Urban Packrafting London - Camden to Angel
First (and last) descent of the River Brent
The true versatility of packrafts is in their ultra-lightweight. This allows you to carry them through mountains on expeditions or to just head down to the nearest stretch of water and take off on a whim. Recently one sunny morning, I threw my packraft in a rucksack and caught a tube to Camden with the intention of exploring urban London from the water.
The stretch between Camden and Angel is beautiful and is what urban packrafting is all about, with stunning architecture and nature nestling side by side, two locks to portage and a 15 min walk through bustling Upper Street in Angel to avoid an 886m tunnel.
What kit should I take packrafting?
London has long abandoned and neglected the tributaries of the Thames. Over the years successive engineers have been commissioned to straighten and speed water through tunnels and concrete culverts with the aim of minimising impact on those that live in the overhanging suburban streets.
The Brent spills out of the Welsh Harp Reservoir into a small isolated valley hidden behind urban back gardens. Here amidst the spray, an almost tropical micro-climate has formed, feeding huge plants that grow 20 foot high.
Packrafting The Greater Patagonian Trail
Here at Longshore we often get questions from our customers about the ideal packrafting kit. What kit would be useful to make the most of your time on the water and enhance your safety?
Click on the image to find out:
The River Thurso - a 4 day journey through the Flow Country
Joshua Wood and Amy Osborne have just completed 1200km of the Greater Patagonian Trail by foot and in a Longshore packraft and kindly sent us their story:
The Greater Patagonian Trail was, without doubt, the best experience of our lives. It was seriously tough but utterly incredible. We battled through thick bush, capsized on rapids, sailed on lakes and fjords, sat out snow blizzards, trespassed through forest and jungle, got blown off our feet by the infamous Patagonian winds on mountain passes and traversed volcanoes… Read more
A lunar eclipse, paddling with seals and a night on an island
One our customers has just got back from exploring the River Thurso in a Longshore DE260.
He kindly got in touch to tell us about his four day adventure and has written about it on the Song of the Paddle forum. Click here to find out more about their journey through this beautiful part of Scotland.
Exploring Upper Horse Island
The beaches between Blakeney Point and Holkham in Norfolk are broad and stunning.
At low tide they stretch to the horizon, and when we visited, were completely empty and untouched, possibly because they can only be reached by hiking through salt marshes that flood rapidly when the tide turns.
This makes them dangerous to all except locals or those with packrafts and a carefully laid plan.
Takahashi's Castle and the Priest Killer
No-one visits Upper Horse Island.
To the uninitiated, walking along the banks of Holehaven Creek, it appears to be just another nondescript mud bank. Yet local legend states, there was once a Roman fort here and satellite imagery clearly shows rectangular earthworks, encompassing a pattern of shallow symmetrical channels.
A Photographer Afloat - First Impressions of a Packraft
The Soča valley around Bovec, is a spectacular steep-sided cauldron, set amongst the Slovenian Alps, just a few miles from the Italian and Austrian borders. Two rivers flow into this scenic plateau and one flows out, down a boulder strewn gorge…
Searching for U-Boats
This review of the Longshore DE260 originally appeared on A Photographer Afloat on 18th October 2018 and has been republished with kind permission.
Don't Packraft The River Hogsmill
At first light on cold November morning, I paddled out into the mist and mud flats of the Medway Estuary, with the aim of finding the last visible U-boats wrecks in the UK. Exactly a century before, on 21 November 1918, an armada of German U-boats had converged on Harwich and surrendered to the British.
Urban Packrafting on the River Wandle
If you want a gritty urban experience, that includes navigating shopping trolleys, watching mink eat pigeons, some quite good graffiti and paddling a few of short weirs then perhaps the Hogsmill is for you. If not paddle the River Wandle instead.
Shipwrecks and Forts in the Medway Estuary
Most of London's great tributaries have been lost beneath pavement and concrete. Rivers like the Fleet and Tyburn now trickle through pipes to the Thames. The Wandle, however still carves much of its original course and has been steadily cleaned and cared for, presenting a unique opportunity to explore a regenerated urban river.
An English Packraft Gathering
The Medway estuary was still and dark when I arrived, so I inflated my packraft, stowed my gear and then waited by the waters edge for first light.
10% off Packrafting Courses with Tirio when you buy a Longshore Packraft
Storm Bronagh was coming.
We watched as belts of rain and 50mph winds swept across the UK and considered whether we should cancel the first English Packraft Gathering, scheduled for the next day, on the edge of Brands Bay, Poole Harbour.
Then we noticed a break in the weather. A brief lull between Storm Ali and Bronagh and trusting in our Weather Apps, we raced for the coast…
Preparations for Patagonia: West Highland Way
Tirio are offering 10% off their accredited packrafting courses to anyone buying a packraft from Longshore International.
After Work: An Evening on the Thames
Josh Wood on his preparations for Patagonia, “We are now convinced by the idea of packrafting. It is a great feeling to be amphibious; we could paddle to islands for lunch then back to the mainland to make it to the pub on foot.”
Longshore EX280 Mark II reviewed by Bear Bones Bikepacking
We were looking for an after-work paddle, but the canals in central London were choked with weed and many of the nearby rivers were running shallow. So we choose the Thames which always flows, regardless of how long and hot the summer. Our plan was simple and we began it by cheating...
English Packraft Gathering - Tickets Now Live!
Stuart Wright from the fantastic Bear Bones Bikepacking recently reviewed our Mark II version of the Longshore EX280 packraft.
Read about his initial unboxing here and his subsequent paddles here.
Packrafting 200 miles in Canada
Tickets for the English Packraft Gathering are now live and selling fast. All are welcome.
Click here to find out more.
Doug Stembridge paddled his Longshore EX280 packraft 200 miles from North Bay to Ottawa in 18 days. Find out more about his journey here…