23 November 2008

Friday Fun

So on Thursday I headed down to Wales for the UniYaker Selection weekend. It was a late start to the event when I was picked up in Carlise from some of the boys travelling down from Scotland. I think we eventually left Carlisle at 10pm and with only one stop reached the bunk house just outside Tremadog at some stupid hour in the early morning. There was just enough time for a brief chat before hitting the sack in order to be fresh the next day for some North Welsh boating.

Over the last week there hadn't been much rain in North Wales and with the mild covering of moisture on the roads and pavements outside the bunkhouse on Friday morning the guys in the know were struggling to think of what may be just going. Eventually a decision was made to head over to the Aberglaslyn Gorge for a descent, or two, or three. I think there was just enough water in the river; it was a good introduction to Welsh boating for me, a good opening to the selection weekend where everybody could get to know each other on a river with little consequence at this level, but still enough to require a cheeky boof or flare at times. On the third and final run down the gorge we did not split into a number of smaller groups - which allowed us to get to know each other better, and have a bit more space on the river to manoeuvre - instead we had one mass race down the gorge.

Eughain Johnson on the opening stretches of the Aberglaslyn Gorge.

The UniYaker Selection Invites racing off down the Aberglaslyn Gorge; Boater X style.

Stuart Haywood boofing out on Boatbreaker.

Walking back up the road to the cars to shoot off to the next river.

After the Aberglaslyn Gorge we headed on in search of our second river of the day. There had been a few phone calls to the Conwy phone gauge early in the morning, before we left the bunkhouse, and it was believed that it may just be running so we headed that way with some hope. However, with a quick inspection of Fairy Falls, which looked a heinous mess of siphons, undercuts and rocks that definitely had pinning potential, it was a write off and we headed on after much debate for a huck down Swallow Falls.

Thousand yard stare: Ben McKeown and Andy Jaunzems inspecting the top of Swallow Falls.

James Broadley on the first slide of Swallow Falls.

Nathan Fletcher about to start down the second slide of Swallow Falls.

Aidan Smallwood on Swallow Falls' second slide.

Eughain Johnson stepping up to be the first of the day to style the last drop on Swallow Falls.

That evening the author of Many Rivers to Run, expedition boater extraordinaire, Dave Manby popped in to listen to the many presentation on various international destination that the team could head too. There was definitely a wide range from Alaska to Vietnam, to the Sayan Mountains in Russia to Lesotho, which is nestled away in South Africa. By the end of the evening it had all been narrowed down to five destinations and it was decided the final team could whittle it down even more to that all important one.

That's the opening day over really. There is a lot more I can say, but it'd be boring to read and make the post even longer. I think the pictures do the day enough justice to not warrant any more words.

More pictures of the weekend can be found here.

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

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