Molesey goes to the Barn

Sunday 14 May 2023 | by Brett Scillitoe

Its been a long time since the 26th February. That was the last time we at Hampton – Molesey were able to run an AquaPaddle. Since then it has rained a lot and especially in the week leading up to our scheduled AquaPaddle. With the land being so saturated with water from this very wet Winter and Spring, any additionally rain runs straight into the River Thames. We have had flow rates of over 250 cubic metres of water per second passing our route. Something had to be done as it looked that we would lose even more of our events as the rain didn’t look like it was going to stop anytime soon.

To the South of Molesey there is the hundred year old Island Barn Reservoir, that is the home of the Island Barn Sailing Club. A visit on Wednesday event, when they were having their weekly evening sail, I met with Michelle, one of their committee member. I explained our plight. She agreed to talk to the committee and by Friday morning we had permission to run AquaPaddle Hampton – Molesey at the reservoir. We are enormously grateful to Michelle and the Club Committee for making the decision so swiftly. The one stipulation was we had to be off the water by 10am, our normal start time. This we were happy to accommodate.

We arrived just before 8am and quickly set up. Michelle was there to greet us and open the gate. We had a small but select group of AquaPaddler and Crew who got out of bed early on a Sunday morning to paddle on this amazing location. There are views across Surrey and West London.

With the safety done and the Time Lord in her new Gill Buoyancy Aid, kindly supplied by British Canoeing. We headed for the water and the AquaPaddle set off in an anticlockwise direction around the edge of the reservoir.

The air was still and misty, the water flat. We could hear the church bells from across the borough calling people to prayer. Although it is a manmade lake, there is lots of wildlife and at this time of day there was lots to see.

After two laps of the reservoir the 5k was completed. We were all happy to have an alternative location when The Thames can’t be used for safety reasons and one where the Club members are so welcoming to us.

Now I won’t worry so much about the rain as we have this amazing facility we can use.

Thank you for all at Island Barn Sailing Club who made the AquaPaddle happen.

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