Itchen to get out and see the Saints.

Having been running recently it was time to get out again and get some more miles under my belt. Tides always dictate to me what I will be doing so today I decided to go up Southampton Water and then up the River Itchen, a trip I’d never done in the kayak before.

When I got to Warsash it was cold and really misty/foggy as it is this time of year.

I set off and slightly against the last of the flood tide, before heading round Hamble Point Marina and into Southampton Water itself. I headed up towards the British Petroleum Jetty (BPJ to us locals) and around it.

The tide was nearly slack so I knew it would be hard work soon as the tide generally just flicks like a switch here. As I put in the effort to get moving I neared Netley Abbey and then my phone rang.

It was the local fundraising officer from MacMillan checking to see how things were going – I made her laugh when I said that I was out paddling and had to be careful that I didn’t drift into the shipping lane! MacMillan are so supportive and apart from their excellent work, they really are appreciative of our efforts which is really motivational. After a quick chat I carried on.

When I got to the split I deliberately went right as to carry on takes me past the cruise ships and other ships that are constantly moving around.

I was then in the Itchen.

Heading up was interesting from the water, passing loads of industries on the banks including the cranes that are now famous by James Kingston who hangs off them with one hand! Check this out….

I went under the Itchen Bridge and carried up past Griffon Hoverworks who make Hovercrafts before sending them out all round the world – that is why you see so many bombing around the Solent.

I also passed Southampton Football Club’s ground…..

I got as far as Northam Bridge for a much needed piece of Christmas cake opposite some lovely massive piles of scrap metal! Classy!

Taking into account that I was against the tide most of the way and had taken a phone call I had done OK considering.

As I started to head back WITH the tide (haha) my wife phoned to say I had to unexpectedly pick up my son from school….I headed back as quick as possible but worried that I would be late seeing as it took 2 1/2 hours to get there and I only had 2 hours to get back! I put the hammer down and powered back.

Puts the size of the container ships into perspective.

I made excellent speed at a constant 5mph and realised that I would do it easily. Just as I reached the same point as the time my phone rang, it did it again!!! Spooky. This time it was a Southampton Daily Echo reporter so I had to take it. She seemed very interested in our exploits and I hope she reports it well as I found myself repeating lots of times about Heroes on the Water and MacMillan!

After the call I headed back round the point and up the Hamble. As expected once again I was against the tide but as it was mid tide it was belting through at about 4 knots. It was a struggle to go about 1mph, so really good training sprinting for 15 minutes.

So another 15 miles under my belt, another 4 1/4 hrs in the seat and my 5th paddle this year – I’ve done 54 1/2 miles in the kayak this month and 18 1/2 miles running…..and i haven’t even started proper training yet! 

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