There has always been something appealing about paddling through the great cities of the world, seeing instantly recognizable landmarks form a totally different perspective. It had been probably 25 years since I had paddled through the centre of London, two Devizes to Westminster finishes don’t really count.
We headed upstream from Shadwell Basin, aware of the risks of being on the water. It was the moored barges and ships which possibly created the greatest hazard, being swept into those just didn’t bear thinking about.
We paddled upstream as far as Vauxhall Bridge where we headed off in search of meal, surprisingly we managed to find a restaurant which was prepared to take 16 kayakers in wet kit, and managed the service with efficiency and a smile.
Heading back downstream we were able to take full advantage of the ebbing tide, arriving back at Shadwell Basin as darkness descended on the river.
A great day in the heart of one of the worlds great cities.
Leaving Shadwell Basin the familiar landmarks of London soon came into view.
St Catherines Dock was one of the first docks to be refurbished after the Port of London started to close. Today it remains as busy as ever and we had to wait for a number of private vessels to leave through the lock gates.
HMS Belfast moored on the opposite bank of the river. Later in the afternoon we would need to exercise great care as the ebbing tide swept us towards this proud ship.
Just upstream of Tower Bridge we passed the Tower of London and the Traitor’s Gate. A perspective which most tourists don’t get.
Passing the London Eye, there were plenty of interested tourists looking out over the river.
Standing on the river bank close to Vauxhall Bridge, we were about to head off on search of a restaurant for lunch.
Crossing the road in full kayaking gear certainly attracted a significant amount of attention from passing motorists.
Heading down stream after a superb lunch in a restaurant, although we did leave a significant number of puddles on the floor as the kayaking kit dried.
Passing underneath Tower Bridge as darkness started to settle over the city. The end of a great day.