A slide down the Medway

As part of our increasing programme of flat water and touring trips, Addlestone Canoe Club organised another day trip down the River Medway from Tonbridge to Yalding.

The Medway is a great river for a gentle paddle – feeling very remote despite being in the heart of Kent. It’s also enhanced by the addition of canoe chutes to each lock – starting gently, these get more and more exciting as the day goes on (the last one being too exciting and requiring quite a bit of bailing out of the canoes!).

Another great day out for the club members.


Bank Holiday Wey

On the May bank holiday, intrepid explorers from the club took on the challenge of an expedition around the Weybridge loop of the River Wey. A trip the previous year had ended in failure due to the vast amounts of Pennywort blocking the way. Thankfully a recce had shown that the Environment Agency had cleared this over the winter due to flooding, so we were raring to give it another go.

The Weybridge loop is approximately 20km, starting from the club and heading up the navigation initially, then flowing down the river section of the Wey through Brooklands to Weybridge, before returning up the navigation to the club. One of our groups a few years ago did this trip in reverse, but going downstream with the flow of the river seemed like a better plan for us!

The section up the navigation was a gentle warm-up, with only a couple of locks to portage, but also the chance to pop in for a cup of coffee at the Anchor pub at Pyrford lock.

This section of the Wey is full of variation, from the noise and graffiti under the M25, past farmland and equestrian fields, and then out into wilderness and flood plains.

Lunch number 1 was had before the drop from the navigation to the river. Thankfully the boats were lightened by this, as the drop into the river was more exciting for some than others.

Despite the occasional shower of rain, the river section was a pleasant gentle float down with the flow. with very few strainers or obstructions. And thankfully very little Pennywort.

Second lunch was had at Byfleet Mill, before the final stretch down through Brooklands to the navigation.

There was one major obstruction in Brooklands, with a pair of trees completely blocking the route. A bit of clambering got us over that though.

In total it took about 6 hours of paddling to complete the journey, and a great day out was had by all.


Day trip down the Medway

Sunday saw about 20 of our members travelling to Kent to enjoy a paddle down the River Medway.  We paddled from Tonbridge to Yalding, approximately 13km through the day, with a stop for lunch (and a few breaks for snacks!) on the way.

For those who haven’t paddled this stretch, there are six locks on the way, each of which has a canoe chute to enable canoes and kayaks to safely navigate the weirs without having to get out of the boats. 

Each chute is graded in difficulty. It starts with easy drops graded as 1 (blue), progresses through some medium drops labelled 2 (red), before a final mighty drop graded 3 (black).

There needed to be a short break to bail out some of the canoes after this, before a gentle paddle to the tea shop at Yalding.