CSCC Reports 2018: Thames Cookham - April 2018

It seemed high time we paddled the prettiest stretches of the Thames again, so Fiona M, Naomi and Matt joined me (Dan) for a potter around Cookham on 29 april.  
The trip began with the club first aid kit being used to help a gentleman in Odney Lane who had gashed his hand stowing his elderly mother’s walking frame in the boot of his car.  After donating a plaster, we ate our snacks while discussing Benny and bjorn’s revived musical “chess”, piercings and the feasibility of a living will tattoo and and then we battled past jealous swans and ducks to launch in a backwater (lulle brook).  This led only to a “private river” which residents had allowed to become partially blocked with vegetation.  Rather than challenging the dubious lawfulness of the sign, we headed for the main navigable channel of the river.  We spotted a pair of handsome looking crested grebes in the backwater.  Later in the day we saw a heron, an invading red kite and a kingfisher.
We had brought only the one car, which restricted us to a round trip, but paddling upstream on the main channel forced us to work a bit harder.  We made it as far upstream as the rather weird pub “The bounty” in the people’s republic of cockmarsh (allegedly twinned with Chernobyl).  After being introduced to some friendly dogs and drinking a mug of tea there, we retraced our kayaking steps.  This reinforced how strong the current, because we soon shot back to the confluence with lulle brook.  
We were permitted to go through cookham lock, because the cool weather had kept the floating gin palace contingent away and the lock keeper looked a bit bored.  Soon after that, we came to Cliveden house where we discussed the Profumo scandal, as is traditional.  We opted not to go up Hedsor water and instead, after looking at the dangerous looking weir, we were starting to feel a bit tired and cold, so headed back upstream via the lock to our get in.  The Ferry inn in cookham was serving food late.  It had slow service and the buttermilk chicken was according the Matt “tiny” and “not as nice as KFC”, but otherwise the food was good, the seats are nice and absorbent 😉 and we had a cracking view of the river and a squirrel who entertained us by hanging on to a tree branch that was shaking violently in the breeze.