CSCC Reports 2007: River Dart - 20thJanuary 2007

It rained on our way to the Dart. The B&B had also assured us that it had rained in the week. It was going to be a unique event: pre-booked access tickets coinciding with water in the rivers!

On the Saturday morning we went to look at the start of the Dart Loop. The river was high, running through three arches at Newbridge. Some of the group decided this was not for them, and went to the get-out to wait for the group. The rest split into two groups.

The first group – Martin, Conrad, Gina and Richard J – decided to make good use of the water. They got on, and 45 minutes later (despite stopping to rescue another group’s boat), they met up with the non-paddlers at the end. “The other group will probably be another hour” they said, glibly.

Meanwhile the second group paused briefly while Dave M inflated his raft, which was then crewed by Dave, Julia, Tom and Gordon. This group did manage to find some eddies to stop in (how I don’t know), and proved that paddling a raft is no barrier to pulling radical moves, including a splat. Three hours later they finished and took the non-paddlers for a Devon cream tea.

Meanwhile the faster group headed west in search of rivers new. They found the river Plym at an excellent level. In the absence of photos, the report here is:

There once was a river called Plym
Whose banks were full up to the brim
It wasn't a breeze
With one or two trees
But nobody needed to swim

Martin managed a technical swim, when his deck popped after getting a little close to a tree. Richard J pushed his swamped boat onto some rocks at the top of a tree-filled gnarly drop to empty out. For future runs, the get-out is easily spotted as it is opposite where a small family of pigs came down to the water to oink at us.

The second day we were relieved to see that the river was down a foot or two. Tom joined Gina, Conrad and Richard J to paddle the Upper, with everyone else paddling the Loop. For Sarah and Wade it was their first time on white water. Water levels were ideal, with most of the rocks covered, but the eddies still there to stop in. Triple drop was more interesting, with a tree covering the left. Lines varied between sneaking down the eddy on the right (Richard S), aim at the tree and miss at the last minute (Martin), wisely walk round (Bridge), and upside down because your girlfriend’s sitting blocking your line (Mark).

All in all, an excellent trip. May every winter be this wet.

Photo Links

Hils and Pete's photos

Richard's photos