Dittons Paddle Boarding
Activity - Safari

Sunday paddle. Constructions and nature.

2nd of June 2019

Four of us set off from New Haw this Sunday morning. I had only met one of the guys before, it is one of the benefits of the club, you can join any of the many organised paddles at any of the locations and you’ll never know who you’ll meet. It was an early start 9am, we calculated the route to be around 20 km, we didn’t know how long it was going to take as neither of us had done this route before. Weather was great, not too hot, not too cold, nor windy.

All pumped up and off we went. The first part we paddled against the flow towards Ripley on the Wey navigation. The navigation is always kept clear and open due to the boating traffic, a few boats passed us and as always they greeted us with a smile.

The new and many scents from all kinds of flowers and plants this time of year is very noticeable. Nature, only just in full bloom, what a great way to be close to it, on a SUP. In all this beauty the first big man made construction we came across was the M25, paddling underneath its enormity becomes very apparent. The whole look with the graffiti is rather impressive.

About 6-7 km up the Navigation, in Ripley at Walsham weir we got off to bypass the weir and from this point we went with the flow.

After the weir the current was obviously a lot stronger, we got carried along nicely in the river. Not for long unfortunately due to a tree and debris right across the river, it seemed as if its been there for some time. There was a little gap to the right and with difficulty and helping each other we managed to get through. Following that we had to lie down on our boards to get through a few low trees hanging and blocking our way. We are now paddling on the river Wey, it is not kept clear and open like the navigation and is not always very deep. Not even deep enough for a SUP, at times we had to get to the front of the boards in order to lift the back to get the fins up and out of the shallow water to be able to pass. Once or twice we had to get off to wade past the shallow parts.

Not actual swan. Borrowed pic.

Obstacles and problem solving like this makes the whole journey a real adventure. This part of the river is very rural and is full of wildlife, at one point we came across 3 swans, suddenly they took off and flew right over us, it was very powerful. I just had to enjoy the moment, it happened so quickly and I wouldn’t have had time to grab my camera for a picture.

The visitors at Wisley gardens happily waved at us when we paddled passed and when passing the golf course one of us picked up 6 golfballs! I wonder how many more there are in the river? We bypassed an other weir and scramble down a bank to get back on the river, we all helped each other handing the boards down the bank etc and further down the river we paddled.

We experienced more wildlife, beautiful gardens and houses, modern constructions like the M25 and listed railway bridges with its impressive arches. By the time we reached Weybridge we were happy to turn the corner back onto the navigation and back towards New Haw. We were all starting to feel the long paddle now, but the achievement felt great.

Now the flow was against us again and the wind had picked up significantly, guess which direction? Yes, against us! In the distance we noticed a Pub where we stopped for a well earned drink.

After the pitstop it was only a short, but windy paddle back to the car park. We did it, we covered just over 20 km in 6 hrs. It was a great paddle and I very much enjoyed every moment of it, thank you for your company guys. Will see you on the next paddle, where ever it might be!

The route.

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