10 June 2007

Man down

There was another Washburn release today so I posted a message on my club forum, got a bit of a response and planned to meet some mates at half ten in the top car park of the river. Easy days. We set off from Preston at nine, heading for Darwen where we were to pick a boating buddy up, and then off down the M65 onto the A59 and onto the road to the Washburn, finally arriving at the planned time of... half ten. Easy days. Got changed had a bit of friendly banter and then headed down to the river for some general Washburn fun. Easy days.

Roger and I in the top Wave; pulling hard to cut back into the eddy besides the bridge (which the photo was taken from).

One of my boating pals playing in the river wide hole. I haven't paddled with them for a while because they've been at Manchester Uni so it was nice to catch up.

Another one of my pals in the same river feature.

One of the rafts descending the river in a somewhat poor fashion. These raft guides were no Tryweryn raft guides. Through out the day I fished out two of their paddles, which had been left to float down the river.

The paddling buddy we picked up in Darwen making a bit of statement in her pink boat. Very feminine.

Me after running the 'Big Drop' being camera man for the next paddler down. The picture I got was crap and was dutifully deleted when put onto the computer.

Walking back up the river. I had steamed off ahead as Roger ways a tonne now that I have all my kit in the back of him.

Once we had reached the top car park I swapped boats, leaving Roger on the car and taking Alistair for a spin. Obviously I changed my Teva's over to some Palm Neoprene socks as not a lot fits in the front of Alistair.

Posing in front of a tree. I think the river may have been in spate. It was hardcore. Easy days.

Getting use to Alistair once again - that's me on my bow. Going from Roger to Alistair seems to improve my playboating no end. I can just throw the old boy around like there's no tomorrow where as in Roger a little bit more persuasion is needed.

Unfortunately my time in Alistair was short lived. I made it just down to the first bridge, had a quick surf on that wave and then moved onto the little, inconspicuous wave that is usually ignored by most people. Perhaps I should have; what followed was not pretty, it wasn't nice and it certainly wasn't easy days.

As I peeled off the wave my bow pearled and over I went. Not a problem I thought as I set up for a roll and for some reason I just hung there and didn't do anything. Then I did something and up I came. Once upright I realised that my boat had floated downstream through a small gap and over some rocks. On looking down at the damage this had caused me I was a bit shocked to find both hands covered in blood which was oozing out of several wounds. Time to head for the bank for some first aid. My first aid kit was still in Roger back up at the car park so I shouldered the boat and headed for help. Blood was dripping everywhere and on returning to the Washburn the trail will still be visible on the bridge as there was a fair bit dripped over them wooden slats. First aid was applied to the wounds and when the blood was stemmed the extent of the damage could be seen. The thumbnail on my left had been ripped off and all the thumb was grazed. The thumb on the right had taken a bit of a battering as well and a deep cut on the underside of the knuckle was quite deep. A nice theatre nurse offered assistance and cleaned and dressed the wound.

The hands all bandaged up.

Some blood clots forming on the diamond pattern on my AT4 paddles. Blood was everywhere.

I decided that it would not be wise to head back to the river so I donned dry clothes, my Animal flip-flops and Bloc shades and went for a walk down the river to watch my paddling buddies have fun on the water.

An Eskimo Topolino Duo was on the Washburn. I have taken one of these down in the past and they are much fun. As it happens the paddler in the front is one of my mates I have not seen for a fair while as they have relocated to Teesside.

Going for an end in the broken weir on the bottom section of the river.

All smiles despite the damaged thumb.

More pictures can be found here.

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

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