27 September 2009


Looking across to Buachaille Etive Mor from the Glen Coe Ski Centre car park.

I'm back from another weekend in Scotland. This weekend's excuse for the trip north was the small matter of a river race on the River Etive, which surprisingly enough can be found in Glen Etive. This was the second year of operation for the race and it was the first time I had entered. I was the other half of UoC1, which was made up entirely of University of Cumbria students.

Matt Tidy and Ed Smith of Team Palm on their way to a second place in the sponsored class.

We travelled up on Friday morning, and arrived early that afternoon. This allowed us to get on the Etive for one quick blast, just so that we could remember the lines, and try and work out where we could shave time off our run. To be honest I think it was the crossing of the flat sections, between the drops, which won or lost you the race.

Our pre-race warm up was less than favourable if we were being honest; I took two swims, one at the bottom of Right Angle, and another at the bottom of Twist 'n' Shout so I wasn't really in a good place when it came to lining up on the start line.

Team Disco Beaver styling Letterbox which secured them third place in the open class.

However, the river had dropped by about six inches when race day was upon us. This settled my nerves somewhat and we were soon off racing down the classic section of the Etive. Our lines through Triple Step felt good, and I even had time to break out and watch my partner over the final step before charging off after him.

The first half of Hopoke's Obese Hamster running Right Angle, which secured them second place in the open class.

With in no time at all I had developed a stitch in my abdomen and my arms were starting to scream for a rest, but we continued on, ticking off the drops as we went: Letterbox... Ski Jump... Crack of Doom... Crack of Dawn... Rock Slide... and finally the big one, Right Angle Falls.

Boats piled up at the finish line, whilst their owners watch the race.

My partner went over the falls first, I waited for a couple of seconds before I followed his line; I didn't want to land on him from six meters up. I plugged the drop, capsized and hastily rolled up to begin the sprint across the plunge pool to the finish line, where my partner was complaining of a sore rib. The medics checked him over and came to the conclusion that he'd either broken a rib or torn a muscle, but at least we finished in good time, 12:49:29, which put us in ninth place in the open class.

More pictures can be found here and the results have been published here.

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

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