I’m probably not the worst freestyler/play boater/rodeo paddler in the world (1) but I’m far from the best. I love a good session at Hurley and one of the nicest thing about it is the friendly and helpful attitude of everyone who paddles there, however…
There’s been a fair bit of talk on paddling websites recently about behaviour of paddlers at Thames weirs, mainly at Hurley as its the most used, but the points being made apply to all of them (2).
Activities such as dropping in from above the weir, littering and adjusting the configurations of the weir gates is a sure fire way of antagonising lock keepers. Talking back to them when called up on any of these things just makes it worse.
Over the years paddlers have strived to develop friendly relations with the lockies and the EA. After all it is they who set the gates up at Hurley to guarantee the best combinations are open; they are under no obligation to do this.
More years ago than I care to remember, when I was at school a very young me was taught the country code. The specifics may have faded from my memory over the the years but the intent is still lodged in the dark recesses:
“Enjoy the countryside but act responsibly, use gates and paths as intended, and take everything you bring with you home again.”
A quick visit to Wikipedia reveals that it was actually a bit more specific than I remembered in the do’s and don’ts, but the gist of it is the same.
The same intent can just as easily be applied to weirs or indeed any part of the river. Something like this:
“Enjoy the Hurley but act responsibly, don’t adjust the gates in any way, and take everything you bring with you home again.”
If after all these years I can remember the basics of good behaviour, anyone can.
(1) this may not be true.
(2) TV Freestylers