Archive for WW
River Vyrnwy 4th/5th November 2017
What a pleasure to see this trip so well supported by members of the club. We found ourselves in an impressive location with fantastic scenery along the river and lake. The bunkhouse was in the middle of now where down a sheep track. Very unnerving when you arrive in the dark wondering whether you have taken the right forest mud track with no possible way of turning back!
The pictures on the blog speak for themselves, with wave trains, bone shakers, log jams,techy bits, and some great waterfalls and waves to play on. This was a new venue for everyone which made it an even more exciting adventure into the unknown. The dam over the river Vyrnwy was very impressive matched by the weir further along with its 20 foot drop over rocks.
The usual problem as the weekend approached NO RAIN!! Lucky for us Welsh water decided to release some water from Lake Vyrnwy. Saturday we paddled Pont Llogel to Pontrobert and on Sunday Llanwddyn to Pont Llogel. The River Vyrnwy is great for an intro to Whitewater grade 2-3 with something for everyone, we will go back. Aftereights supplied by Chris, good game thanks mate.
White Water trip 19th and 20th November
The white water trip over the weekend was very successful with 9 club members venturing down to Devon. The expected high rivers never materialised despite Rain Watchers telling us differently. Hector, in preparation for the high volume water took his position in the trees.
And after a short while, realising that the water wasn’t going to reach him came down. See video.(This may download to your pc. Im having trouble playing it on the website)
Meanwhile, Anna was getting a little “tyred.”
Saturday, we paddled the R.Dart (Loop), and on the Sunday we paddled the R.Walkham and the R. Tavy. I have no pictures of “The Slot” but can recommend swimming there. A fantastic weekend was had by all, with lots of pictures taken. A really big thank you to Barry, our Vice Chairman, for organising the bunk house, biscuits and tea, and to Kevin for the coaching and guidance down the rivers. The behind the scenes stuff, which is so important, can sometimes go unrecognised and without the organisational work going on, trips like this don’t happen. Brilliant weekend, thank you.
Seven club members ventured to Devon for the annual Dart weekend. Friday night had us sitting in the Prince of Wales pub, Princetown, watching the snow fall and Chris devour a whole farm yard of pigs, chicken eggs and a crop of potatoes as we discussed our plans for Saturday. We decided to run the Loop and then do the River Erme, which was a grade 2/3 or a 3/4 or maybe a 4/5 river. That kind of detail got lost as the river guide was passed around the pub in between rounds of beer.
Saturday. The Loop was running at medium levels and once we’d got away from the maddening crowd we could enjoy the river, having decided that we weren’t going to play on it for too long as we wanted to do the R. Erme. 3 hours later we were at the get in point for the R.Erme. Jill had decided not to paddle the Erme as she had badly bruised her arm earlier on the Loop. The Erme began with a rock garden lots of twists and turns and bumpy scrapy stuff to sort through. The first fall had me out, as did the second and the third; you get the picture. I decided enough was enough and walked out, Andy (blonde beard) who had hurt is shoulder also decided to walk back to the car with me. Unfortunately Jill had both sets of car keys, and our only phone was dying, just enough power to give me Jills phone number which was scribbled onto a £5 note in charcoal – not good. We dragged and pulled our kayaks for a good 20 minutes before reaching Andys’s car. On route I spoke to a couple of walkers who kindly agreed to phone Jill once they had a signal. At the car I knocked on one of the local houses who not only let me use their phone but also gave us tea and mars bars. Embarrassingly, Andy only drinks coffee so the lady made Andy a coffee. Really, really nice couple, they even let us shelter in their shed out of the rain whilst we waited for Jill. If you think that was good a jogger went by and said if you’re still here in 20 minutes I’ll fetch my car and run you to Ivy Bridge. Wow,the people in this part of the world are really helpful and kind. Jill picked us up and we drove to the get out point just in time to see the others arrive, perfect timing. That grade 2/3/4/5 ended up as being a 4/5 with the falls getting bigger and bigger, people disappearing into holes, lots of pinning, a broken paddle, a dented boat and five grinning kayakers. You can take it they enjoyed it, in fact that night in the pub confirmed they really enjoyed it. Kevin’s just got to sort out his left from his right. The book said don’t go right… and later in the pub “yeah, I remember reading something about that”.
Sunday – it was the Loop again, just to see off the weekend and gave me a chance to try out Chris’s boat, a dagger Mamba. The river was running a lot lower. Jill had decided not to paddle as her arm was still very painful.
The washing machine , lovers leap, triple falls all taken in my stride. After initial nervousness in a strange boat, it grew on me and it was so comfortable.
Come Triple falls Chris had had enough. He had shoe horned himself into my Pyranah and cramp was now getting the better of him, plus the fact he was convinced he had holed it! Back in the Pyranah I was able to make a direct comparison between the boats which was really helpful. I like the Mamba. Comfort, buouyancy and not having the fish tail getting sucked back in stoppers was confidence inspiring. On the down side its heavy compared to my Pyranah one zone, a small price to pay.
Thanks to Kevin for organising the trip, and to my fellow paddlers Chris (thanks for the loan of your boat) Andy(black beard), James, Andy(blonde beard) and Jill, who made the trip so enjoyable.
15 members of Bramston CC and 3 guests headed off to Bala in Wales to take part in a 2-day White-Water-Safety and Rescue course.
Why any White water would need safety advice or indeed to be rescued did puzzle me, however, it soon became clear that it was some of us that needed the safety advice and on many occasions, were in desperate need of rescuing.
It’s fair to say the group contained a range of “mixed ability” paddlers, maybe better defined as “mixed concern” paddlers , as some of us had serious concerns about leaving the relative safety of terra firma and intentionally throwing oneself into fast moving water with all it’s associated drops, rocks, strainers and other hazards of extreme unpleasantness and potential pain, whilst some obviously had no concerns at all and couldn’t wait to get the inevitable adrenalin rush that comes with an excursion to the outside of ones comfort zone.
The group donned various levels of protection from the driest of dry suits to almost obscenely tight wet suits, the former being under the impression that staying dry apart from ones face was the best idea to survive the onslaught of cold water, whilst the later presumably had some kind of exhibitionistic fetish.
Day -1 saw us introduced to our 3 coaches in groups of 6, our particular group consisted of Joy “the canoe woman”, Ian “The controller”, Mandy “Fluro Woman”, Nicky “The Frog”, Cheryl “The rope” and Gary “ The Labrador”, and we headed off to partake in all things “self-rescue” with our allocated coach, Richard “This is meant to be a dry suit !!!”…this unfortunately meant lots of forceful swimming, with more focus on fast and furious arm rotation rather than finesse of stroke delivery. Synchronised swimming this is not !! We were taught that the mental focus should always be positive…” I will make this eddy” is quite acceptable…but apparently thinking to oneself “If I don’t make this Eddy I’m definitely going to die” is not quite so good, unless of course you are looking at the last eddy above the falls of inevitable bone crunching Death, in which case you might have a case to argue that your attitude is actually just “realism”.
We discovered that lots of people demonstrated no consistency whatsoever when throwing throw-lines, mostly due to the fact that they owned a throw-line, but had in-fact rarely ever tried to use it, instead opting to keep it nice and clean and dry , tucked up with all the other “safety kit” that one gets, but hopes to never use.
After some practice we did actually increase our accuracy as a group, especially Mandy who started to bounce the bag off of the swimmers head.
We set up a “strainer” and attempted to cross it “defensively”, this was apparently so that we could fully understand the need to hit a strainer in an attacking swimming style, but I think it was more to do with our coach having a risk-free laugh at our expense as we inevitably all went under it upside down.We used the Chest harness to hold static in the flow, just to feel how much pressure there is in that situation and just how much of an air pocket you actually get when held like that.
We found out that Mandy is the best shot with the throw bag as far as accuracy goes, but no-one came near to my distance skills….as long as I remember to actually let go!
The whole team went for a meal that night, joined by the coaches and some bloke called Kevin who just happened to be in the area with his family. Stories of heroic actions were exchanged freely, whilst slightly less alcohol was consumed than the previous evening and the “die-hard” core of drinkers diminished somewhat to a small group of dehydrated masochists.
Day -2 saw our team practicing some eddy hoping in various boat convoys whilst trying out hand signals and leadership skills and then the ropes were out again for “pinning theory” which could be more accurately described as “HELP, I’ve lost my ruddy boat”.
We looked at the rather grave situation of foot entrapment, and the fact that the grave is indeed where you will probably end up, unless your team can react just slightly faster than superman can fly, in order to get a rope across and lift your head from the water……
We put the lines to other good uses like getting the team and a few boats/kit across the river in zip-line fashion…..quite enjoyable to float downstream knowing one is connected to a fixed line.
More swimming and throw-line rescues were practiced; I even managed to bag a couple of individuals from another group who just happened to be flowing past on their way to the chipper. We thought of letting Andy flow through, but Mandy caved in and executed another on-target throw to rescue him as well….an opportunity missed there.
All in all the weekend was enjoyed by everyone. We owe massive thanks to our instructor Richard for putting up with the sick , lame and quite frankly, completely unfit members of his team, but then there was Gary……in for another swim and I didn’t even see someone throw a ball this time.
What did I learn?
- Don’t ever get a foot trapped
- Strainers must be attacked.
- Find an eddy BEFORE the drop, not after.
- When swimming a helmet visor is “catchy”, but great when you are held static for providing a bigger breathing hole
- If you find yourself swimming, hope that Mandy is on bank support.
- Throw a ball in a river and Gary will jump in after it.
- New dry suits are not always that dry.
- Nicky can tell you the model numbers of all the Dyson hand dryers (she doesn’t get out much)
- Don’t try to knee a rock, the rock will win every time
- Never set up just for the photo…even if a bloke down the pub said it would look cool, don’t do it.
- And above all?……. Rescue yourself!!!
Submitted by Ian B.
“Billys Group” consisted of Jill, Phil, Liam, Chris, Karen and John
John H – Best bit about the weekend for me was walking as a team in a V shape across the fast flowing water. Surprising bit was swimming across the stopper in the weir. Technical bit was the pulley system and various knots (there were two!). Most fun was the live bait catching and most memorable – seeing Karens unique method of draining out her trousers with the aid of Jill!
Liam Healy – Thank you very much, it was a good course and good company. I felt that the course was very good and well run. Good fun and educational, learning lots of new skills that will be beneficial and I’m sure useful at some point.
This trip was in preparation for the clubs fast approaching Alps trip. Kevin, Clive, Phil, Miriam, Jill, Andy and his family and me travelled to Wales on the Friday and camped on the shores of Bala lake. Some of us pitched where the midges hang out and consequently now look like we have some incurable disease from bite marks. Bala night life needs a lot to be desired, its non existent, however the one eatery that was open, a pizza restaurant with an unpronounceable name did Bala proud and we were happy bunnies. It tipped down with rain all night so not much sleep. Saturday came and some of us were up early in the morning to cook breakfast, however no one else bought cooking gear so I breakfasted alone. It was then off to the local cafe for,er, more breakfast. We then hit the water.
Andy and I put in a the bottom of Chapel falls in order to take photos of the others coming down. My videoing needs a lot to be desired. Miriam came over the top capsized and did a text book roll – not caught on camera. She was followed by Jill who shot the falls with no problem and then Phil came down. Unfortunately he caught his tail end in a stopper and capsized and after several attempts at rolling bailed out,(caught on camera) , much to the delight of Andys children who were lining the banks and laughing with excitement.
The journey down the river to Bala falls was full of lots of exciting moments and near misses, far too many to mention including an interesting method of transferring an empty kayak from one bank to the other. At the falls Miriam, Andy, Phil and myself did the Leat, a very narrow canal running alongside the gorge whilst Kevin, Clive and Jill went down the falls. We got to the bottom of the falls just in time to see Kevin come over the top. Jill was next but she clipped a rock on the lip of the very first descent and capsized, negotiating the rest of the falls upside down. It looked horrendous and after what seemed an age Jill popped up smiling – and I’ve got that on video! Top woman and battle scars to prove it! It was then back to the centre for a quick cup of tea and then Clive, Kevin and Miriam went and played in the top of the Treweryn by the chipper. Its was all going well until Spud (Miriams kayak) did a runner and shot the falls on his own, much to Miriams annoyance. After Spuds recovery, he was found snorkelling around some rocks, Kevin and Clive decided to crack on down the river on their own. Saturday evening was spent in a pub in the next village to the south of Bala. Excellent food and the conversation was all about the days events. We were joined by Miriams mum who came up to camp for the night. Thankyou very much Miriams mum for the lift to the pub.
Sunday morning and I was up cooking my breakfast again, followed by a trip to the cafe. Today we were going to play on the upper Treweryn putting in by the Chipper. We practiced eddy hopping and worked our way down the river taking on bigger eddies and falls. We had named parts of the river to reflect our efforts and failures, For instance we had the pool of shame, a nice catch pool before the really big stuff, and you ended up here on your lonesome if you missed all the eddies further up stream. We also had Phils bush (named changed to prevent embarrassment) another safe haven, but if you let go you ended up over the falls. This was an excellent days paddling and confidence booster for the whole group and a brilliant way to finish off an exciting weekend. Thanks to Kevin and Clive for their patience, rescues (!) and tuition and to Jill for the fantastic descent of Bala falls. Memorable.