It's early on a Saturday morning in August and a group of intrepid paddlers have gathered at the Henley Canoe Club to start the drive to Putney, the put-in for our Tideway Adventure.
After a somewhat overcast start, the clouds gave way to beautiful sunshine to welcome us into London and the paddle began. Paddling with the outgoing tide, on the southern side of the river, we were taken passed iconic sights such as the MI6 building, Battersea Power Station, until the majestic Houses of Parliament appeared in the distance.
This busier stretch of the Thames, frequented by pleasure craft, water busses and working boats alike, made for some interesting paddling. Our little flotilla came up against large washes made by the boats and quick river speeds - this wasn't meant to be a white water trip!
After a navigating around the London Eye we progressed further downstream beyond the HMS Belfast, unit our lunch time target came into view - Tower Bridge. Upon reaching Tower Bridge, the team enjoyed a good pub lunch in the Sunshine at the foot of the amazing structure, whilst we waited for the tide to turn.
A little over an hour gone and we start our journey back upstream on the incoming tide, starting by paddling through the centre arch of Tower Bridge. Certainly a special experience, if not made that little bit more exiting by the ever present boat washes!
Enjoying the sights from another perspective, we progressed on the northern side of the river this time, enjoying further opportunities for plenty of photos and exploring a side to London that few of us get the chance to experience.
A few hours of excellent paddling later and we're back to where we began in Putney, tired but happy. I think it's safe to say that we're all looking forward to our next tideway experience!