Tails from the river

Tails from the River Medway!

What a brilliant summer for kayaking !

Tales from the River Medway!

What a brilliant summer for kayaking !

Launching from Grain on an early summer morning dragging the boats over thick slimy mud feeling my arms will drop off!
I scrabble into my cockpit and paddle to deeper water then I am rewarded by the warmth of the sun on my back and the smooth movement of the tide taking us back to base.

A flask of tea on Burnwick island.
Watching a sailing boat pass
We cut through the quite silky waters of a lonely marsh
with islands of sticky brown mud covered with emerald seaweed.

Silence embraces as we enter a bubble of quintessence.
A tiny feather carried by the currant is within my grasp.
We reach the very heart of the marsh
an Oystercatcher breaks the silence piercing my thoughts.
I catch the stiff black and white wings vanishing.
Curlews fly and call, I picture the curve of their beaks and dappled soft brown bodies,
I fly with them over the mud flats.

Summer evenings that go on for ever.

These ancient waters has a stillness like the Heron pondering in the shallows.
The sun slides down the blue sky firing up the land
Cormorants silhouetted with bellies full, black wings hanging out to dry in the last moments of the day. Sleek slender and powerful
Reptilian birds of the air and water
With dusk drawing on; out of the water the waxen moon is pulled
a large round beautiful orb, hanging,
we paddle on and hear the low vibrating hum of a ship cutting through the night.

Moody autumn

An autumn morning black purple grey clouds are rolling
with a strong south easterly blowing we set off with the tide and wind going with us
The trees on the bank are turning from shabby green to a soft yellow
I soak up and glean the richness;
Paddling on past Hoo island and Darnet the tide is ripping along and taking us with it.
The heavens threaten as we arrive at Sharfleet surfing the waves towards the mud flats.

Homeward bound

Turning the boat and bracing ourselves for the journey back
my arms become the paddle muscles start to work and my stamina is summoned.
Waves crashes over my kayak salt water sprays over my face
and my heart thrills.
Wind against tide no stopping keep going keep going
a short break at Darnet island then press on paddling and paddling ….
Muscles ache my senses dulled but home is within my sights.


I lie on the grass my head spinning the silver birch above me completely still the last of her leaves ready to fall.

I gather my thoughts and head for home.

Adventures on the River, 1994