Trip Reports

Poonamalie Day Trip Report

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At 10am October 11, 2020 a well-bundled group of 8 club paddlers in 3 tandem canoes and 2 kayaks set off from the Poonamalie lock station, part of the Rideau canal system. It was a chilly 4 degrees Celsius but calm. 

We paddled leisurely upstream, past several friendly homes on Bacchus Island, then west past the extensive cattail marshes on the north shore of Lower Rideau Lake. 

Shortly after noon we reached the Tay River. The docks, ramp, lawn, picnic table, and washroom at the lower Beveridge lock were perfect for a lunch stop. There is a nice 5 minute walk to the upper Beveridge lock, with several historical panels and a view up the Tay River canal. By then, the temperature had risen to a balmy 9 degrees, warm enough to shed a layer of clothing. 


We returned to our boats and set off into a brisk head-on breeze, back along the marshy north shore of Lower Rideau Lake. We looked for some sign of the former Mud Cut, a narrow channel through the marsh which formed a shortcut for paddlers. It is no longer maintained and it's all gone! 

About 4 pm, we returned to Poonamalie having paddled 19 km. Wildlife sightings included lots of gulls and geese, a few ducks, a heron, a cormorant and a muskrat. We passed a few motor launches but no other paddlers save a friendly racing kayaker who easily overtook us, chatted for a minute, then sped away in the sleek all-white craft he had made himself. We noted a couple of float planes parked on shore. 

Poonamalie means “cat hill” or “cat mountain” and comes from a Tamal (India) word. It is assumed the area reminded one of the Royal Engineers of a previous posting in India where the word was used. 

With thanks to Mark S for organizing the trip. It was a lovely day, a cheerful paddling group, and an interesting destination.  

By Lynn O

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