We meant to go out on the river on Saturday, but the skies were black, the rain fell, the wind blew and the storm warnings warned dolefully.
We meant to go out on the river today, and made it!
Halton Quay is a very convenient quay in some ways: it's easy to get to, has plenty of parking and is used almost entirely by fishermen and canoeists, so it's not too busy. Unfortunately the other thing is has in generous quantities is MUD.
Not too bad on the way out, because we arrived not long before high tide. The tide and the wind together helpfully wafted us up the river, listening to the sound of the wind in the reeds. I love that noise. It reminds me of childhood holidays in the Norfolk Broads.
The other noise we could hear behind us as we went up the river was folk music. We didn't recognise it, but another canoeist told us later that it was a riverside concert by one Mad Dog Mcrea, which they had gone down to listen to. Our fellow-canoists had gone down the river to steal music with their ears! Shocking behaviour.
We did no such thing. We went up, and found that the Calstock Regatta flashboat races were not quite over (though we did meet a lot of boats on their way down: clearly most people had gone rather earlier than we did). Here are some of the flashboats racing.
Going back downstream was harder work, because the wind was blowing in from the sea, making a little swell that sometimes even had small white tips to it. We were very glad that the tide had turned and was now helping us back down the river. I took this to try to capture the sparkling of the sun on the water, when the wind had died a little and we could see the little white rectangle of the chapel at the quay ahead of us at last, but I should have fiddled with the camera. This hasty snap doesn't catch the sparkles so well, or the peace, or the sound of wind in the rushes...
Oh goodness, the MUD when we got back to the quay at last! Halton Quay is by far the muddiest spot we launch from: my legs and hands were richly covered in it by the time we had got the boat out of the water and back on top of the car. We had to take the canoe and scrub her with a hose once we got back, and the thick brown glutinous stuff was very hard to get off. Worth it though.