New Year Paddle, Jan 2020

A new year, a new decade, and what better way to start it than with a paddle on the Thames. Seven CKC paddlers set off from Kew Bridge on 4th January, led by Fiona, with the objective of paddling down the river until the tide changed, and then returning with the flow. Conditions were good, no rain or wind to speak of, but for some reason the tide never really changed so the paddle back was harder work than expected. Anyway, 17 miles paddled between setting off at noonish and returning before 6pm with a few stops on the way, was a good effort.

We had a lunch stop at Putney but more memorable was the coffee break at Battersea Reach which was at the end of our downstream paddle. Firstly we had some delicious Palestinian bread (cake), then Fiona took (most of) us to a very friendly Italian family run bar/ restaurant/ coffee shop in Battersea Square that found us a table they didn’t mind us dripping on. A trip to the toilets was rewarded with an opportunity to look at their AstroTurf covered wall dotted with plastic flowers. A home décor style several of us will now be copying. Thanks go to David who selflessly stood on the beach guarding the kayaks while the rest of us warmed up with coffees in the restaurant.

The return journey burnt off more Christmas calories than the downstream leg due to the unexpectedly weak incoming tide, but there were fewer rowers to look out for. One highlight was passing Fulham FC’s ground just as the crowd erupted into applause as the home team went one up against Aston Villa in the FA Cup. We then spent a few minutes trying to guess what was happening on the pitch from the noises coming from the stands. Final score was 2-1 to Fulham, if you’re interested. But I guess if you are interested you already know that! There was also a colourful sunset to keep spirits up on the homeward leg.

Those who didn’t need to rush off after returning to base celebrated the first CKC trip of the year with a swift drink at the Express Tavern . If you ever see raspberry ripple stout on offer at your local I recommend giving it a go. Sounds weird but somehow it works.

Looking forward to more enjoyable trips during 2020.

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