Canoeing Adventurer

Noel McNaught

Noel in action
Ingenious folding canoe

Noel McNaught, writing for the East Coast Digest in 1973, recounted his experiences of canoeing in the Thames estuary and in particular a night-time circumnavigation of Canvey Island just after the last war.  I was borne along like a bobbing cork…huge dark objects sometimes loomed up grotesquely: these were buoys, and not as I feared, drifting mines. 

On reaching the eastern edge of the Island Noel waits for the tide to turn: at 4am I set off again….up the Hadleigh Ray I went, along Benfleet Creek to a suitable disembarking place, then walked home for breakfast.

On another adventure he narrowly avoids being run down by a gigantic tanker and takes refuge on a shipwreck: I scrambled up the sloping side of the wreck, hauling my boat from the water.  On his return journey he was intercepted by a police launch and told in no uncertain terms that landing on a wreck is strictly forbidden and that in this case was extremely dangerous…it being the ammunition ship Richard Montgomery.      

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