CSCC Reports 2006: Rivert Dart, 18-19 February 2006

"Worst drought in 50 years" says the Evening Standard. Not a good year for paddling then. The January Dart trip had to be cancelled, and we were watching the weather forecast anxiously. The forecast looked wet, so away we went. Chris and me found a new pub to go to near the B&B, and fortunately Conrad and Gina got lost and gave us a lift back.

The Saturday was ... well ... dry. We paddled the Dart loop anyway. There being relatively few CSCC people there, we were on the river with a record lack of faff, even sorting the shuttle on the way. On the water at 10:30, on even before Tom. We got on to do the Dart loop anyway. From CSCC there were Martin, Chris, Hils and Pete. Scared of the river as he was, Martin had invited Tim, Conrad and Gina to see him safely down the following day.

I'm afraid the photos from this day aren't brilliant, as my camera got wet. We did enjoy T1, playing in the looping wave. And Chris gave everyone a sniff of a rescue beer before self-rescuing on the Washing Machine. In a free afternoon, me and Chris went to an abbey, Tim and his missus Kathy took a ferret to Exeter, Gina and Conrad went in search of a cream tea, and Pete and Hils watched a strange sport where the ball was round and no-one had the sense to pick it up and run.

The Sunday was ... dry again. This time we set off to do the Upper Dart - my first descent. Me, Hils, Tim, Conrad and Gina paddled, while Pete, Chris and Kathy walked or scrambled along the bank, wielding the cameras for some fantastic shots. Conrad's local knowledge paid off, finding the right line almost every time.

Obviously when I ended up upside down pinned on two rocks it was the wrong line, not my incompetence. But I didn't swim.

When we got to Pandora's Box (where even Dave P has been known to let his boat go on unaccompanied), we saw a lot of good people sitting pinned on rocks in low water, so only Tim and Conrad paddled it - Tim took a wrong turn ending up in a random eddy, and Conrad showed how it should be done. We got to the end, and the promised rain arrived in a deluge.

Everyone packed up as fast as they could, wishing they could stay for another day with higher water.

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All images ©2006 CSCC