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By Erik Rasmussen
  • M59 of 2019
    Kings Reach - Blackfriars Bridges - 1 2 3 Arch Closures
  • M58 of 2019
    Bow Creek - Canning Town Road Bridge - Arch Control

Beachy Head – 5 Aug 2018

An email went out to the club on the Sunday 29 July when it poured with rain to see who was around a week later & interested to paddle. Wonderfully – Sunday 5th August turned out to be a lovely sunny day. Liza, Tudor & Fiona met to load up boats at Kew at 8am to head down to Eastbourne and join Paul. We set off at low tide (approx. 11am) after luckily securing car parking places in the carpark next to the Wish Tower slip way. We were lucky with the weather – sunny, and force 2-3 winds.

At low tide it was good to see a fair amount of the ledges which run away from Beachy Head cliffs and to the east of the headland underneath the sea. These ledges create a bit of chop, and then once we were over them the sea completely flattened.

The scenery is magnificent as the Beachy head lighthouse, then the extent of the soaring white cliffs come into view, then the lighthouse on the cliffs, and finally Birling Gap. We were surprised to see no body on the beach at Birling Gap, save for two walkers on the beach. It turned out that there had been a major slump of the rocks and so the access to the beach had been closed.

We therefore had a blissfully quiet lunch where some of us chose the shade from the steps & others continued enjoying the lovely sunshine. On our way back, the land access to Beachy Head lighthouse was covered over, and we were able to see that the lighthouse door was closed.

We paddled back over the ledges and noticed they were not generating the amount of chop expected given it was now wind against tide. The gold dome on Eastbourne’s pier gleamed as we rounded the corner, and soon the Wish Tower became distinguishable, amongst the much taller buildings which look over the sea front.

We got back before our car parking tickets ran out (!), loaded up boats & then enjoyed an ice-cream, from one of several kiosks on the sea front.

During the day we had F2 winds from the east, a flat sea state, and the maximum flow we were going to have was ~1 knot. The flow started to flow to the east at 12 noon.

All in all, a happy paddle.

Paddling into a Constable painting – 27-29 July

Harwich for the continent, Margate for the incontinent – as the saying goes. So Harwich it was. Four of us – Philippa, Richard, Liza and I – had been lured by the Essex backwaters, described by folk who know as one of the last wild places in southern England.

Our weekend had been prefaced by day after day of roasting hot weather and flat calm so I had visions of rolling lazily to cool off. It was not to be. On the Friday night soon after I reached the Castle Inn where we were camping the site turned into a scene that would have done credit to a King Lear production – lightning played over the roofs, the wind moaned in the trees and the heavens opened. 

I tried to remember an article about kayak safety in lightning storms which had circulated on Facebook a few weeks previously. Fortunately, however, the problem did not emerge. In the morning the sky had cleared, and from Harwich beach the national nature reserve at Horsey Island which we aimed to go round looked like a relaxing paddle. 

We had reckoned without the wind. It hadn’t dropped. With much of the east coast the big problem is mud which, if you get stuck on it, is, at best, inconvenient, and, at worst, lethal. Our plan depended on getting through the shallow channels at Horsey soon after high water at 1pm. But after half an hour of paddling into the teeth of a 30mph headwind it was obvious we had no chance of reaching the island on schedule. Time for a rethink. 

The big estuaries with their mouths at Felixstowe and Harwich were the obvious fall back. We loaded up the kayaks and launched higher up the Stour. It was Swallows and Amazons territory – with a river over a mile wide, tributaries to explore, and a choice of waterside pubs for when we finished playing. But as the tide fell and the river narrowed, the expanses of mud grew wider. We  found an extra gear, and our gentle potter got quicker and more determined as we headed for solid ground. Then it was time for fish and chips which we ate while watching the river turn into a narrow trickle. 


Sunday was just as stormy so we headed up the Deben valley. Trees hung over the river, fishermen and houses were absent, warblers darted into the reeds while herons looked on suspiciously, and a swimmer heading our way was one of the few people we saw. Around a corner a mill appeared, so lovely it could have been a painting. Then the penny dropped – we were passing Flatford Mill made famous by Constable.

Now it’s a National Trust property and suddenly we were surrounded by hordes of visitors. Not sure I was pleased to see them but the luxuries of a National Trust tea room compensated.

And that was that. It was back to the cars, away from Constable country, and away from the throngs come to worship.

Meanwhile, Horsey Island remains to be explored – as does the weird and strange spit of land that is Orford Ness. Tides look good for the weekend of 29-30 September, and the Castle Inn remains a convivial campsite.

I’m going back. Anyone fancy joining me?

CKC trip to Dartmouth: a weekend of rockhopping & wildlife spotting

Dartmouth trip – 28th  June – 1 July 2018

CKC returned to Dartmouth at the end of June & had two fabulous days of paddling. Tim, Richard H, Philippe, Phillipa, Fiona & visiting Danish paddler Jakob arrived Thurs eve at Sea View Campsite Devon. Jakob has kindly helped host CKC trips to Denmark in previous years. This year the campsite had left part of the campsite grass un-cut to enable birds to nest. So we were treated to the song of larks hovering above us.

Friday 29 June – Phil, a local Dartmouth paddler accompanied us. First we took Jakob past Dartmouth’s mermaid statue, before heading out to sea. We then paddled out to Mew Stone rocks, where seals were lounging on rocks, or following us curiously as we paddled through the rocks. We returned to the estuary, stopped for lunch on the east side; before crossing the channel and paddling to Blackpool (Devon!) beach with the flow. We persevered up the shingle beach up to the café, spurred on by tales of how delicious the ice cream was! At the café we found ourselves – dressed in wetsuit shorts, helmet (forgotten to take off) – mingling with wedding guests who were looking stunning (despite perspiring) – it felt quite incongruous. We managed a tiny bit of frisbee on the shingle beach – but struggled with the gradient of the beach! On our return paddle we rock-hopped back & found the passage behind some very tall rocks, which enabled us to take short-cut back into Dartmouth.

Saturday 30 June – we headed across the upper Dartmouth ferry, to Brixham, with David, a local paddler to do a one way paddle. We launched from the small beach east of Brixham’s breakwater. The paddle from Brixham out & round Berry head was lumpy, and then the sea state reduced for the rest of our paddle. We paddled underneath the largest guillemot colony on the south coast on the north side of Sharkham point. It was fabulous to watch the striking white & black guillemots come & go.

Despite the mixed gender of our group we landed (avoiding surfers & swimmers) and had lunch at Man Sands! Before Mew Stone rocks we split into two groups. Richard & Philippe returned to Dartmouth, so that they could get back to Philippe’s van before the carpark ticket in Brixham ran out. The rest of the group had a leisurely visit to see the seals at Mew Stone and paddle into Dartmouth. Thanks are due to David’s wife and Richard & Philippe for doing the drop off/car shuttle to enable the one-way paddle. In the evening we headed to Start Bay Inn to sample some of its delicious sea food.

Sunday morning we woke up to the sound of rain on the tents. Lightening could be seen out to sea, slowing heading inland. Since had had two warm & sunny paddling days, we abandoned plans to do a half day paddle on Sunday, which would have been in solid rain, to preserve memories of our lovely sunny-paddling days!

Thanks to Tim, Phil & David from Dartmouth for their welcome, enabling us to use a couple of DYC kayaks and good company on the water.

CKC Poole harbour trip 15-18 June

CKC club trip to Poole Harbour organised by Liza.
An over-riding feature of the weekend was a steady Force 4 wind from SW sometimes gusting to F5/F6. So we had stretching paddles within the harbour! On Saturday Izzy, Liza, Lorna, Janice, Paul, Jacqui, Richard H, Richard M, Fiona, Geors paddled and explored the Southern coastline along to Round island, and back.

Sunday we did a clockwise circumnavigation around Brownsea island. On both afternoons we took the opportunity to practice some skills in the sheltered water near Goathorn.

Huge thanks to Liza for organising a great weekend & making us feel so welcome.


Summer Sunshine on Kew to Hampton Ct 26 May – GoCanoeing

Thanks to Tim, Richard, Philippa, Philippe & John for a lovely paddle down to Hampton Court in sunny weather. We clocked 22 miles for BC’s Go Canoeing week. Ice creams with dubious coloured sauces were consumed! We got to go over the Teddington rollers, and past many goslings & ducklings. Mad kayakers and Englishman go out in the mid-day sun, equals fun!




Looking forward to summer paddles – GoCanoeing week

Paddling the Thames is always interesting during the year.
Photo from a happy February paddle with Richard, Philippa, Geors, Janice & Fiona.

Now looking forward to warmth and longer hours of daylight! Do join Sat 26 May paddle to Hampton Court – celebrating GoCanoeing week.


CKC AGM 22 Feb 2018 Agenda & Motions


Thurs 22 Feb 2018 7pm onwards

Upstairs at The Nell of Drury pub, Catherine St, WC2B 5JS. 



  1. Apologies for Absence
  2. Matters arising from the previous years minutes
  3. Chairpersons Report / Summary of the year
  4. Reports from Committee Members
  5. Presentation of CKC Accounts & appointment of auditor
  6. Review of the Club Membership fee (See below)
  7. Motions for consideration by the Members (See below)
    • Change to AGM date
    • Removal of references to Cremorne Centre
  8. Election of new Committee Members
  9. Any Other Business

After the formal close of the AGM the plan is for members to discuss trips that they would like to do and organise for the club.


Agenda item 6 – Review of Club membership fee



CKC Membership Levels

Basic  Fees  (for CKC members who don’t need to borrow CKC kit)           remain £35 / £37+


The Motion the AGM needs to vote on is for:

Full Fees  change from being £85 / £87+   to      £95/ £97+    when paid between 1st April to 31st August.

  • An early-bird discount of £5 applies if full-fee member joins before 1stApril (so the fees are £90/£92+)
  • The Late-comer full fee membership starts on 31stAugust when the fees for the remainder of the membership year are: £60/£65+
  • + indicates a £2 charge for non-BCU members.


Agenda item 7   Change to the constitution

VOTE 1A & 1B) To change the AGM date – clause 12 in the Constitution:




  1. The Annual General Meeting (AGM) shall be held in the winter October or November of each year.


  1. There shall be laid before the meeting a statement of accounts made up to the 31st day of the month of January immediately preceding.


VOTE 2) to remove references to Cremorne Centre – clause 11 in the Constitution



  • Boats and equipment owned by Cremorne Riverside Centre (“the Centre”) may be used during weekly Club Sessions but may not be used for other purposes without specific permission obtained from the Club Committee via the Centre


11.2 1   Damage to Centre or Club boats and equipment must be reported immediately to the Kit Officer.


The numbering in section 11.


11.6  5     Club Members will be liable for any damage or loss to Centre or Club boats and equipment which the Club Committee considers has been caused by negligence on the part of the user.

CKC hosts Adventurer & Sea Kayaker Freya Hoffmeister Mon 5 Feb 2018 eve, Chiswick, London

We have organised a great opportunity to listen to a incredible international paddler, Freya Hoffmeister… an amazing Woman – on Mon 5th Feb evening, short walk from Turnham Green tube station.

Freya’s London talk about the 1st Kayak Circumnavigation of South America…. an Amazing 27,000Km!!! will be the 1st event of her UK & Ireland Talking Tour.
It will be a great evening, that will not only interest Sea Kayakers but anyone wanting to hear about expeditions, adventures and the outdoors!

Please Share with anyone/clubs you think will be interested:

The Eventbrite Link for Tickets is:

Freya Hoffmeister has circumnavigated Iceland, New Zealand South, Ireland, Australia and South America.

She is now on her way around North America, and is happy to share her exciting paddle stories around her second continent, lovingly titled the “Southern Island” – South America!

This circumnavigation was a huge undertaking, roughly 27000 km, with Freya averaging around 45km per day on the water over the 44 months of the expedition.  Visit for a flavour!

Freya has been awarded the “World Paddle Award”, became the “European Adventurer of the Year! and the “National Geographic’s Adventurers of the Year”.

The evenings presentation will start @ 7pm and is spread over three hours and shall include a thirty minute refreshment break, Q&A session and a book signing at the end for those who may wish to read more about her adventures.

Please come early and take the opportunity to enjoy the tasty food and refreshments that are on offer in this lovely Fullers Pub. Many thanks to George IV and Fullers Brewery for supporting this event.

Please purchase your tickets through Eventbrite here – to secure your place and enable us to set up the room appropriately

Please spread the word for what will be a great & unique evening =:)

14-17 July Kayaking from Dartmouth

Thirteen CKCers had an excellent long weekend on the 14/15/16/17 July at Dartmouth.

The trip was significantly helped by members of the Dartmouth canoe club, (more properly the Yacht club as they are a section of that). So we were able to paddle from their base.
We were all camping, most of us at a site near Slapton sands, a shortish drive away. Two members of the DYC Timothy and Jonathan came out to the camp on the Friday evening to introduce themselves, and suggest a plan for the weekend, based on weather and tides. To save those gradually arriving from long journey from London from starving Tim from CKC got us take aways from Tor Cross pub. =:)

Saturday 15 July: Drove in convoy to the base, which turned out to be an outdoor boat park in Dartmouth, that had all the necessary amenities, toilets, water tap, and a nearby cafe, and all just over the road from the slipway.

Janice christened her new boat, and she had even brought champagne for us all to celebrate. =:)

CKC & Floyd & host Tim M DYC

Jonathan from DYC led us down to the mouth of the river treating us en-route to his extensive knowledge of local history, we then turned right(west)and then onto the sea proper. We continued paddling enjoying some quite good swell until we reached a shingle beach called Blackpool sands. We landed there and spent an indeterminate amount of time having lunch, chilling, some swimming, climbing the rocks, going to the cafe and talking to the RNLI volunteers.

Then paddling back, crossing the mouth of the river and going up the east bank (Kingswear), past all the yacht mariners and back over the river to the slipway.

We then went directly to the pub in Tor Cross, and all ate well!

Sunday – we reconvened at the boat park, and this time headed out of the estuary in 2 groups and then turned east. The timing of our paddle coincided with the tidal range that enabled exploring a cave & going through a tunnel. One group did extensive rock hopping along almost any rock they could find, and the other group going more leisurely enjoying photographing seals and birds which were on the rocky outcrops.


Sunday – we managed to play some frisbee, as well as return to what had became our favourite pub!

Monday – we reconvened as a smaller group at the boat park and this time headed up the estuary. Wonderfully we passed the train line just as the steam train was going past. We paddled past Agatha Christie’s Greenway property which has a boat landing and up to Stoke Gabriel.  Philippa tried out her plastic-cardboard folding kayak. Over lunch some of us tried out her kayak, others practised some skills in warm sunshine. Philippa’s kayak is significantly slower than the other sea kayaks & we enjoyed seeing if we could enable her to kayak with slightly less effort by riding on the wake of an advance & 2 side boats by putting her as the fourth boat at the back of a diamond formation. We landed mid afternoon in time to drive back to London & hopefully miss the worst of the rush hour.

Thanks are due to Dartmouth club members for their kind welcome as well as practical advice and support.
Thanks to Richard Hilson for contributing to this blog.


Eastbourne to Barcombe Mills – 15-16 April 2017

Easter Saturday 15 April 2017 – Alex, Liza, Philippe and Fiona met just east of the Wish Tower in Eastbourne to go around Beachy Head to Cuckmere Haven, then Newhaven and then up through River Ouse to Barcombe Mills– as part of the London to Lands’ End paddling project!

Alex & Liza had already dropped cars off at Barcombe mills which is where we intended to land on Sunday. We had been watching the winds in the run up to Saturday, with the Met Office issuing strong wind warnings for the area but a forecast 24hr window of winds F3-4 gave us our opportunity. However, the possibility of a force 5 or more remained! We could expect a swell of 2-4ft from SW forecast for the 2 days. High tide at Eastbourne and Newhaven was ~3pm.

After photos of us with L2LE mascot Skeg we set off bang on schedule at 2pm.


(Alex handled very sensitively super keen interest of a tourist who wanted come with us just as we were launching!) We were aiming to get to Beachy Head, just as the flow from the east started. Protected from the wind by the cliffs, the sea was calm up to Beachy Head. At Beachy Head there are prominent ledges marked with “overfalls” on charts. This can result in the sea being a bit choppy, especially when there is wind against a fast tide flowing through a constrained space. So the trip timings were planned around when it was most suitable to go past Beachy Head.


When we got to Beachy Head we had spectacular white soaring cliffs above us, and some lumpy water ahead of us, with breaking waves further out to sea. First was Head Ledge, which had the “lumpiest” water and we paddled together as a close group.  We then got used to the choppy water with Liza and I paddling steadily. Our group photographers captured the stunning views and then would catch up us.


This gave Liza and I the opportunity to circumnavigate anti-clockwise the lighthouse at the bottom of Beachy Head. It was noticeably more unnerving having swell and wind behind us going round the lighthouse than when going into the wind.


We then carried on to Cuckmere Haven paddling underneath the brilliant white of the Seven Sisters cliffs, with sea birds and walkers spotted above us! On the way to Cuckmere we heard over the radio the inshore forecast from the coast guard, which included a possible F6 “later” on Sunday.

At Cuckmere we landed ~ 5.15pm on the beach where there were many tourists, majority from the Far East. (We are not quite sure how this spot got onto their tourist itinerary!) We had paddled 7 nautical miles. We had a discussion about whether we would have a snack and then push on for Newhaven that night because of the stronger winds forecast, or stick with the original plan to camp at Cuckmere and then continue to Newhaven on Sunday. With a more detailed forecast, which didn’t anticipate the wind picking up until the following afternoon, we decided to camp as we were tired and Cuckmere was probably a much nicer camping spot. However, we planned to leave earlier on the Sunday morning, to make better use of the tides and reach the shelter of the Newhaven harbour wall and the River Ouse,before the stronger winds arrived.


Saturday evening was magical. The tourists left leaving us alone on the beach. A small amount of driftwood was found to make a fire which was lovely and warming.


Before bed, we walked to the top of the first of the Seven Sisters, where we could see the twinkling lights of Brighton in the distance, below a star filled sky. We camped at the top of the shingle with lovely views from tents out to sea. However the down-side of this was that 3 out of 4 of us didn’t sleep as much as we might have done because the roar of a wave sweeping across a long pebble beach is very noisy! 2 out of the 4 of us were cold in the night – a reminder that it is still April!

Sunday morning initially the wind was calm but we could feel the wind slowly building. We left 9.50am our lovely camping spot fortified with breakfast and hot drinks. Paddling against a head wind from the west we made steady progress. We passed under South Hill, where there might have been some choppy water over the ledge there.  After Seaford cliffs our speed dropped a bit as we came into the bay,the tide having turned against us. We had a go at guessing distances from Seaford cliffs to Newhaven. We were able to see the light at the end of Newhaven’s westerly pier and so assumed that Newhaven wasn’t far away but in fact it was still ~3NM (~6km) away!  The wind was F3 perhaps and building as we paddled to Newhaven. Alex and I had some practice at towing initially in a “V” arrangement which is very sociable if you both have 15m towlines, and then in an in-line tow. As we saw the ferry to Dieppe reversing out of Newhaven harbour we came out of the towing arrangement in case there was some wake. The harbour office had warned the ferry that the wind was now F5 with gusts of F6 on the end of the Western harbour wall, so we had made the right call to start the day paddling earlier.  We landed on the beach to the east of Newhaven’s Eastern harbour wall at ~11.30am.  It was lovely to be in the sun & out of the wind. We had more hot drinks and snacks, or for some lunch #1. Alex’s speedy cooker warmed up some milk for our teas & coffees – luxury!


The inbound tide up the River Ouse started at 12.30pm. At ~1pm we paddled through the concrete lattice structure which makes up Newhaven’s Eastern harbour wall, after Alex got the OK from Newhaven harbour control that there were no commercial traffic in the harbour. The harbour is a working harbour where there is the most amazing pile of scrap metal made up of compressed cars.


After the scrap metal pile on the east came a very new looking incinerator, and then there were fields.  At 1.30pm we got to Piddinghoe where we had lunch #1 or #2 for others. I was grateful to 2 friends for dropping off a bottle of fresh water because I was almost out of clean water. (I’d unwisely used some to rinse pans the night before!)

We then got back on the river at ~2pm. We knew we had an inbound tide at Lewis until ~4pm but were not sure how long we would have the tide after Lewes. So we needed to paddle swiftly, otherwise we might be fighting an out-flowing tide later on. We could very much feel the wind from the West in the wider, exposed parts of the river, and so we needed to use our skegs. Now the inbound tide was now much stronger. Alex mentioned that we were doing 5knots and we’d just past a speed limit sign of 5.5knots! The jet ski and motor boat (I assume) hadn’t seen the speed limit, whilst the lone kayaker going (downstream) against the flow was very much inceeding the speed limit!

We reached Lewes very quickly ~3pm after views of chalk rolling hills, fields, walkers on the river bank, cattle and sheep with lambs. Lewis doesn’t provide welcoming public landing spots. In fact the public landing spot just SW of the road bridge has some steps where access is hampered by an overgrown bush. We did have an option of attempting to get out at grassy river bank just north east of the town. What we did instead was to have a rest rafting up to have snacks and water, whilst gloriously continuing to be taken upstream by the tide!

After Lewes we saw fewer people, and we took a left hand “short cut” down a narrower channel.  From now on we were out of the wind. This was a perfect channel for kayakers – it is easily wide enough for 1 kayaker and we zoomed along dodging the odd tree branch in the water.  When we re-joined the main channel we noticed there was a small weir as the main channel dropped down in height ~0.5ft which perhaps explained why our channel was flowing faster than the main channel. The river proceeded to get narrower, and there were lovely reeds on the banks, and we saw more ducks and swans.


At Barcombe Mills we were not sure were to get out. At the mill area we could see there were kayakers above us –but 3 weirs were separating us from them! It was fun to explore up ever narrower channels possible get-outs – but these were steep, muddy and/or overgrown. We decided to get out under the road bridge which had steps to provide access to the river. This meant a very steep carry up the steps and for the fibre glass boats, carefully pulling them out of the river avoiding the sheet pile wall.

In total we had paddled 22 Nautical miles over the two days averaging ~2.9knots. See tracker below

Many thanks to Alex for planning and leading this lovely trip.

L2LE-10 eastbourne 2 barcombe mills GPS track