Dittons Paddle Boarding

Twelve Paddle Boarders from Dittons paddled the whole of the Wey Navigation Sunday 10th September 2023, which has become an annual event on the calendar. This is the 4th time Dittons have hosted this event and it has become very popular indeed! A 32km trip along the canal navigating 14 locks starting at Godalming Wharf and finishing on the Thames at Elmbridge Canoe Club.

It was a nice early start 8am and a lovely morning, we were in the September heat wave! It was going to be hot, hot, hot so lots of sun cream applied, hats adorned and lots of water taken on board our SUPs.

We kept the pace slower than previous years to adjust to the heat and every lock was a delight! It was great to meet new members and we all moved around to talk to different people, it also helps take your mind of the distance you are doing!

As it was hot we had a few swim stops to cool us down. Most on purpose but a few accidental! We made our half way point to the New Inn at Send around 1pm which meant time for a rest, refuel and toilet break. Two people finished the safari here which is always an option if you only want to paddle half the Wey.

After 40 minutes we got back on the water for 2nd half of the journey. It had become very muggy so a few more dips in the canal were required.

We had the water to ourselves near enough, as Paper Court lock was closed for repairs, so no barges or boats, it was great!

We got to the Anchor in Pyrford and a few of us stopped for a well deserved ice cream before we paddled the longest stretch of the Wey without a lock which is roughly 5K.

We finally reached New Haw lock and then it is only a short distance to Thames Lock, the home straight to Weybridge on the Thames.

We arrived at Elmbridge Canoe Club about 6pm and then a few had a much deserved swim!

Thanks to everyone who joined the Safari. Great company and great weather, what more could you ask! If you want to join us next year look out for the date in the calendar, it is usually the 1st/2nd week of September.

Bit of Karaoke always makes the Safari go quicker!

With the lighter evening and warmer weather the Social Paddling season has really got underway. We have two main locations, The Albany in Thames Ditton where we have four routes to choose from and The River Wey where there are five plus locations that we paddle from. We also have the Kingston, Weybridge and West London locations as well that run from time to time.

Sunset at Hampton Court Bridge
Sunset at Hampton Court Bridge

All the Social Paddles are Peer Paddles and are run by members who volunteer to be the meet and greet person. If you are a member and would like to volunteer to be one of these valuable volunteers, please contact us on Discord or via the contact form. You will not be responsible for the other paddlers, you will just be the person to meet and greet the other paddlers and discuss where to go.

Calm Waters on the Thames at Weybridge
Calm Waters on the Thames at Weybridge

The Socials are so rewarding. The evening ones after a long day are a perfect way to relax and take in the nature around you. Perfect for your Mental Health, Mindfulness and Wellbeing.

Social Paddling passed Hampton Court Palace
Social Paddling passed Hampton Court Palace

The Sunday Socials are a little different as depending on the group, they can head downstream to Kingston for Coffee or as we did the other weekend turn into a Mini-Safari, when we headed up the Rivers Mole and Ember. This is a little gem of a paddle and No Motorboats!

Floating down The Mole
Floating down The Mole

Come and join us on one of our Socials, we never leave anyone behind.

Ok, now I have your attention, you will have to read down to see if we went in 😎

Paddling west on the Grand Union Canal
Paddling west on the Grand Union Canal

As mentioned in a previous blog, Social Paddling is at the heart of what we do. We have a small but growing Group in West London, lead by Anna and Andy. They are out most weekends and one evening a week during the main Summer months, weather permitting.

Anna passing the Paddington Branch
Anna passing the Paddington Branch

On Spring Bank Holiday, a small group of adventurers decided to paddle on another part of the Grand Union Canal that was rarely visited. We met at Norwood Green Lock, Southall. Pumped up and headed West.

We had a following wind pushing us along at a go pace. Passed the back gardens of suburban homes, commenting on the variety of them all and how some embrace the Canal and some ignore it all together. This first stretch is a mix of suburban houses and flats.

Grand Union in late Spring
Grand Union in late Spring

Soon we were passing Southall Green with people out enjoying the weather and exercising. People walking along the towpath and interested to see us out on the water. I guess they don’t have many Paddleboarders out this way.

After the park we came to a more industrial area, where some of the old factories and warehouses were being replace with more blocks of flats. However, we were surprised to see that some recent blocks had ignored the canal and left the bank to return to nature and not use some of it as a resource for the residences.

Paddling Back to the Pub
Paddling Back to the Pub

Passed Hayes High Street we went and onward west. Google showed what appeared to be a café and a waterside pub. Being Surrey Paddlers we are spoilt by the wonderful waterside pubs we have. We missed the Woolpack Pub as it was high on the bank behind bushes, and nearly missed the Café. It too was high on the bank.

Helen went to investigate and came back to say it was closed and was just a Caf’ for the industial estate. So it was back to find the Woolpack. I hoped off my board and headed up the path and as soon as I saw the pub I laughed, took the picture below and returned to Helen, Anna and Stephen. I explained what I had seen and showed them the photo. If they were happy to go in, then who was I to stop them!!

The Woolpack pub
The Woolpack pub

After the hilarity had died down we decided that this time going into a Strip Club in full paddleboarding gear might not be the best thing to do 😁🤪

We headed back to Hayes High Street and stopped in at The Old Crown, and although they didn’t do food, they let us bring some in from one of the many shops in the excellent high street.

Picture of 4 people having a takeaway lunch
Can you see what we had?

After lunch, it was just the small matter of paddling into the Easterly Wind, which wasn’t to bad and there was lots of shelter. Apparently, we did it in the same time as the Westward journey. We really must have enjoyed the SUP Sail in the morning ⛵🏄‍♀️

Beautiful Spring Colours on the Grand Union Canal
Beautiful Spring Colours

West London is an interesting and at times beautiful place to paddle. It can also be very urban. But it is never dull and I thoroughly recommend giving it a go and joining one of our West London Social Paddles over the Summer. Checkout the Calendar for details.

Social Paddling is at the heart of what we do at Dittons Paddle Boarding. It is fun and friendly. We never leave anyone behind and the faster paddlers tend to paddle around the slower ones. Sort of interval training.

Paddling in Kingston
Paddling in Kingston

This years main evening paddles have started later than normal, due to the abysmal Spring weather. However, the sun is slowly showing its face and we are getting out on the water and exploring the Water World around us.

Round Ravens Ait
Round Ravens Ait

We have started the Tuesday Evening Paddles from The Boaters Inn, next to the Kingston Rowing Clubhouse in Canbury Gardens, north Kingston. There is free parking on the road from 6.30pm. From here we can go either up or down stream. Both routes have their interest and we add in some of the backwaters and side channels for fun. Going up to Ravens Ait is always fun as we get to see the large sailing boats – Thames A-class Raters – flying about. Sometimes they come very close but never touch. They are very skilled sailors.

A Paddler heading upstream to Hampton Court
heading upstream to Hampton Court

The Thursday evening Socials from our Home Base at The Albany have also started. Here we mainly head upstream to either the “Second Weir” and then down round The Island, Thames Ditton or up over the rollers to the Molesey – Sunbury section and paddle up to Hampton. In the early Autumn, the sunsets are amazing.

Paddling under Hampton Court Bridge at Sunset
Paddling under Hampton Court Bridge at Sunset

The other route we occasionally use in high summer, is to head up The Mole and onto The Ember. This is a totally different paddling experience.

Paddlers heading upstream to Hampton Court
Heading downstream to Hampton Court

We will be starting our Weybridge Wednesdays in the next couple of weeks. At this location there are at least 3 distinct routes and the most fun one on High Summer evenings is to head up to The Abbey Stream at Chertsey.

Paddling the River Mole
Paddling the River Mole

We also paddle from Thames Ditton on most Sunday Afternoon’s. If you haven’t been on one of our Social, then why not come and join us on the next one. Details on our Calendar Page.

What to do on a Beautiful Easter Sunday? Well go and explore the Brentford Branch of the Grand Union Canal. The Canal is part of the area of our West London Group. I had never been and had hear great things.

Setting up

We parked in Trumpers Way, Hanwell, where there is free parking at certain times of the day. Please check the sign posts to make sure you don’t get a ticket. Once set up we walked down to the bridge and launched under the bridge. There is a low access point here.

Then it was down stream to Brentford. Initially the canal is quite Urban, but that quickly gives way to lightly wooded banksides and the birds that they attract.

Paddling on the Brentford Branch
Paddling on the Brentford Branch

There is plenty to see along the way, with narrow boats moored up and attractive bridges crossing the canal. The Spring sunshine had brought out the walkers and families. It was great to be out after all the March rain.

Brentford Bridges
Brentford Bridges

The route from Trumpers Way to Brentford has a couple of Locks to pass, with reasonable access to the water either side. After the last lock Brentford comes into view with it’s modern office blocks and pleasant parks. They are improving Brentford a lot with lots of new building taking place. A location to consider if wanting to move to West London.

Brentford Parkland
Brentford Parkland

We decided to stop in the Brentford Basin, which has been redeveloped into a marina with cafés and shops. The canal it’s self continues on for another kilometre or so to it’s junction with the River Thames. We had brought a picnic to make the most of the weather.

Picnic in Brentford
Picnic in Brentford

Finally, it was time to head back as there was decorating and gardening to be done and all those other Easter Sunday activities. It was a wonderful paddle and a route I will come back to with our West London Group.

If you are a paddler and would like to join our West London Group on an outing one evening over the summer, why not sign up to our Discord channel and get updates. They will also be posting on the club calendar very soon.

1 Nov 21 By Brett Scillitoe

We have been having Halloween Paddles since our first year 2017 and they have been fun, select groups. This year was something else. With a lot more new friends (that’s what we are at Dittons Paddle Boarding – Friends), it was time to Party.

I arrived in The Albany car park to be met with all sorts of creatures and ghouls. Some quite hideous! And it was half an hour to pump up time. To say they were keen is something of an understatement.

Very soon we were ready to go, the early arrivers were out on the water and scaring the birds and amusing the pub customers. Especially when they walked through the dinning area. There were Witches, skeletons, ghosts, Frankenstein, a shark, a Dead Mexican Mariachi Band member, the Joker or 2, a Pink Flamingo, to name but a few. It was hard at times to workout who was who. Some I didn’t recognise until I got back to the pub!!!

There were lights of all descriptions lot make sure that we adhered to the river rules of showing a light. Well, there were loads of lights!!

First, we headed up to Hampton Court Palace to say hello to Henry’s ghosts. He created a few! And then under the bridge to scare the drivers and pedestrians.

We then headed downstream and round Thames Ditton Island to The Olde Swan to scare their punters. Finally, we were blown back upstream to The Albany for the Party to begin.

We had drinks and a pre ordered meal and lots and lots of laughs. Whoever said Halloween was for kids. They haven’t met the members of Dittons Paddle Boarding. We know how to have fun.

If you would like to have fun and come paddle boarding with us, why not Become a Member.

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