Spontaneity sometimes brings great rewards.
What was a late decision to have a weekend away in June last year, evolved into a magical experience that will live long in the memory and the idyllic location we found will no doubt become a base for further adventures to come.
It wasn’t until late Friday afternoon that we finally set-off for Suffolk, campervan and Skoda Estate laden with gear to cover all eventualities. Skye, Ben and their German Shepherd Jasper were with us, along with young Harry – Arran and Lia joining us on Sunday. Our destination was Karma Farm, a campsite previously unknown to us and when we finally arrived as the evening headed towards twilight, we knew we had found somewhere special.
Saturday morning began warm and humid and as the temperature continued to climb we were glad of the tree shade and gentle breeze that kept our pitch tolerable. A relaxed day of games and walks around the site gave us the lie of the land and as the afternoon sun began its slow descent to the horizon, we headed for the river for an evening paddle.
With the river temperature closer to an indoor swimming pool than the great outdoors, Harry joined Jasper in the water for his first taste of wild river swimming and was soon bobbing amongst the damoiselles, water-lilies and fish fry that swam the still waters below the bridge at Riverside Marina.
Exhausted by the day but inspired by the possibilities, a plan was hatched that evening to rig microphones to the canoe and go for a pre-dawn paddle. With the mic stand securely positioned in the aft, Ben and I rose at some unearthly hour with stars still bright in the sky above us and carried our craft to the river. We found a spot on the bank where cattle came to drink and slipped the canoe into the water while curious mute swans appeared like galleons out of the mist to calmly investigate. The water was like warm soup, the still conditions allowing the dust of summer and moult feathers to rest on the surface.
We drifted off into the dawn, each gentle paddle stroke leaving swirling mini whirlpools that plotted our course for a few metres before dissipating in the flow. For over an hour we travelled on, as the light grew in the sky and the sounds of a new day greeted our ears.
Back home and a few days later I put together this little film we shot on the journey back that gives a flavour of the paddle.
Sound recordings are still to come.