07 January 2007

The Lune valley is going off

Just got back from another nice day out on the water in my boat and what can I say: it was great. I'll start from the beginning so you can get a complete story. I sent an email out on Friday evening to the usual suspects and the usual suspect replied. On Saturday a couple of texts were sent in the hope that Artle Beck maybe running but it was doubtful as the Lune was so low so the plans kind of stalled there. At half-ten that night I got another text saying I'd get picked up at half-eight and we'll be off paddling.

So at half-eight I got picked up and we headed to Bamber Bridge for a chat with a paddling mate whilst me waited for another paddler to arrive. Once they had arrived boats and kit were moved and we headed to the motorway. We pulled in at Lancaster Forton services to meet up with another paddler before heading even further north to Sedburgh to meet another two paddlers. From here we headed to the get-out for the Upper Lune to take a look and it was on the high side of good. It could of also been down to the events that happened over the last week that kind of put me off paddling this river. So we headed on to the get-out for the Upper Rawthey (this is starting to sound like a day I have had before). With a quick look over the bridge we determined that it was again on the high side of good so plans were made to go and check out the Clough. When we had a peek over the bridge here it looked on the low side of good; it was on. We headed to the get-out, which is also the get-out for the Upper Rawthey and get changed before heading back up the valley to put on.

Once on the river it was pretty continuous, but three events stand out the most to me and these are what I'll talk about:
  1. This was the first time we had, had to get out to inspect the river. When sat at the top of the gorge all we could see was the river disappearing around a blind bend so out we popped to inspect. It was definitely a goer so I got back in my boat, settled myself in and headed off. I came to the main event of the section we had just scouted, a kind of hole which had the water all funnelled into the middle. I looked to take it on the right, flaring as I went. I think I wasn't far enough right, my bow kicked up and it looked like I was going to go for the full loop. However, I managed to pull her down and tame the bucking bronco and paddle the rest of the section the right way up, even though the first part of it was done vertical.
  2. This was the second time we had, had to get out to inspect the river. This is the main feature on the river and is referred to as "a strong hole" in the White Water Lake District guidebook by Stuart Miller so naturally we all got out to have a look at her. On inspection it looked marginal, but it was definitely a giver with a line either right (had to be spot on) or left (must land on a boil and be quick to get away). One of the group ran it with me providing bank support and then I headed up the river, got lost trying to find my boat, and eventually got back to the river. I broke out once on the lead into the "strong hole," took a breath and headed off into the maelstrom. I went left on the drop, flared nicely onto the boil, got spun around and was out of there quickly back paddling. Sweet!!!
  3. The last drop on the river. To be honest I didn't actually realise the drop was there until I made the last eddy before the water cascaded over the two metre drop. To put it easy I was a bit f$%£ed by this as I couldn't really get out and inspect or portage so I was left with no choice but to run a drop where I had no idea of the line. I then heard a voice from above; "Iain, it'll go." On these three words I broke out and took a narrow chute over the drop. I made a half-hearted attempt at boofing and the boat skipped away from the drop and I managed to get away before colliding with the vertical rock bank. The next person down took my line and styled it. However, the next person did not. They plugged the drop a bit too much and got spat out back towards the drop. This took them over and after a couple of attempts at rolling they were swimming. Rescues were carried out and as this was coming to the end the next paddler dropped over the drop, off line and got looped. They made a couple of attempts to roll, but swam and after having a bit of downtime they got to the side on the opposite side of the river to where there boat was. Ropes were thrown across to reunite boat and paddler.
From them sections described you can say I've written enough about this river so now I'll move on. The get-out for the Clough, as it happens, is the put-in for the Lower Rawthey so after some car arrangements four of the group (two had called it a day) headed on down the river. The Lower Rawthey is a bit of a step down from the Clough and easier than the Upper Rawthey, but still it was nice. There was one rapid where I got out for a look and hit some of my line after messing up the entry into the rapid. When I thought the trip was coming to the end, and I was winding down, this really nice play wave appeared so I put my head in gear and had a bit of a play, nearly nailing a blunt, before eventually getting off the river and heading for the pub.

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

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