28 January 2007

Personal First D.

Today was to be the day, the day to end all days of paddling, the day that would go down in history as a monumental day for kayaking, the day I would actually get to paddle the Leven. The Leven, a grade 2/3 bumble in the southern Lakes, flowing out of the bottom of Windermere, is not really the most astounding river that can go down as a monumental day for kayaking, but for me it was a big thing. I had made attempts before to paddle the river, but various things had cropped up, like; being ill, the car being broken, the person driving the car being ill, too little water, too much water, too much celery in the salad crisper meaning that the balance was just totally out of line for the rest of the week kind of things which make it hard to get on the river.

So today was the day. I got dropped off at Fulwood Leisure Centre and caught a lift up to the Lakes where I met up with the rest of the group. The first thing that greeted me was a lovely sign reading "No unauthorised canoeing," maybe I still wouldn't get to paddle the river. Luckily, it was a day when canoeing was authorised, so not even a minor technicality stopped me from getting on the moving water. Though I guess , if it wasn't a day when canoeing was authorised each member of the group could authorise someone else to paddle the river, until we were all authorised, and then maybe we could have got away with it! Anyhow lets not whittle away our time talking about the ins and outs of access agreements, frankly they suck, and as soon as the laws in Scotland for rivers come into action over here the better. We eventually got on the river when all was said and done. However, the river wasn't done until it was done so we headed off downstream so I could actually say I had paddled the Leven.

Once on the water the Brickchute Weir soon comes into sight and basically this has a nice little stopper on one side great for some cheeky side surfing, and cheeky bow/stern splats and anything else that is cheeky that can be done in a really shallow hole. Then in the middle of the river there is a small wave train, and it may have been possible that on the second wave of the train, the first being too hard to get on, loops could have been thrown. Then after this chute there is another part to the weir that we didn't seem to go in, I don't know why, but we just didn't.

After the Brickchute Weir there is this cheeky little drop, which has been known to be a bit unkind to paddlers that have had upside down experiences if the line, which is suppose to be hit with style is not styled in anyway what so ever. However, today the drop had a rather nice boof spot (middle left of the above picture) for some cheeky boofs, which I managed to hit rather well, though I was a bit too far right, which meant I missed landing in the eddy. We soon moved on from here as there wasn't much in the way of playing potential, but downstream there was the odd little drop to get a cheeky boof, followed up by a cheeky surf in some shallow play features, which weren't letting you go to big in case you just got to cool.

There is also a section of river called the Graveyard, which is littered with boulders, which was rather splendid for getting some rather tight break-outs, which could have been classed as cheeky by some folk, but they were there for the taking and I must say that I took them rather well.

Once we had reached the end, as stated by the access agreement, but is by no means the end of the river as there is some rather splendid looking grade 4 supposedly, we headed back to the top to repeat the section again. Cheeky boofs were had, as were cheeky side surfs and there may have been the odd tight break out made.

Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the second run as my camera decided to pack in, but if the ones on display aren't enough to keep you happy there are some more here.

On re-reading this post I seem to have got a bit hooked up on cheeky surfs and boofs, I don't know why that is, but it's just what my fingers decided to type. Maybe people should start referring to small boofs and small play features as cheeky just because you can. Who knows?

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

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