CSCC Reports 2007: River Dart - Feb 2007

And still it falls!

Yet again we drove through a deluge to get to Dartmoor. When we looked at the river, it may have been an inch or two below the previous time, but when Tom said it was going like a tank, he didn't mean a big container filled with still water. On the Saturday just a few intrepid souls took to the water at first. In less than two hours they were at the get-out, despite having taken the time to try a medley of different lines to avoid the tree at triple drop. So fast were Tom, Martin, Hils and Pete that they beat the others to the bottom by some time. Chris, Lucy and Turtle had discovered that the walk from Newbridge to the Country Park counts as Grade 4, since "the route is not easily recognisable and will usually require careful inspection from the boat or bank."

At the bottom, Gordon got on to be taken through his paces by Tom, and showed that canoeing is not something easily forgotten. He was soon zipping across the current. Lucy got on, her first time on proper water. The strong flow meant that learning to edge the right way was far from a theoretical exercise, as Martin proved rolling after a failed attempt at a stern squirt. One thing Lucy never got to practice was a capsize drill, since she was quite happy to wait, swimming up for occasional breaths, until a gallant rescuer arrived and she could pull herself upright.

On the second day the river was down a bit, perhaps going like an army jeep. Still a bit fast for Lucy, and Tom and Turtle took her to the bottom to build up her skills. Meanwhile Hils, Pete, Martin, Chris and Gordon took to the river. The water was low enough that the occasional play wave appeared. Chris took advantage and proved his sea-kayaking roll worked on river surf as well. Hilary also achieved her first "roll with a parasite". Gordon was less fortunate when his boat hit a rock, and Martin managed the tradition of making sure the boat is rescued on the opposite side of the river from the paddler, despite Pete's efforts to do something sensible. Pete also rolled several times, but this seemed to be some kind of ritual rather than accidental. This time there were more people around, which meant we got to watch another group try out the options for swimming round the tree.

A good trip was rounded off with slabs of Julia's cake, and we were just in the cars as it started to rain, presumably sending the river up to at least armoured car levels.


Hils and Peter's

Martin's Feb 2007/