These are very hard work for support crews!
Once you have seen your kayakers safely on to dry land, you then return to your car and start ferrying endless boxes and bags to the spot where the crews will camp. This is a cordoned off area - you take the supplies to the edge of the taped area from where your crew will take the gear to their particular spot.
We lugged an enormous plastic storage box which was quite heavy but very good in the back of the car because it kept everything together and nothing got crushed. However, in addition to the box, we had to carry a big black sack containing duvet, pillow, sheet, airbed and pump. Plus another bag with dry "mufti" clothes for that evening. In addition to this, there will be a tent - our fellow support crew kindly supplied and ferried the tent each time.
Some people cleverly took a sack trolley or similar and one woman had a marvellous pink wheelbarrow - rather depends on how big your car is as to whether you can fit such a useful device in! Sadly, we couldn't and actually it never occurred to us because we had no idea how far the campsites would be from the car parks - be warned, they are all quite a trek!
In the morning, you do everything in reverse.
Night 1 - Friday, Newbury
Day One finishes at Northcroft Leisure Centre, Newbury. You can find this via Satnav or by heading into Newbury on the A4, following signs to the Centre but BEFORE you get to the top of the High Street (with a clocktower at the end of it) you need to turn right at a mini roundabout - there are brown signs marked to NLC. A good landmark is a huge Waitrose supermarket which you will leave on your right as you head to the town centre.
Follow the brown signs and when you reach the NLC, turn left into a large carpark. It IS large but even so it gets full. There is additional parking along the side of the road which runs beside the large sports field in front of NLC.
Leaving your car, you walk across the sports field, over a narrow bridge, across another smaller field until you get to the canal (at least half a mile). This is where the crews get out of the water for the day. They will then carry their boats back the way you've just come, across the first field and little bridge to the area where they camp.
At this point, you leave them to shower and you head back to your car to start unloading all the overnight gear which you then deliver to the edge of the designated camping zone. This is where you head back to the next morning in order to pick it all up again!
Website for Northcroft Leisure Centre
Night 2 - Saturday, Marlow Longridge Scout Camp
This was the most pleasant campsite, particuarly during the very hot DW2011, as it had lots of trees and shade plus an onsite cafe (not for the crews to use for their supper but good for getting a cup of tea etc)
The parking was chaotic but you will be used to that by now!
We were directed into the second entrance (first is for minibuses) to the carpark and told to park anywhere. We did eventually find a space but lots of people had to park along the roadside which of course caused some chaos when trying to exit the car park as a normal road had become single track due to the parked cars. However, it all seems to work in the longrun!Website for Longridge Scouts Camp
Night 3 - Thameside Young Mariners, Ham
This was surprisingly easy to find once we'd got through Kingston. Again parking was chaotic but it seemed to work eventually!
NB - there are no refreshments to buy at this campsite.Website for Thames Young Mariners
Equipment Your Crews Will Need
Airbed or Rollmat
Sleeping Bag or Duvet & Sheet
Pillow (+ pillowcase if required)
Washing up liquid for cooking equipment
Stove of some sort
Associated gas bottle
Plastic Plates & Bowls
Small folding tripod stool (purely optional but our son liked to be able to sit to cook!)
SUPPER & BREAKFAST
Whatever food your crew wants and can prepare easily (fresh pasta is easy, with fresh pasta sauce and grated cheese). We even rediscovered Smash instant potato which our son just about managed to eat, with sausages.
Drink - squash, coke etc.
Provide your crew with a large bottle of drinking water if you are worried about the campsite tap.
Porridge - if your crew can't face making the real thing, there are lots of instant porridges around which are edible including some in little plastic pots that you just add hot water to.
Bread + Spread