Every now and then it’s nice to get out and enjoy doing something for yourself, and even better if you can share it with a friend. Chris is a local outdoor instructor who runs his own small business, but we often find ourselves working together and enjoy spending a day doing something together every now and then.
On this occasion, we decided to go for a paddle down a stretch of the river Servern. Although it’s a local river for us both, it’s surprising how infrequently we get to paddle it on a journey. Normally, we’re either coaching on a short stretch of water, or monitoring a group’s journey from the bank, such as with DofE (Duke of Edinburgh) groups.
Having opted to try a 33km stretch from Montford Bridge to Atcham, we met up at Atcham at 8am to leave a car ready for the end of the day before heading past Shrewsbury up to Montford Bridge. After the cool start in the morning, things where starting to warm up by the time we got on the water at 9am. It didn’t take long for me to remember just how beautiful the river Severn is as we made gentle progress through the countryside.
After what felt like only half an hour of paddling, I was surprised when Chris decided it was time to stop for a brew. If we were going to stop every 2km, paddling 33km was going to take a bit longer than I’d expected! However, as Chris knows only too well, it’s stops like this that make trips memorable. It’s also easier to talk face to face than it is to the back of someone’s head!
After a very pleasant cup of tea, we started to make more serious progress as we tackled the large loop in the river that encloses Isle Park Farm. This is a psychologically demoralising loop that would only take a 350m walk to cut out over 7km of river. It may be the journey and the experience that counts, but it still plays on your mind.
Having had no rain for weeks now, the water level was right down. As a result, we couldn’t see much over the river banks but is was lovely none the less. The river was alive with swans and ducks and the occasional sighting of fish jumping. On our approach to Shrewsbury, we came across a group of 11 swans near a beach, and quickly decided that it would make an ideal place to stop for lunch.
Having negotiated Shrewsbury and a brief walk around the weir, the river had a very different feel from the first half of the day. Although still beautiful, there is much more evidence of human activity with road and railway bridges as well as footpaths that follow the river banks.
Our final approach into Atcham involved a bit of scraping along the bottom as there seemed to be a distinct lack of water but, with a bit of muscle power to make up for the lack of desire to get wet feet, we managed to make it to the landing site shortly after 4pm.
It was great to spend the day with Chris and to enjoy the beauty of this magnificent river. We’re so fortunate to have it so close by.