14 January 2007

Looking for water...

As the title of the post suggests today was a day where no real plans were made in the hope that with a bit of flexibility we'd get on a river that was in condition. Well with all this rain you would actually expect something to be at a good level, but that wasn't the case for the group I was with today. I'll start at the beginning now.

I got picked up just after eight-forty-five and we headed north to the M6, stopping once to meet another two paddlers on some road off Junction 33. It was agreed here that we would head up to Burneside to take a look at some of the upper reaches of the Kent, seen as none of us had done any other stretches of the Kent apart from the classic and rather popular lower section (posts here and here about paddling that particular section). When we got to Burneside we were undecided about whether it would actually go, so seen as we were so close to the get-out for the Sprint we headed over there to have a look. Again, we were undecided that it would go so we walked up to the measuring gauge, and still we were undecided. We hedged our bets and set ourselves up to paddle the Sprint. This meant boats and kit was shuffled around once we were changed and then, once piled into one car, we headed up the valley to check the river out higher up. When we pulled up at one of the rapids, it didn't look good - it was too low. It was back to collect the car we had left at the get-out and then off to set up for a trip down a section of the Upper Kent. Once a car had been left at the take out we set off up the Kent valley in the hope of getting on the river, but once again when we pulled up to look at the level it wasn't good. It was too low. It was back to collect the car we had left at the get-out and then off to set up for a trip down the classic, and rather popular lower section of the Kent.

Getting on at the public slipway in Kendal.

On one of the flat sections of the Kent.

After running the entry rapid to the first gorge.

A person from another group running the main rapid on the river.

On the most notable rapid of the river one of our group took a swim near the top. There was a good bit of chase boating involved from the other three members of the group, me included. However, the rescue panned out rather well with the swimmer getting themselves to the side, but I did get surfed for a while in one hole whilst another chase boater nearly landed on top of me. I eventually managed to fight my way out of the hole and then get out on the bank to help in the recovery of the boat, which was in mid flow tied off with a rope.

Looking downstream after the rescue.

Me coming up from a roll as my stern disappears in a boil.

On one of the last rapids of the river I had a bit of a shocker. For some reason I messed up a line I have hit on four previous occasions and found myself upside down with the water swirling around my face. I rolled back up instantly, but still I wasn't best pleased.

I ran the next drop without problem and then carried on down to the finale of the river, Force Falls. Luckily I hit my line here as it can sometimes deal out the odd spanking to the unwary, but still I was a bit nervous especially after I missed a line further upstream on a rapid that is not anywhere as daunting as Force Falls.

I'm in there somewhere - at the bottom of Force Falls.

We had another swim on this fall. It was quite spectacular really. The paddler came over the drop on line, but then the bow flew up into the air and over they went. There was an attempt made at rolling, but it didn't just come off. They popped their deck and in no time at all we had them back in their boat ready to head off downstream to the get-out which was just around the corner.

Rescuing the swimmer.

Once off the river cars were packed and conversation was had before we headed off south for home. It wasn't a great day on the water for most of the group and I think it was all set up with the abysmal lack of water in the Sprint and Upper Kent, even though the section we did eventually paddle was a good high/medium level.

More pictures can be found here.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

No comments: