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Thread: WW practice on Thames weirs?

  1. #1
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    Default WW practice on Thames weirs?

    Not sure if this is the best part of the site to post this but here goes. I went on Amelia's first beginners' introduction last week and really enjoyed it. However I am in dire need of practice (I seemed to get into eddies a bit further downstream than the ones I was heading for). Realistically, the only way I can do this over the next few weeks would be somewhere in my area. Are there any of the Thames weir streams that are suitable for practicing at a fairly basic level?

    If the answer is yes, is this something that folks would like to do as a meeting, say one Saturday for a half day? If so I could post something on the relevant section.

  2. #2
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    I believe that Hurley weir is meant to be the best on the Thames for this sort of thing. Probably a good idea to check out what sort of levels the water needs to be first though. I have no experience, so cannot answer that last bit.

    Richard.
    You don't stop playing because you are old, you get old because you stop playing.

  3. #3
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    Can't offer much advice on Thames weirs as I've not seen any of them, except that I suspect Hurley would be too much for a novice open boat, here it is on 2 gates (can go up to 4):



    I would also add that you can very usefully practise whitewater skills on flat water, and I reckon if you kept working on your forward power strokes and turn sequences the next time you get on whitewater you'll find everything much easier.

    If you PM me your email addy I can email you a few notes, including some exercises to try etc.

    There's some info on Thames weir playspots here.
    Last edited by Amelia; 22nd-October-2008 at 08:45 PM.
    'Of all the paths you choose in life, make sure some of them are wet'

  4. #4
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    I know I may sound biased but for you Garth Marlow might be the most suitable weir. It has a good flow throughout the year with a well defined river right eddy line and a less well defined river left. It works well for ferries, high crosses, break ins and outs but not so good for reverse ferries.

    I agree that Hurley wouldn't do, it has great waves and holes for freestyle kayaking but the wave train is very boily and unpredictable, not good for training. Temple, the next one up from Marlow is a nasty anti-scour but there is a section which has a small, freindly but grippy stopper which can be great for side surfing and edge control practice.

    Unless I am away, I will generally be at Marlow on Sunday mornings and would be pleased to host any visitors. Shooting the main weir is a great rush first time down.


    Edit: Just looked at Amelia's link. Don't believe what they say about Marlow, this is written from a skilled kayaker's perspective. I have been on the weir only a few times when it is really high and it is not suitable for canoes at that level.

  5. #5
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    Plug for Shepperton - Amelia's link says high water only - what it fails to mention is the variety of different features suitable for relatively low water playing.

    Launch from the steps below the front weir and there is a ladies rowing club on the south bank - this is by the mouth of a small river known locally as "Paintworks" - this stream has a good supply of different types of eddy.

    Cross the outfall from the front weir, paddle upstream keeping the island on your right and you come first to a different small rowing club (on the south bank) with another smaller stream having quite good left and right eddies. Moving on upstream brings you to the "back weir" - again a good spot with a variety of different features at different water levels.

  6. #6
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    I plan to be a regular visitor to the Thames this winter to consolidate my moving water skills.

    I am always happy to have company. I will post when I am likely to be about.

    Bushcraft Survival and First Aid Training.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the info, DougR and Adrian. Since I live in Marlow, that weir sounds good to try. For me Sunday mornings clash with sailing (priority review needed!) although we quite often get autumnal mornings when there's no wind so I may take advantage of your hospitality, Adrian. Wayne, I'll look out for your posts.

    Garth

  8. #8
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    I would go with Adrian's advice as the local Open boat Thames weirs expert as most of the internet based weir guides will be written with kayakers, and specifically small playboats, in mind. That said there is also a nice little white water "flume" available just downstream of Marlow lock in addition to the weir which can be used for white water training, though you sometimes need to be aware of boats moored nearby. Its actually within the lock cut itself so just a few minutes paddle around the lock island from the main weir. A bit further afield, from Marlow but also potentially worth a look as it is very similar is Harefield chutes on the Grand union canal and just inside the M25. If you park in the car park of the coy carp pub it is just opposite. The people in the pub have been very friendly in the past as well and its a nice place for a beer or food afterwards. Advantage of both these places is they run pretty consistently all year round.

    We often use the flume and weir at Marlow with the Scouts and typically paddle up from Longridge to start in the flume in the lock cut, as its gentle, consistent and predictable, then carry up through the lock, paddle across the top of the main weir, shoot it via the stepped section nearest to the compleat angler and then play in the flows at the bottom, before paddling back to complete the circuit. Might be easier to launch above the weir though from the public launch just downstream of the bridge in Marlow centre itself though if you don't have access to Longridge or talk nicely to Adrian and the other nice people at Marlow CC.

  9. #9
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    Thanks Garry. I must look at that bit you mention near Marlow lock. What's the weir like to run? As Adrian knows my boat(s) are wooden and I have always avoided running weirs. It's difficult to see the weir properly from the bridge but there seems to be very little water at the moment. I'll take a look next week.

    Garth

  10. #10
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    The weir is fine to run but I have not done it in a wooden boat or my coracle. The more water the better but when it is really low, I get out above the weir next to the Compleat Angler and line the boat down. I know this sounds daft but there is a little shelf you can step onto whilst holding onto the railings. If you don't want to get washed over the weir standing up, be careful.

  11. #11
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    Default Weirs for white / moving water practice

    I'd love to know if a group is going up to Marlow or one of the other Thames weirs. I need more practice!

    For south coast boaters there is the Woodmill weir in Southampton but only runs when it is not high tide. Don't know how suitable it is for 'learners', I really must spend more time there.

    Brevan
    Brevan,
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