CSCC Reports 2009: Dart - January 2009

When we arrived, it was wet. Driving to Scorriton for a festival of village music (ask Tom) there was as much water gushing down the road as there was in the river in December.

The next morning we decided to take advantage and paddle something we couldn't otherwise paddle. No, not the B-roads of Scorriton. The river Teign, flowing off north Dartmoor. At the get out at Clifford Bridge we met some natives getting on the river who talked us through the river, which was very helpful. We got on from the A382, where there was a small layby. There was a gently introduction before we squeezed under a metal bridge. Shortly after was a big weir that we got out to look at. Me, Fi, Stephen and Tom ran the fish-steps, while Mark and Gordon looked business-like with throwlines, and hopefully Stephen got photos. Then the river got gorge-like and maybe grade 3, and we were dodging between the rocks. Gordon and Stephen got so excited they decided to cool off, meaning Stephen got to do his first roll in anger. The next weir had a very nice little chute down the left between cushion waves. We then passed a pub at Fingle Bridge, which might be a good get-out for future trips. After that is was pleasant and scenic grade 2 with just the one weir to Clifford Bridge.

That evening the storms hit, with wind and some rain. We didn't care, as we stayed warm at Furzeleigh Mill for a lovely evening meal while the rivers topped up a bit.

The next day we decided to stick with what we knew and paddle the Dart. We just got the last parking spaces in New Bridge, but there weren't any spaces to run the shuttle to. The surprise arrival of a friend of Nathan's meant that Tom got to go and paddle the Upper Dart in excellent conditions. The rest of us hit the loop at a pleasant ledge-lapping level. There were quite a few people around, though apparently the day before had been busier. We had a pleasant bimble down. Gordon showed us the way down Lover's Leap, knowing better than any of us the virtues of getting into the eddy at the end. Stephen showed us what happens if you don't, but bravely stuck it out for an eskimo rescue, to great applause from those around us. So high was the river that we didn't notice triple drop until we'd gone over the first. The next two had a lot of swirly water, but we made it down happily each in our own way. We got out at Holne bridge, and about 2 minutes after Gordon and Fi set out to walk the shuttle, the bus arrived to take us and our boats to the top (fortunately Fi and Gordon got a lift) to meet up with Tom and pack up.

A really pleasant trip, with excellent levels, and a new river to add to our repertoire.