Our Southend AquaPaddle was relocated to our second choice, that being the more serene and scenic location of Hoe Mill Lock situated on the River Chelmer.
With the Estuary being tidal and the last remnants of winter still holding us within its clasp, the weather was to prove too much for all but the most die hard experienced paddlers to endure.
Six experienced volunteers including our Paddle Captain Sarah-Jane Coombes journeyed up to the river to provide adequate cover for those taking part in the fun 5k timed distance.
A pre paddle briefing ensued with the crew before our Time Lord readied themselves and the paddlers before the sound of the klaxon indicated the start.
The paddlers set off with spectators and volunteers offered a birds eye view from either the pontoon nestled among the trees or the bridge above.
The river winds its way down to Ricketts lock 2.5km away and paddlers are treated to a variety of wildlife along the way on and beside the waters edge.
The banks and riverside vegetation offer great protection from the elements for paddlers and safety crew alike, with little wind or flow to contend with.
Among the paddlers was Glen and for him a first time visit to the river location, blown away by its beauty, and a hidden gem he was totally unaware of, tucked away in the Essex Countryside.
Returning die hard paddler Katrina set a new PB for herself and was first to cross the finish line amid the sound of cheers and applause.
A post paddle debrief with congratulations and thanks to those who took part and continue to support AquaPaddle locally and nationwide.
Sadly the weather appeared to have beaten us with regards to the number of participants, however that didn’t prevent what turned out to be a great day.
Hoe Mill Lock provides some free parking, an opportunity to hone your skills on calm and tranquil water while offering some stunning views.
You do of course need to ensure you have your river license or pay the daily launch fee, which helps towards maintaining the natural beauty of the area.
A special thanks to our volunteers that make this all possible and whom without we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.
If you would like to join in and participate at one of our, or any of the many locations now available across the UK, you can register for FREE via the AquaPaddle website.
AquaPaddle is run purely on Donations. If AquaPaddle is of value to you with your health and wellbeing, please help by giving a donation.
Pictures by the author.