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Source to sea - paddle the Thames

EC CommunityJames Hipkiss

Our aim is to travel the 215 miles of the River Thames mainly using a kayak over 5 days. I say mainly using a kayak since the source of the Thames is the size of a small puddle so we will have to hike far enough to be able to get into the kayaks.

Even though it would be comical to see 2 guys and a women shuffling through a puddle in kayaks! From the source we will hike/paddle through 151 miles down the non-tidal Thames to Teddington. En route to Teddington we will have to negotiate over 70 portages, so we won't be getting bored. Once we get to Teddington the river becomes tidal, this is where we have to time it right, so the our first experience of tidal kayaking is not battling against the tide to get anywhere. The tide won't be our only problem as we will have to make sure we steer well clear of larger vessels and piers as the current near these can drag us under the pier, and that would really put a downer on the trip.

After negotiating the tidal Thames we will end the challenge by entering the sea at Southend, Essex. Again, we will have to time the tide right so we aren't battling against it coming to shore. Also if I play my cards right we could end up in Cliffe, Kent which is only 10 miles from my house. Throughout the journey we've opted to stay away from the comfort of the local hotels, hostels or Premier Inns, and decided to camp out under the stars/clouds.