Challenge200

Winter SUP session on the River Severn

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Every now and then you do something that will stick with you for the rest of your life.

The tidal stretch of the River Severn from Gloucester to Arlingham is a lovely 18 mile stretch that changes with every corner. We had previously paddled this stretch and had been lucky enough to meet a seal and a porpoise, so we had our fingers crossed that it wouldn’t disappoint, what would we see this time?!

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My paddling buddies for the day were Dean Broad and Rob Yates, who were two other members of the Source2sea team, and before setting off, we filled up with a nice bacon sandwich and had a quick catch up.

We kicked the paddle off at Maisemore bridge. It was great to get back on what feels like our local turf or stretch, especially because myself and Dean are normally heading upstream riding the Severn Bore.

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We couldn’t have asked for nicer weather as we headed downstream with clear blue skies and warming rays of sunlight, it made it feel more like a spring morning thats a winters one! The appearance of the sun had also brought the banks alive with chirping birds and big flocks of Fieldfares crossed overhead fairly regularly for the first few miles.

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The water is normally fairly brown after a high tide but seemed clearer this time, we even got glimpses of the bottom! A few miles in and the water also became nice and flat, at times like a mill pond. Combined with the sunshine the day was shaping up nicely!

Paddling your SUP along flat calm waters, with just the noise of the water sloshing off your paddle is a rather nice way to travel. Having time to look around at the surrounding banks and sandbars, it suddenly became very obvious just how much the sandbars had moved around in just 6 months! Especially as you head in to the lower sections towards Newnham, you come across sandbars where once were nice little channels. This dictates to a certain extent how the Severn Bore will work and where, so plenty of notes taken!

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As we approached the lower sections where the river suddenly opens out in to a wide expanse of water, the sun started dipping and the wind dropped. This created the calmest water I have ever paddled in, with the added bonus of a lovely winter sunset reflecting off of it. It really took your breath away and the opportunity to get those one-off pictures was beckoning!

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Arriving at the sand bar near Newnham marked the end of our paddle, we all agreed we had just experienced one of mother natures great displays and that we had been very lucky. Timing was perfect with the sunset, conditions were the calmest I’ve seen, banter was brilliant and the shared experience made it something never to forget!

The Severn just keeps giving!

Stand Up Paddle Instruction Book: Learn all the flatwater, fitness and surf paddling basics

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