Obviously, I am very out of condition.
Last Saturday Four Musketeers from the ASC set out from Lechlade in canoes to reccy the river as far as tadpole Bridge for the prposed sail next year.
The Swan at Radcot would provide a lunch stop and we would enjoy a leisurely paddle down stream.
We found a little spot below St Johns Bridge on the bend of the river and slipped into the water. Tom knidly loaned me a small red Slalem type canoe, my first real experience at this sport.
We slipped into the water and paddled upstream back toward St Johns Bridge. For some reason the wretched thing would not remain on a straight course!
Half an hour later, I identified that canoeing was not for me! I can only liken it to floating along the river in the most frustrating fashion, while tearing the sinews of bicep muscle, one by one.
My friends, who had assured me that twelve miles was perfectly achieveable for a first timer, led the way. My craft travelled twice the distance as I slewed from one side of the river to another.
It looked such fun as I had watched eager canoeists passing the ASC with apparent ease. Lock by Lock, we dragged the beastly things out of the water and across to the exit ends of them. I desperately tried to pull the elasticated skirt across the cockpit each time.
Water ran down my sleeves adding to the pleasure of the event. Only the thrill of sliding into the water from the jettys saved me from abstaining from canoes for ever.
I am now happy that a Genoa Tri-Sail would be a fair bet for such a trip along this stretch of the Thames. The sometimes tightly meandering river wit it’s many bridges and locks would undoubtedly be a burden in lowering the mast and boom with a full sail.
But next year, I shall enjoy the comfort of a sensible craft, in which I shall be afforded the luxury of stretching out my legs. The joys of seeing wind fill a sail.
TOM, my generous friend! Thank you for the loan of your canoe for the day. Please forgive the ingrattitude. I am afraid I have become the unnacepatable face of our new Adventurers group, being spoiled by the bourgois comforts of the Wayfarer dinghy, I am unworthy.
If anyone reading this article is considering changing to canoeing, please speak to me first! 😯