 miles of the Thames", as paddling through the centre of London is an amazing experience! Its only for those with the experience and ability though, and is definitely a different style of paddling than the previous 135 miles! :)

For what its worth, I'd say that much of the suburbs, in fact say Staines to Teddington, are the least exciting sections of the river, but still perfectly pleasant. After all, you're out paddling :D

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