London based paddlers - How do you cope?

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TomW
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London based paddlers - How do you cope?

Post by TomW » Sat Nov 05, 2005 4:56 pm

Just entering the big world of employment and faced with a near iminent move to the small hamlet that is London.

I've always feared this. Not because it's a big city (In fact I quite like that), but because there's no decent paddling with a 3 hour drive of the place.

How do you stay sane? Do you travel for hours on end most weekends? If so where to? SW or S. Wales? Please don't say Nottingham.

At the minute, the only positive side to the move I can see is that my current playboating skills might actually get beyond poor and I might finally learn to blunt, if I spend enough time at Hurley and don't cry at the sight of cues in eddies.

Cheers,

Tom

P.S. Is Hurley floodlite at night?

ChrisMac
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Post by ChrisMac » Sat Nov 05, 2005 5:14 pm

Easy dont get a job in London. There are plenty of opportunities for gainfull employement in the other cities of this fair isle of ours

Chess
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Post by Chess » Sat Nov 05, 2005 7:23 pm

London smells for paddling. You got no choice but to travel, unless a lake appeals, or a canal.

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TomW
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Post by TomW » Sat Nov 05, 2005 7:45 pm

Anyone with any constructive advice?

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Jerry Murland
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Post by Jerry Murland » Sat Nov 05, 2005 7:57 pm

Easy don't get a job in London. There are plenty of opportunities for gainfull employement in the other cities of this fair isle of ours
Sounds constructive enough to me! What are you after? Careers advice?
May every dip of your paddle lead to a rediscovery of yourself

Jon Wood
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Post by Jon Wood » Sat Nov 05, 2005 8:12 pm

Yes, London stinks for paddling. But that's where I first got into a kayak. I'm a member of three different clubs. And there are plenty more out there running trips.
Do you know where you are likely to be working/living yet?
I do paddle the canals midweek in my WWR through the winter in an effort to keep fit. I frequently end up on a reservoir if I can't get away for a full weekend (I'll be there tomorrow).
So unless you are sticking to the weirs, expect to run up loads of mileage.

The biggest problem I have, living in a flat, is storage for my seven boats (including 2 sea kayaks) and numerous paddles. They are scattered.

Also, make sure you can get away early on Fridays!

Good luck

Jon

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RichA
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Post by RichA » Sat Nov 05, 2005 9:10 pm

I've lived just south of London all my life. Paddling sucks there, and anything good involves a lot of time and money travelling. There are the Thames weirs if you're into them, but only Autum to Spring if you're lucky.
There are a surprising number of clubs in and around London, and I'm sure someone here can put you in contact with some.
The long and short of it is, WW rivers will involve a lot of travelling. Devon and South Wales are the obvious 'locals'. The weirs are closer, and the French Alps are a similar distance from London as Scotland is...

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TomW
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Post by TomW » Sat Nov 05, 2005 9:41 pm

Jerry Murland wrote:What are you after? Careers advice?
Nope. I'm highly likely to accept a great job right in the heart of the city, location non-negotiable. I didn't and still don't see the post about not getting a job in London as constructive.

Was simply looking for some practical /useful advice to maintaining a WW addiction in a less that plentiful location. Thank you John and Rich.

andy i
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Post by andy i » Sun Nov 06, 2005 12:11 am

This is a bit of a long shot but you could always get you'r friends that live in you prefured paddling location to store some kit for you and the use the fantastic and cheep air survice that you can obtain from London to get you the paddling location you wish to.

Plus you can fly to the continent in the summer for some fantastic paddling with out the 3-4hr drive to the air port.

Don't for get there is going to be a new white water course built for the 2012 olympics....

Or get a big fast deisel car and finish work early on a Friday afternoon.

I hope thats near to being constructive?

Jon Wood
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Post by Jon Wood » Sun Nov 06, 2005 8:59 am

If you are working in the City, a good place to try out would be Regents Canoe Club.

http://www.regentscanoeclub.co.uk/

Active club, regular river trips. Club night Monday & Thursday, based just off the City Road, so you can get on the water easily after work.

Jon

DaveCC
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Post by DaveCC » Sun Nov 06, 2005 11:33 am

I've lived in the south of England for manh years, until I moved up north (+ Scotland), but all my paddling friends from just north of London seem to get a lot of paddling in....I understand the situation with work - I have had the same problems, moving for work.

The Nene + HPP aren't far - a least they have a stretch of paddling instyead of a single feature....you may find some surf within a sensible travelling distance as well (e.g. Croyde)...

At the end of the day, you may have to accept long weekends in the car - if it makes you feel any better Mick Fowler (incredible climbing/mountaineer) used to drive form London to the depths of Scotland (Torridan etc) for a weekends climbing. His theory was with 4 of you in the car, it is only 150miles driving each, leave Friday, get there earlyu Saturday am (sleep in car or just get on with it on arrival) and drive back Sunday evening, arrive home in time for work. He actually reckoned you felt better for it, than staying at home.

DaveCC
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Post by DaveCC » Sun Nov 06, 2005 11:33 am

I've lived in the south of England for manh years, until I moved up north (+ Scotland), but all my paddling friends from just north of London seem to get a lot of paddling in....I understand the situation with work - I have had the same problems, moving for work.

The Nene + HPP aren't far - a least they have a stretch of paddling instyead of a single feature....you may find some surf within a sensible travelling distance as well (e.g. Croyde)...

At the end of the day, you may have to accept long weekends in the car - if it makes you feel any better Mick Fowler (incredible climbing/mountaineer) used to drive form London to the depths of Scotland (Torridan etc) for a weekends climbing. His theory was with 4 of you in the car, it is only 150miles driving each, leave Friday, get there earlyu Saturday am (sleep in car or just get on with it on arrival) and drive back Sunday evening, arrive home in time for work. He actually reckoned you felt better for it, than staying at home.

aliceg
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Post by aliceg » Sun Nov 06, 2005 11:57 am

I moved to London from Dublin after just starting to paddle - so naturally I thought that all paddling would grind to a halt.

Fortunately a friend from Ireland pointed me in the direction of Imperial College Canoe Club. It actually helped my paddling - I met a lot of really keen paddlers. You'd be amazed at how many rivers they can squeeze into a weekend when you know that it's going to be at least 3 weeks until you get out again (with Poke probably holding the record). We go to N. Wales and Devon generally (and Croyde far more of a complete mission from London).

Check out the Imperial message board or my email address is:

a DOT grogan AT ucl DOT ac DOT uk (leaving out the spaces)

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God
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Post by God » Sun Nov 06, 2005 3:45 pm

I dont claim to live in London but I dont live far away but the great thing about london is there so many people and there so much transport (wether you love it or hate it) There loads of boaters who live around it so you can get to them with ease if you dont have a car, which is slightly harder to have when living in central london.

So then it is to the marvoulas world of road trips 3 hours to the dart, 3 hours to south wales, 5 hours to north wales and head of for the weekend with a couple of mates to share petrol. And Hay Presto an awesome boating weekend away with your mates

Though of course there always hurley and shepperton what else do you need (joke)

You just need some freinds, but then who doesn't

Jak

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Martyn Read
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Re: London based paddlers - How do you cope?

Post by Martyn Read » Sun Nov 06, 2005 9:02 pm

TomW wrote:P.S. Is Hurley floodlite at night?
Nope... Well there are some lights on it, but they shine upstream.

Anyway don't let this put you off. I have been paddling at Hurley in the dark. I have some friends who do it regularly, and believe that it is fairly common.

Your eyes get used to the dark, I would just suggested you get some lights for your BA and boat, so your friends can spot you.

You also need to be confident that you won't swim as that would be interesting.

Martyn

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James F
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Post by James F » Mon Nov 07, 2005 7:41 am

Try to live in West London if you can and everything will be fine. I paddle much more, and with a better quality, here than when I lived within an hour of the Pennines.

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Post by richardlsharpe » Mon Nov 07, 2005 8:53 am

I lived pretty much in London for 3 years and it has to be said my paddling suffered.

That being said, there are weirs all over the place - Dobbs Weir in Hoddesdon was my favourite for convenience and nice paddle people.

Nene is only an hour away from the M25. its fine for what it is.

Hope that was helpful

R

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Ed Hopper
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Post by Ed Hopper » Mon Nov 07, 2005 9:15 am

Yep, do what James suggests - work in the City but try and get a place out to the West. Trying to get across London from the east is a nightmare.

I know one chap who comes out from that neck of the woods to paddle Hurley and he has to leave home at something like 6am on a Saturday to get across to the weir in less than an hour. If he leaves after that it takes 2 hours+ or something like that because of the traffic.

Once you've had a few goes on the Thames Weirs this winter I'm confident that you will find them to be an acceptable distraction between weekends when you can bring yourself to drive to Wales / SW etc.


Laters,



Ed.

Taz dancer
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Post by Taz dancer » Mon Nov 07, 2005 11:00 am

If you fancy kayaking on the tidal thames in central London,no white water but lots of tidal currents,pier pilings and boat wakes to fool around with.

http://www.towerhamletscanoeclub.co.uk/

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Post by Jules » Mon Nov 07, 2005 11:41 am

You think London is bad, you should try Norwich!
Sadly there is no easy solution. You just have to bite the bullet and spend 8 hours + each weekend driving. My advice, buy a comfortable car and shares in BP!

Just remember, the enjoyment of a river is proportional to the amount of time you were stuck on the M4 getting to it!

Jules

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Airmiles
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I'd second Regents

Post by Airmiles » Mon Nov 07, 2005 10:00 pm

.. but then I'm biased :-> Seriously, we do PeakUKs, Alps, Slovenia, Norway, Slalom, surfing - not too many Hurley-ites but that's because most people live N and E.

We're based about 10 mins walk from Angel tube.

The best place to live for paddling access would be somewhere in the Stamford Brook, Hammersmith, Acton area - easy access to both M4 and North Circ.

Apart from the weirs, it's an easy trip to the mid-Wales area - rivers like the Tawe, Mellte, Irfon are under-sung gems, and it's one of my favourite landscapes in the UK. And of course the Gower for surfing.

I'm the only RCC member who regularly posts on here, but Jim Hastings lurks. Polly Miller is a good friend and active W London paddler.

I'm out of action at the moment (shoulder) but drop me a line when/if you arrive & I'll put you in touch.

Cheers

Miles

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Poke
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Re: I'd second Regents

Post by Poke » Mon Nov 07, 2005 10:23 pm

Airmiles wrote:I'd second Regents.. but then I'm biased :-> Seriously, we do PeakUKs, Alps, Slovenia, Norway, Slalom, surfing - not too many Hurley-ites but that's because most people live N and E.
Well, if we're having a destinations competition ICCC have a pretty impressive record from the past few years.... ;-)

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Airmiles
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True....

Post by Airmiles » Mon Nov 07, 2005 10:30 pm

..but then Tom's entering the adult world ;->

Yep, that's the one. She's based in Hammersmith.

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thetangoman
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Hurley by night...

Post by thetangoman » Tue Nov 08, 2005 12:13 am

I can second this option. Hurley by night is definately something I would recommend if you are a confident boater. I would say that some form of lighting (to allow you to be seen, like a glow stick) is a must. It allows your buddies to keep an eye on you.

I have heard that in heavy fog at night is also an experience!

I will be moving back to London next year, and am aiming to live in the Harrow area. I lived there last year, and found it really easy to escape London from - only a couple of miles from the M1 and the A/M40.

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nichburton
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London boating

Post by nichburton » Tue Nov 08, 2005 10:37 am

Nothing new to add, other than that my 6years of London-based-boating supports all the above.

Your job location will probably affect where you live, but definitely try to get out west and live near a major road out of London. 4years of travel from North London was not great (Archway/Highgate->Hurley is 1hr in normal North Circ traffic, often more). Now based on the Metropolitan line in Rickmansworth and can get to Hurley/Chertsey/Shepperton in <30mins. Plus, the Grand Union Canal is a 4min walk from my garage for flat-water practice. :o)

Accomodation is also cheaper the further out you are, so you've more chance of finding somewhere with storage. I've had 2years of storing boats in my flat - never again!

Night paddling is definitely recommended for confident, self-reliant paddlers, although best to check out the weirs in daylight first to understand the hazards (e.g. the trees sweeping the water around the island downstream of Hurley, especially when high). Personally I've never used lights and found that visibility can range from good (able to see right across the weir pool) to awful (unable to see across the wave!).

My first ever Hurley-by-night experiece was 4gates in heavy fog... with an owl... hooting... Ah the memories! :o)

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London clubs

Post by johnn_y » Tue Nov 08, 2005 12:28 pm

I cant remember the name of the club (not a club) but on one of the thursdays in the month a load of kayaks used to get together and invite others to present their trip reports...

Anyone know what it was called?

This was a good place to team up and share driving etc. I was the fittest I have ever been when living in London because of the effort involved in getting some paddling/ climbing in... nearly die a few times on the way home too !!!

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Re: London clubs

Post by Poke » Tue Nov 08, 2005 5:20 pm

johnn_y wrote:I can't remember the name of the club (not a club) but on one of the thursdays in the month a load of kayaks used to get together and invite others to present their trip reports...

Anyone know what it was called?
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Post by Millsy » Tue Nov 08, 2005 6:48 pm

I grew up and learnt to paddle in East London, in the Docklands area, and it used to take us ages to get across london to places like Shepperton, and Chertsey.

I now live in Teddington, and its ace. 5 min walk to Teddington weir, 20 mins to Chertsey, and Shepperton, and can be at Hurley withing 45 mins. And cause I'm on the main line into Waterloo it only takes 40 mins to the big smoke itself.

Then of course its only 3 hours to the Dart. WINNER....
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Post by Vixen » Tue Nov 08, 2005 7:40 pm

I live in south east London, but I usually get away to places at weekends, but sadly it is the wrong side of London, and take about an hour and half to get to hurley etc, but from my college its only 20 mins! Score.

If you move try to live near west London, its much better, also its an awsome job trying to get stuff on public transport, so I advise you not to try it!

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Post by Steve B » Tue Nov 08, 2005 7:46 pm

That explains why there is no paddling on East Enders.
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