It was a warm summer’s morning at Severn Park, Bridgnorth where we met to start our activity for the day canoeing down the Severn. After a brief safety briefing and some initial direction we were led to the vessels we would come to have a love / hate relationship with for the next 3 hours.
Bridgnorth to Hampton Loade
With only seven of us in attendance the split was two, two and three between the three canoes with Andy, Phil and Rich leading the charge into the river. After circling around waiting for everyone to enter the river we were ready for the off. Andy, Phil and Rich made a good start leading the group for some way but the others were clearly saving their energy for the afternoon session. The initial leg of the journey was a six mile (approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes) paddle down to Hampton Loade where we would stop for a spot of lunch and an afternoon drink at the River and Rail pub.
For some of us (me) exercise is not something we participate in often so it wasn’t long into the journey that we started to feel the burn, and not just from the lovely sunshine that we had been graced with for the day, but once we reached the half way mark for the morning session we could see light at the end of the tunnel where a nice cold beverage would be waiting for us and that was all the motivation we needed to power through. Jason and John were hot on the heels of Andy, Phil and Rich by this point and would’ve been much earlier if it weren’t for stopping off to get drinks from the cooler (Fisheye tuck shop) in Dave and Rob’s canoe.
For some (Dave and Rob) there were a few mishaps along the river where shallow waters proved a little too shallow and unfortunately led to Dave getting out and pushing the canoe but it wasn’t long and they were back up and paddling.
Hampton Loade to Arley
After our short break at the pub we were back on the river ready and refreshed for the afternoon leg of the journey down to Arley. Thankfully this was slightly shorter than the morning session but at four and half miles (approximately 1 hour and 15 mins) it was still a hefty workout. Unfortunately at this point Andy, Phil and Rich no longer had the energy they needed to keep ahead (even after the break) so were bringing up the rear but still maintaining a group formation (or maybe the others were holding back).
The second leg had a lot more obstacles than the first with floating hay bales, fishing lines and a lot more shallow waters (which caught quite a few people out) which kept us on our toes and tested our maneuvering skills. At one point people may say that Andy, Rich and Phil had messed up and gone considerably off course but if you ask them they’ll just say they were taking a closer look at that tree due to it’s interesting foliage.
Eventually we reached our final destination of Arley where we finally got to take off our restrictive life jackets and lay down our paddles. With a proud sense of accomplishment we made our way to the Severn Valley Railway station where we would board our train to make our relaxing journey back to Bridgnorth.
Upon getting back to Bridgnorth and making our way back to our cars, the satisfaction of staying dry throughout our whole journey was short lived when the heavens opened and proceeded to soak us through but nothing was going to dampen our spirits as it was definitely another successful Fisheye outing.