With the Easter holidays approaching, you’ll be wondering what to do to make the most of it. To help you out we've compiled some of the best adventures we've been on recently...
Sylvie from Customer Services has been stand up paddle boarding for a few years now. She discovered the Paper Mill Lock in Chelmsford a while back as a great place to go paddle boarding. Not having to depend on the tide makes paddleboarding more flexible, so you can go whenever you feel like it. As the river is so calm, it’s the perfect place for beginners.
After a long cold winter, Sylvie was very excited to get back out on the water. When she went to the Paper Mill a few weeks ago, she felt refreshed by the beautiful setting with quirky cottages and churches on the riverbanks. Sylvie, her partner and her son paddled along the river and waved at kayakers. Sylvie and her partner were on a 10'8 Red Paddle SUP Board and her son was on a Jobe 9'4 SUP Board.
We asked Slyive what kit she took with her for a chilly March day, and they were all in 5mm Wetsuit Boots, Long Janes / Long Johns, and Thermal Tops. Disaster struck when they realised they'd forgotten their new Nyord Changing Robes but luckily there was a cute tearoom nearby for a warming tea and homemade cake.
Will, our Wetsuit Buyer, is planning a trip to Pembroke in the next few weeks. Will has a campervan he's done up for weekends away with plenty of room for all his watersports toys. He has been a couple of times before and returns for the stunning coastline of crystal waters, sandy beaches, and if the surf isn’t playing ball there is plenty of walking and exploring to do instead. It tends to be less expensive than Devon and Cornwall, with perhaps a bit less going on, but that does mean it’s a very relaxing place to be and it has some of the best watersports locations in the UK.
Will told us some of his trip highlights "All day surfing in stunning weather (Yes, in Wales!) followed by sunset beers and bonfires…basically the surfing cliché! Also, Competitive Spikeball matches (if you don’t know it, buy it…) and joining in on Cardiff camping stag dos."
Will loves staying in his van instead of a hotel and was keen to get us onboard too "Firstly, the cost is a big benefit, but also flexibility- you don’t have to book months ahead of time, only to find the surf is working 100 miles away from you. There’s usually somewhere last minute to stay for the night nearby. I love being able to get a group together to make your own base camp, with everyone coming and going as they please. The disadvantages of vanlife are obvious, if it’s raining you can feel a bit hemmed in, you might not be as comfortable and it is harder to dry kit, look vaguely presentable or cook a posh meal. Those aren’t often on my priority list for a weekend away though!’
First on Will’s packing list is all of the toys and accessories: SUPs, Foil, Windsurf kit, wetsuits. Second is warm stuff for before and after so changing robes, camping blankets, puffer jackets etc. Then whatever else fits… A couple of good extras are a wetsuit hanger to help dry without stretching wetsuit shoulders out, plenty of dry bags to deal with wet stuff later and a stiff brush to get the sand off kit and out of the van!!
If you’re into kayaking or looking to try it out, Jon from Returns is a keen kayaker who highly recommends going for a paddle on the River Chelmer.
Usually when Jon goes, he launches his kayak from the Heybridge Basin where he gets free parking and it's a handy place for launching your kayak or SUP. The River Chelmer is narrow and calm and perfect for a calm casual paddle. But, don’t forget you may need a license when using the Essex waterways. If you’re lucky like Jon was, you may be able to see the baby Moorhens nestled in the shrubbery along the banks on your outing. Once you’ve got back to Heybridge, there’s a lovely pub right by the launch point for a refreshing after-paddle drink.
Jon highly recommends bringing a pair of sunglasses as the glare off the water can be strong. He also took a drybag to keep his belongings safe and a dryrobe to get changed and keep him warm before and after his outing.
For those who want to enjoy the surrounding area too, there are some nice walks with views across to Maldon Country Park and out to Osea Island.
Whether you’ve got the whole school holidays, or just the long bank holiday weekend, you’ll be able to fit in at least one of these adventures...have fun!
Written by Lucy Harris.
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