Countryside Canoeing

The weather has been so lovely this week, such great opportunities for topping up our tans ;) We were really excited to hear the hoomans talking about a mini adventure that they wanted to take us on! The great thing about living in Surrey is that we are surrounded by beautiful countryside and when the sun is shining, it makes it that much more enjoyable to get out and about in it.

We had heard the hoomans talking about going kayaking for a while and we know that they were also thinking about buying one each so they could go on many water adventures. It’s like every purchase though, you want to make sure you are going to enjoy it before making the plunge. After all, it would be a waste of money if they bought kayaks and didn’t use them, think of all that treat money that would have been wasted! So the hoomans decided to rent a canoe out for a few hours.

Although we live a five minute walk away from the canal, they thought it would be more exciting if they took us a little further afield. We travelled to a small village called Odiham, which is in Hampshire. It only took us about 30 minutes in the car and they had researched a small boating centre online before setting out. We arrived at Galleon Marine with a couple of other families turning up at the same time – must have been a popular choice! We made our way down to the reception area, where we were greeted by a very friendly lady who immediately showed us to the canoes! It wasn’t just canoes that they had for hire, there were also kayaks, row boats and also canal boats. The lady made a fuss of us, before asking the hoomans how long they wanted to hire the canoe out for. You could hire the boats out per hour or per half day/full day. Seeing as you got 4 hours for the price of 3 (half day) they thought that would be a suitable amount of time, costing £36.
There was a good selection of all types of boats to choose from. We trotted onto the wooden marina and we both immediately went up and sniffed the red canoe. Obviously, we went for that one! We were the first to be placed inside the canoe! Bruno certainly has the better sea legs! The canoe was a little rocky, but our dads got in and made it more stable. There was plenty of room and we both headed towards the front, to help look out for any obstacles in the water.

The lady at the reception had told our hoomans that there were two ways to go, either towards an old castle, or to the pub! We were sure they would have gone to the pub, but we had all just eaten, so the castle sounded like a better idea.  Off we set, our dad, Jay, sat at the back, whilst dad, Oli, sat at the front. Apparently the person with the strongest stroke would sit at the back, they both argued that their position was harder! It was beautiful, the sun was beaming down on us and the cool air flowed through our flappy ears. It was really peaceful and once we had found our sea legs, we were more confident to explore the canoe. We passed a fellow row boat, who had a Frenchie on board, they seemed to be enjoying it as much as we were. We headed up stream and found ourselves to be the only ones on the canal. It was so peaceful, all we could hear were the strokes of the oars in the water. We were making good way and we passed a field full of cows. Funnily, they all started charging towards us, which of course we had to let a little bark out at. This immediately stopped them in their tracks and they stood there and looked bewildered at us. We passed a few bridges and one lady waved at us all from above, then noticed we were in the canoe and made a little squeal.
We got to one bridge but wondered how we were going to get underneath! It was ok for us as we’re small, so didn’t need to duck down. Our hoomans, on the other paw, had a problem. They both leaned forward and slowly paddled towards the bridge. Their backs must have only been inches from touching the bottom of the bridge, pretty fun stuff! We made it through to the other side and continued to make way to the castle. At this stage, we were both confident enough to stand on the side and could look into the water. There were hundreds of fish swimming by. Some of them followed the canoe, a bit like dolphins, but less glamourous than that. We definitely thought we could have had one for lunch. 

We arrived at the castle and moored up. It was a little wobbly getting out of the canoe, but luckily we didn’t capsize! The castle was close to the canal, so didn’t need to walk far. Although only part of the ruin, it was still nice to be able to stop and read a little about the history. There were tables dotted around and some people were already taking advantage of these and having a picnic. We made our way round the ruin and stopped to take a few photos. Before we knew it, it was time to head back. We made a couple of friends whilst trying to get back in the canoe. A friendly spaniel came barging through and jumped straight in the water, getting us a little wet. Typical spaniel, aye? We turned round and made our way back to the boat centre. This time, we were very brave. Jacob sat right on the front of the boat, like the sea captain! Bruno sat on one of the seats behind and looked over the edge. We came round the corner and a big barge was heading our way. They let out a little TOOT to warn us. It was a visitor barge which takes people up and down the canal. The ladies sitting at the front, immediately spotted Jacob on the front of the canoe and got their phones out to take photos. We guess we’re used to that! We made a steady pace back to the boat yard. Passing a few walkers on the toe paths, who all shouted a friendly ‘hello’.

When we got back to the yard, we were all quite hot, so decided to take a seat on one of the funky multi coloured benches and ordered some ice cream. They also had some ice cream for dogs too, delicious! We ate that and sat for a while taking in the surroundings. It had been a really nice afternoon and we really enjoyed it. It was nice that us dogs were able to go on the boats and it was especially nice that we didn’t have to do any work! A perfect way to enjoy life in the slow lane and take in some of the UK’s countryside.

The website of the boat centre our hoomans found is here:

We hope you enjoyed reading!

Jacob & Bruno

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