So the wonderful summer of 2018 has finally come to end! The clocks have gone back and even here in the Thames valley we’ve had the first (albeit gentle) frosts. It certainly proved another busy season but driving back from my last course I couldn’t help but indulge in a little reflection on the summer highlights.
Those that follow my blog will know that the summer brought the opportunity for me to enjoy a lot of paddleboarding. With seemingly endless sunny days it seemed rude not to make the most of the weather and take to the water with little more than shorts, T-shirt, paddle and board (plus leash of course!). It was certainly good to see more of my local river – the Thames – from a different perspective but another highlight was some of the days spent further afield exploring the south coast estuaries.
Maybe it’s because I’m primarily an inland paddler, but I always find trips to the coast fascinating. There is something quite enthralling about paddling through mudflats and high banks in the morning and returning with the tide high and the estuary full later in the day. The patterns in the mud, the pools of trapped water, the worm holes and debris all have such a transient nature – ever-changing and exposed to the visitor and then hidden again twice a day. And then there’s the wild life. So many more ducks and geese than we see on the Thames and fish too. I recall a magical afternoon gently returning with the tide and shoals of mackerel circling in the eddies, fins breaking the surface as the tide slowly filled.
It’s been great to enjoy these experiences and more with clients, friends and family alike – paddling is inherently a social activity and no matter how wonderful the world around us it wouldn’t be the same without others to share it with. Summer ’18 may be behind us and the board shorts have been packed but I’m looking forward to winter paddling and all the experiences that it will bring!