29 November 2007

A Personal Record

Today I was working a shift at the local corner shop, but yesterday I went paddling and boy did we paddle. In the past I have clocked two rivers in a day. In fact I have done it on a fair few occasions, but never have I managed more than that. Well that was until yesterday where we managed three rivers all in one paddling day and it may have been the best day I have had on the water. Here is the recipe for having the perfect day of paddling:
  • Get picked up at 8:15am and head north to Burton-in-Kendal services to meet another paddler at 9:30am.
  • Drive to look at the Kent and decided it may be on the high side of good considering there is a tree down in the main gorge.
  • Ring a few contacts trying to find out the level for the Greta in Keswick. Give that up as a lost cause and head to the Lower Rawthey expecting it to be a bit of a scrape.
  • Pull up at the take-out for the Lower Rawthey to see the river flowing brown. It is going to be good so kit up, run shuttle and get on the river.
Running the first weir, which is just around the corner from where you put-on the river.
  • Paddle the river catching countless eddies, waves and stoppers to make this low end grade three trip even more interesting than it already is.
  • Enjoy the fact that you aren't removing pieces of plastic from your boat as the water level is spot on.
  • Carry on down the river enjoying life.
Paddling one of the many rapids on the Lower Rawthey.
  • Get three-quarters of the way down the river to find a tributary, the Dee, flowing rather high. Perhaps it can be paddled?
  • Get out of the boats and walk up through Sedburgh Golf Club as far as you can continuously inspecting the rain fed ditch.
Walking up the side of the Dee.

The main event on the section of Dee we paddled. Higher up there is plenty of Grade 5 mank according to the good old Lake District oracle.
  • Get on the Dee and head on downstream catching eddies as you go.
  • Catch the eddy half way down the main event and turn to spot the next eddy as the paddler behind tries on running straight through resulting in a swim.
  • Start chase boating.
  • Once calm is restored realise you still haven't recovered the paddles so start a thorough inspection of the river with out much look.
  • Pull out your trusty home made Riot Freeride splits and head off to finish the Lower Rawthey.
Team Running the main event on the Lower Rawthey. There is a 'must make' ferry just below, and out of shot, of where I am.

Looking back up at the main event with all the group back on the water.
  • Head on downstream keeping an eye out for the lost paddles (white Lendal Mania's) still enjoying life but feeling slightly guilty about losing a mates paddles.
  • Come across a rather juicy play wave so have a bit of a soul surf.
  • Reach the take-out and head for the cars then wait as the other car is retrieved.
  • Hatch new plans with one of the paddlers for the third river of the day whilst the other thinks of heading for home, once our shuttle is sorted, to tell all of the lost paddles.
  • Drive up to the put-in for the Clough and get ready to make your descent.
  • Head off downstream, enjoying life, reading and running the river from the boat.
One of the many rapids on the Clough.
  • Enter the main gorge of the Clough without inspection and take a hammering against the gorge wall because you ran a drop at the wrong place. Roll back up a bit unnerved at the fact there are only two of you on the river and it's pushing grade four.
  • Carry on reading and running the river.
  • Eventually decide an inspection might be a good idea as there is a tree down just above the main event of the gorge.
  • Decide it will still go as long as you tuck up as you go through the tree.
  • Set up a one man rescue team whilst the other paddler makes a sweet line and then swap.
The main event on the Clough. This hole is incredibly sticky and can be run at either end depending on levels. Yesterday it went right.
  • Carry on downstream safe in the knowledge the river only gets easier from this point forward.
  • Enjoy life a bit more.
  • Pull up at the last drop and make the final eddy before bombing off the drop.
  • Start to go over, low brace and get turned back into the drop, back paddle like it's going out of fashion and wait for your mate to appear.
The last drop on the Clough just before it reaches the Rawthey.
  • Paddle to the take-out, get changed and head for home.
  • Go to the pub to see your other paddling mates and tell them tales of your paddling adventures making them jealous as they had to go to work.
  • Look forward to the weekend as there is still a lot of water up in the Lune valley.
  • Cook for four hours on Gas Mark 4.
More images can be found here.

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

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