How to get there -
A small car park with slipway by Sunbury court, lower Hampton road. Just put TW16 5PL in your satnav or Google or whatever. The start of the trip is a lovely little slipway with its own car park by the bus stop marked Sunbury Court.
Get a map with driving directions to start
(enter the postcode of your starting point at A)
Suggested Launch Site -
It might seem like extreme silliness putting in 500 yards before you are going to have to get out and walk through a lock but I did it that way for two reasons. It is actually quite hard to find anywhere to launch the other side of the lock. Yes you could leave the boat at the end of waterside drive and park in the xcel leisure complex KT12 2JG or park outside the Walton Casuals football ground KT12 2JP and lug the boat 100 yards to the Thames but it is a bit of a faff and the place I did put in you can park there for free with no worries and the portage is dead simple with rollers and all. The other reason is that my previous published trip Thames Ditton to Sunbury & return
finished downstream of the lock and so this would make a continuation of that trip. If the non-tidal Thames is 123 miles long and I divide it up to 4 mile stretches it would only take 31 paddles to a riverside pub to do the entire thing.
Having pulled the trusty Dagger Fiesta up the portage rollers and the right side of the lock there was a promising looking pub right on the left called The Wier which certainly looks worth investigating some time. I didn't though and paddled on. On the right soon after that was moored the biggest canoe I have ever seen. It was called The Black Dog and must have been almost 20 feet long. I was still wondering how many people it took to paddle the thing when the river was awash with attractive young female scullers that had presumably emerged from the Walton Rowing Club. If only I was 25 years younger! But I am not and paddled on passed them as well.
The next temptation was a pub called The Anglers on the right hand bank. I would have succumbed but they were not open for another fifteen minutes. Onward passed Walton marina on the left and Shepperton marina (home of the white water merchants) on the right, under Walton Bridge which they seem to have been rebuilding for ever and eventually the wrongly named Shepperton lock (which is clearly in Chertsey). The lock keeper had no qualms about letting me through.
200 yards past the lock is the Thames Court and that was a site for sore eyes (or more specifically a sore posterior as I had somehow been sitting wrongly on my coccyx) for a swift half before returning the same way I got there.
In fact the lock keeper opened the lock for me when I was the only boat that needed it which I thought was pretty decent of him since I could easily have walked it.
I got chatting to a couple in a blow up kayak on the way back which made the trip that much more enjoyable. If I had to choose between this trip and the previous one I would go for the Hampton Court one but you cant keep padding the same place all the time.
Only another 29 pubs before I can tick the non-tidal Thames off my list of things to do.