5 September 2021 – By Jo Burne
The club held its second ‘Whole of the Wey’ trip on 5th September. Hosted by the River Wey Tuesday group but open to all DPB to come and SUP the whole of the Navigation.
The Wey Navigation runs from Godalming to the Thames at Weybridge and is 31k (plus a bit on the Thames at the end to get to the car park) and 14 locks. I joined this event last year. I’d only been with the club a few months and managed to do 2/3rds of the Wey. This year I was determined to make the whole trip.
It was an early start. With it being a one-way trip, we had a combination of partners kindly picking people up and lift buddies. I drove to Weybridge to pick up Ed at 7.15am, who left his car there for the return to the start. Then we drove to the start in Godalming at Farncombe Boat house. There were 13 of us setting off at 8.30am. In a couple of groups to make it easier for portage, passing people and comply with the Wey rule of 10 people max!
It was a lovely morning. A little overcast but for September nice and warm and the promise of sun later. The first few Kms we tried to keep up a reasonable pace and they ticked over with the locks coming and going. It was great to get to Guildford – the big major milestone, before a snack and refuel. The group mixed and matched around, a nice pace for chatting and getting to know people who usually paddle in different areas. A few people took our photos with amazement and seeing so many paddleboarders out together.
Going from Guildford to Send the sun started to come out and everything gets really pretty. Lots of locks, bridges, reflections and nature. Occasional sounds of the A3 coming in and out, but mostly peaceful and beautiful. Quite a few barges around, as it was such a nice day at the end of the summer. And, as always on the Wey, a few more locks to negotiate. The lovely nature kept us going while we paddled towards send, keen to get lunch.
We arrived at Send, just over half way, the group straggled out a bit, between 12pm and 12.20pm. There we met four more Dittons Paddlers, who were doing ‘Half the Wey’. We stopped at the New Inn pub in now glorious sunshine. The Half Weyers had set up a paddleboard camp by the riverside and grabbed us a couple of tables by the river. There was an outside bar for beers and soft drinks and we ate our picnics by the river – all very idyllic.
Tempting as it was to sit in the sun, there was another half a navigation to get done! So set off again around 1pm. Layers off, hats on and sunscreen for what was now a pretty hot day for September. Lots more pretty countryside, cows in the river and quite a lot of river weed (but very passable) brought us passed the picturesque Ripley Priory and onto Pyrford. The speedy folks (not me!) were rewarded with time to visit and ice-cream van next to the Anchor pub. The rest of us caught up for a little snack and a quick rest.
Photos 9 and 10
The next section is the longest without a lock, a nice 4.5k of flat and straight (ish) water. A great combination of countryside then passing under the M25 and the columns of graffiti. It was nice to finish this section as it was then onto the home straight. Crossing the road, we headed on towards Weybridge. After our final portage we headed towards the Thames to a really pretty stretch past the posh houses of Weybridge. A very pretty view for the end of the Wey. There’s no-where to park here, so although finished with the Wey we had a final tiring portage through the rowing club and onto the Thames. Where less than a km brought us to Elmbridge Canoe Club at around 4.30pm. Many of us had a dip in the Thames to celebrate – we’d made it! A final trip to the pub for some then headed back to Godalming then home – all feeling rather tired but happy memories of a fab day and pleased we’d completed the “Whole of the Wey”. Hope you can join us next year.