Friday 18 November 2022 | by Brett Scillitoe
Autumn and Winter paddling can be fun and a lot quieter than Summer. But it comes with its challenges. We look into some of them today.
Sometimes the water can be deceptive about how fast it is flowing. At this time of year and especially if it has been raining over many days the rivers can change their speed very quickly. The ground is sodden and cannot absorb anymore water, so any new rain just runs off the land and into the waterways.
It is always best to check the river height and flow gauges, of which there are now many on the waterway you are thinking of paddling. There is a good website that lists most of them. Gauge Map shows most of the waterways in Britain and has up-to-date links to the flow and river height gauges. Please check before you go out. If there is a staffed lock nearby, ask the Lock-Keeper about flow and river conditions.
The above picture was taken on a Pennywort weed clearance day on The River Mole in January. The event had lots of safety in place and was run by British Canoeing along with the EA. It illustrates the dangers of this time of year.
Branches fall off trees and the summer growth of weed hasn’t died back. Getting snagged is a real danger and for Paddleboarders, it is essential that you wear a quick release waist leash. They are in-expensive and will save your life.
If you can, review the stretch of water you are thinking of paddling and ask advice from local groups on Facebook or other social media. Also, try and take a friend or friends with you. It’s fun and increases all your safety. Better still join a local club or group and go paddling with them.
The river flow at the moment is a little fast for us to run AquaPaddle Hampton – Molesey. However, I have spoken to the EA and it is still possible for the flow to drop sufficient for us to run AquaPaddle. So, please sign up and get ready to paddle. We will make a decision early on Sunday morning. Assume it is happening 😁🤙
If it is cancelled, we will put a message out via Email and on the Hampton – Molesey Discord Channel. If you haven’t signed up to Discord, please do, it’s free and better than WhatsApp and you can choose what you get notified about.
Swansea, has put their 4th December date in Calendar, so if you haven’t been there yet, it’s a great location and a brilliant friendly Crew.
Finally, please do consider giving AquaPaddle a Donation, it all helps pay for your fun and the charity work that we do.