12 January 2009

Catching the morning run off

I'm still not back in lectures, but instead have another week off before the second semester kicks in. This is nice, as I get to relax and chill out a bit more after the Christmas break, but when a lot of rain is put down over a day-and-a-half, its just rude not to go boating.

Today's boating came about through one simple text message sent to four kayakers living around the Penrith area. Two replied; one wasn't in the area, but knew of people heading out, and the other was game. A few minutes later and everything was put in place to meet up at a house in Penrith at 7:30am, get out on some rivers, which had been empty on Saturday, and were now in spate.

At Garsdale Head, waiting to put on the morning run off.

Once everyone had met up all bleary eyed plans were made to head over into the Lune Valley to see if we could catch the run-off on the Upper Clough. I have done this river before, but never ventured so high up the valley as it needs a lot of water. Some of us were slightly sceptical about the possibility of getting it in condition, but the early start gave us an advantage over the water, which had fallen on Sunday, and was now starting on its journey to the Irish Sea. When we got there it was on. The upper section was a goer and soon enough, whilst the shuttle was being run, a couple of us hucked our meat off the first bedrock fall at Garsdale Head.

Central line on the first bedrock fall.

All was going well until a land rover pulled up on the A684, which runs besides the river, and the occupant got out and started huffing and puffing about us being on the water. Fair game, he had a point, we were traipsing over his land without his permission so we moved on downstream, via the road, like he suggested, to find an alternative get on. He did mention that if we had asked permission beforehand he would have been more than happy to co-operate.

We were all eventually reunited on the river and bumbled on downstream boofing the many rock sills, which make up much of the interest on this section. Then the big one was upon us, the drop I had stared at countless times in the Lake District oracle, Lemmings Fall. There was much time spent umming and arrghing over the lines and eventually someone stepped up and ran the shizzle. The line wasn't ultra-tidy; there was a bit of time spent upside down in the hole, with the bow of the boat teetering on entering the cave behind the fall, but it worked.

Lemmings Fall.

About to get surfed along the hole, upside down, with the bow teetering on entering the cave.

Two more descents were made of the fall; one was by myself and the other, another member of the group. I had a good line, with a late boof off a diagonal ledge, which carried me on the perfect line to boof out over the hole at the bottom of the final 3m drop. It was, I hoped, styled to a degree, but that may have been more accidental than anything else. After the rest of the group had portaged we carried on downstream.

One of the final grade III/IV drops on the river.

We floated the rest of the way downstream, flicking the switch at certain times when some speed and navigation was needed, but the get out was soon up on us. There was some debate about carrying on to bag another river, but apathy had set in for some of us and the enthusiasm wasn't really there so we headed for home instead.

Today was a really rewarding day on the river, the 6:45am start from Carlisle was worth it in order to catch the run-off on a section of river I've never done. It was definitely needed, as by the time we had got off the river, it was too low to contemplate heading back to the top for a second run. It was also, for me, what the doctor had ordered for the things mentioned a couple of weeks ago. It did me the world of good and started to make me feel more positive about my boating; when inspecting things from the bank I was able to hit the line when back in the boat.

More pictures of the early morning adventure can be found here.

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

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's a great run, isn't it? Last winter I lined up for the boof off the drop right at the top of the moor - and then got blown backwards by a sudden gale ...

Mark R