25 January 2009

Keeping 'em sweet

Since September I've been living in Carlisle with Jemma, commuting to university each day, and at times I think she gets slightly neglected when I go jetting off into the Lake District on exotic beck bashing missions in the deepest and darkest regions of Cumbria. However, today Ribble Canoe Club were venturing north to descend the River Greta and after some ingenious planning on Friday night, and some further work on Saturday, I was able to get an Eskimo Topolino Duo brought up from Preston, which meant that I was able to bring Jemma along for some fun.

A smiling front seat passenger somewhere near the top of the river.

The Greta, for me, has turned into my local run. Since moving to Cumbria it has been the river I have paddled the most. I've had quick midday mad dashes over from Carlisle to catch it when I've not paddled for a while, or quick apres-lecture mad dashes over from university to catch it because I could. However, this has left me with a great knowledge of the river meaning that I was more than confident in the fact that I could get a two-person kayak down the river and still play the features.

Surfing a wave.

I have paddled a Topo Duo previously; on the Washburn over in Yorkshire and on the Rothay in the South Lakes so it wasn't that unfamiliar to me. In some ways the Topo Duo and it's one-person version are very similar to my Rocker and therefore it handled much the same on the river. Obviously I had to talk through my thought processes on the river in order for Jemma to know what to do and when to do it in order to make an eddy, or ferry across the current, or even surf a wave. This made me feel like I was back on the Durance, guiding inflatable buses down the river once again.

Breaking out underneath the A66.

The river was at a good level. The last time I had seen any river data for it was Friday morning and that had said it was dropping so I was slightly dubious as to whether the drive for the boys from Preston would be worth it. However, on arriving at Threlkeld Bridge it all looked good. There had been rain Friday afternoon and early Sunday morning, which the data I use for river levels wouldn't have taken into account, meaning that it gave a false representation of the river conditions. However, it is a mightily useful tool to have only a few clicks away.

Tucking up to punch through a 'meaty' hole.

Arriving on the outskirts of Keswick.

All in all it was a good day; the levels were good, the company was excellent and at times the weather couldn't have been any better. However, it's back to lecturers tomorrow.

More pictures can be found here.

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

No comments: