Places we go, things we do, kit we use.

Places we go, things we do. One of the problems with A-B trips is the shuttle, dropping paddlers and boats at one end and making sure everyone and everything can be collected again from the other. Any flies in the ointment have an absolute field day with shuttles, in fact I wrote the following recently for a group of clients to emphasise what a time-consuming faff it can be:

1. Leaving at least one person to look after the kit and boats, take all vehicles to the end and return in one car.

2. It's necessary to ensure that everyone can fit in the return vehicle

3. Dry clothes need to be left in the vehicles at the end, including the driver of the return vehicle's

4. Paddlers need to personally make sure they have everything they need with them at the start and take individual responsibility for sorting themselves out.

5. All drivers need to remember their keys.

6. Someone will have to drive back to pick up the vehicle from the start.

7. Shuttles always take longer than everyone expects

Things usually go wrong at points 2,3,4,5,6&7 

There are however various ways of doing A-B journeys without a shuttle at the start; here's one -

The River Frome, flowing to the south of Wareham is a well known and popular venue for paddling, on the northern side of the town though is another smaller river, the Piddle which is far less frequented, much wilder and with an adventurous feel. Having a rare kid-free day off, my wife and I paddled down the Piddle from Wareham and canoed on down through the reed beds (which teem with wildlife) to the mouth of the Piddle flowing into Poole Harbour at the top of Wareham channel.

Judging the tides at this point is tricky but crucial and usually I get it completely wrong. This time though I got it spot on so we were able to land on the only bit of solid ground at the western tip of the harbour and while Jasper the dog barked at the gulls I cleaned all the foliage we'd picked up out of the boat and set the sail.

From here, with both wind and tide behind us we sailed down to Gold Point for lunch and a wee and then paddled on round to our destination at Shipstal Point where, having packed a collapsible trolley and my Brompton (along with tea and rations) we were able to wheel the boat the half mile up to the car park at Arne Heath from where I could cycle back to Wareham to collect our vehicle while Jules & Jasper had a cream tea in the RSPB cafe. Smiles all round. Stuff we use - The boat is a Venture Prospector 15 which has been outfitted for both WW and tripping with a sailing seat and mast step. It was more than adequate for this trip with room for two humans, a dog, a folding bike, a trolley and all the usual day kit.In fact a longer boat would be awkward to navigate through the jungle at the start of the Piddle.

Even with all the kit though, paddling wasn't compromised and the boat still handled well. The trolley is a Ruk canoe trolley which collapses for storage. To fit it to the boat I use two long cam straps, one for each leg of the trolley and I cinch them tight to make sure the trolley doesn't twist or fall off. I also take care to fit the trolley squarely in the middle as best I can - this then means I can balance the load and weight it ever so slightly to the front which makes it easier to pull.

While the ride back from Arne to Wareham is an easy and pleasant 20 minutes, the track from Shipstal Point up to Arne is a bumpy half mile along a farm track with cattle grids. Part of the plan was to see how well the trolley would cope and how easy and efficient we could make it. It was simple and worked a treat.

If you fancy trying this for yourself book onto one of our canoeing days, we can provide all the kit, even the Brompton.