Monday, 30 May 2011

Last of the Extreme Waders?

Swim 3: Castle Eaton to Hannington Bridge
Bank Holiday Monday 30th May

We meet again at the Red Lion on a cool, rainy May day and slip in again into the still shallow waters. Hannington Bridge is a healthy 4.6km away, with no clear exit points.
Canoe way out
Angelina Ballerina takes the Thames Path but we won't see her again (she has the flasks and biscuits) until the path meets the river again some 3km away at Blackford Farm. We have elided the end of swim 5 and swim 6 and 7 from Michael Worthington's book. Ambitious maybe, but the getting out point at Kempsford Church would involve 14 of us garden-hopping through someone's very elegant garden. In the water, the rain loses its annoyingness. We are just part of the water in and out and this becomes a very cheery swim. There is plenty more wrangling for Adam to do, and we are able to sneak peaks into beautiful riverside properties. But by the time we spy Angela everyone is happy to get a few warm gulps of sweet tea or mulled apple juice and some flapjacks. Most of us get back in for the final stretch to Hannington Bridge, past an enormous 'S.C.A.C.' (South Cerney Angling Club) sign across the river and plenty of fallen trees both those completely submerged and therfore not found until somebody smacks right into them, and those that seem to almost bar the way as they lay across the river.
Making waves
When we arrive at the pool before Hannington Bridge we have a blissful float enjoying the achievement of this stage, before exiting from the bank just under the bridge, having slid inelegantly across the fast-flowing stones below it. We change in the layby - bearing a resemblance to enthusiasts of another sort and a few nettle stings later, our shuttlers have borne us back to the Red Lion for another slap-up lunch.

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