How to get there - Next to The Thames Court in Shepperton (where I finished the trip entitled Sunbury to Shepperton) is what is blatantly a pub car park but next to that is another car park with a six foot height barrier but no ownership signs or method of locking a car in. I parked in there and carried the kayak the 20 or so yards to the river bank. If I had a van or a Chelsea tractor with the kayak on the top I would have simply parked at Shepperton Lock and put in there.
Get a map with driving directions to start (enter the postcode of your starting point at A)
Suggested Launch Site - Outside the pub, post code TW17 9LJ
Description - Shoving off from The Thames Court and heading off to the right it looks like there is a fork in the river. It is just phoenix island and it does not matter which way side round you go. I stuck with convention and kept to the right hand side. The Thames here looks much like it does in most of this area with houses or house boats lining the banks, After a while they start to thin out and on the right is Chertsey Meads Boatyard. It stays rural for a while and then the beautiful white stone chertsy bridge comes into view. At about the same time you start running in to (not literally hopefully) particularly expensive looking gin palaces with names such as Pimms OClock and The Colonels Folly. Presumably these boats live in Bates Warf (not to be confused with the Bates Motel, setting for the 1960 Hitchcock film Psycho) which is tucked away to the left, just before the bridge. Continuing under the bridge there is a pub on each side of the river. On the right is The Kingfisher which I have previously drunk in and found to be an excellent pub. On the right is the Boathouse Bar and Restaurant which is part of The Bridge Hotel. I have not tried it but would like to, It looks great and it appears that it would be easier to pull the boat out there than at the Kingfisher.
This entire trip took a bit longer than I had intended. It would be perfectly feasible to call it a day at either of these pubs. It would be about a three mile round trip, or slightly less maybe, back to the Thames Court and there appears to be a convenient public car park on the kingfisher side of the river just the other side of the bridge where you could put the boat back in and continue later.
I heroically plodded on though. I did this trip in the middle of October. The weather was great but I was well aware that I was not going to last and decided to make the most of what was left. A short while later Chertsey lock hove into view. I waited till the locks opened chatting to a fellow in a large stink pot (yachting slang for motor boat). I was hoping there would be a pub somewhere about but my hopes were dashed. On I paddled, I passed Laleham camping club (which is what they seem to call camp sights nowadays) and thinking, if I had a weekend to spend I could hire a tent there and head even further up the next day. On I paddled until I saw a green spire in the distance that could only have been Staines. What the town planners were thinking when they called it that is anyones guess. Passed the spire there was a railway bridge. On the right there was the Mercure Thames Lodge Hotel which had a sort of jetty but nowhere to put a kayak but on the left hand side there was the swan, an excellent pub where I could pull the boat up onto the grass and enjoy a well-deserved pint. Before heading back I did paddle just a few hundred yards further upstream to see if there was anywhere there I could put in and continue my Thames exploration. It does appear (and this needs to be confirmed) that there is a car park right next to the river just the other side of the bridge although it looks like it will be a pay one.
There was not much to see on the way back that I didnt see on the way there. I portaged the boat through Penton Lock but was a bit naughty when it came to Chertsey. I would hardly call it shooting the wier. It was about a three or four foot drop but there were about eight steps in there so what it amounted to was hitching myself forward along the steps several inches at a time by shunting my arse in a forward direction. Not wearing a helmet or even a buoyancy aid (which I had brought but completely forgot to put on) and with my dry clothes in the car I did not stop and play in the rapids but I have done in the past and if anyone wanted to liven the trip up a bit this would be as good a way as any and probably better than most but even with the right kit it would be unwise if you are paddling alone.
Well it was plain (metaphorical) sailing all the way back. I was tempted to have another swift half at the Thames Court but it was really busy and it looked like it would take longer to get it than it would to drink it. I hope there is time for another couple of outings before the weather closes in.
Comments on this trip
Keith Day 30 Mar 2016
The River Thames is managed by the Environment Agency and does require a licence. Short term licences an be obtained from lock kepers. See https//www.gov.uk/government/publications/riverthamesunpoweredboatapplicationform for more details.Membership of British Canoeing also includes a licence for many waterways including the Thames. See http//www.canoeengland.org.uk/membership/
James 12 Oct 2015
Did you need a license for that stretch of the river I can't seem to find the relevant info