Contrary to the organisers’ rather more ambitious expectations, just 16 of us set off on the inaugural Great North Paddle from the Derwenthaugh Marina a mile or two upstream from the centre of Newcastle. Nevertheless, we were accompanied all the way to the mouth of the Tyne by a small flotilla of safety boats and the Pilot Boat from the Port of Tyne Authority! The weather was very kind to us too – minimal wind, no rain, and occasional glimpses of the sun. And, although we passed a number of large commercial boats, they all stayed firmly attached to the shore; with the North Shields ferry being held back to let us pass.
The highlight of the trip was, as expected, the passage under the bridges linking Newcastle to Gateshead. But, there was a surprisingly large amount to see on the natural history side from flocks of various types of waders to a seal which had found its way to a mudbank upstream of Newcastle! It was all well worth the effort, and certainly worth thinking about when they do it again next year.
Thanks to Manvers for the loan of the Venture Easky.
Manvers Waterfront Boat Club is a thriving multi-sport club based at Manvers Lake in South Yorkshire.