A hunt for red October

It is Sunday 28 October 2012. The call had gone out earlier in the week for club members to join in the annual “Autumn Colours” paddle from the club down to Maidenhead, passing the glorious woodlands of Cliveden in the hope of witnessing a splendid display of yellows, reds and browns.

The clocks had gone back in the early hours, which helped a little with the cold 5°C start. Your correspondent had planned to join the paddle but early warning signs of man-flu put paid to those plans. Nonetheless there did appear to be a reasonable turnout for the paddle downstream, helped by a good “amber” flow.

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As Tom Bailey set about organising the car shuttle in his usual industrious fashion, the participants got ready to hit both the roads and the water.

Sadly the early morning sunshine faded and gave way to dull and overcast conditions. John Norris reported that, “ there are some reds and orange-browns but they all look damp rather than crisp. Sunlight would have been a blessing, even a mist or fog would have added to the view”.

That was surprising given thefabulous displays that were on offer in neighbouring woodlands. But that is the river for you, a completely different climate and a completely different view. No wonder these trips are so notorious for the club going too late or too early, it is so tricky to judge.

But doubtless a good time was had by all. As for yours truly, well I am sure that 2013 will be the most spectacular autumn ever.

Rodney Casbierd


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