This summer saw EUCC take a record breaking 26 people to the Alps on the clubs annual paddling holiday. The destination this year was Slovenia followed by Austria; some of the best places to white water kayak in the world! We travelled in a convoy of 4 vehicles on an epic 26 hour road trip! Although the journey was a long one, the time flew by fast listening to everyone’s cd’s they made, with plenty of singing, banter and jokes along the way!
Our campsite in Slovenia was towards the end of the River Soca in Kobarid. A perfect location with easy access to a great section of grade 3/4 part of the river, the ‘Otona’ and a short drive upstream to the other well- known sections such as ‘Bunker G’ and the ‘Gorge’. Throughout our week in Slovenia we worked the different sections of the river. There was plenty of rain and some thrilling thunder storms towards the end of the week which kept the water levels high for some exciting paddling! Many of the freshers were thrown in at the deep end with the kayaking style but all held strong and positive throughout the week and improved dramatically! There was only one small drama with a pinned boat (no names mentioned Kealen) but everyone worked well as a team to free the beast (Java) from the River and a great chance for everyone to practice their white water safety.
A few members of the club even braved to paddle the famously named ‘Syphon canyon’ on one of our rest days and we also had a walk to a gorgeous waterfall close to the campsite where a few people took a cheeky dip with a mud fight on the way home! Of course we also explored the night life in Kobarid during the evenings and I think I speak for many when I say we all made some special friends with the locals! There was a carnival on one of our evenings out with life music and food and it was awesome to spend the time experiencing the Slovenia culture. We were also joined by some ex- memebers from the club Phil and Lynne who were travelling at the same time as us. It was lovely to see them both and they joined us on our journey to Austria.
Upon our arrival in Austria the weather was dry and for the first time we had a night without rain! Unfortunately we woke to more heavy rain and to lift peoples spirits we visited a spa a short drive away with sauna and heated pools! After a session of aqua aerobics people’s spirits were back and we headed back to camp dry and refuelled for our first day kayaking in Austria.
The paddling in Austria was such a different style to that of Slovenia. The River Salza was a wide open river with big wave trains and was a complete comparison to the narrow gorge style paddling on the River Soca. Many freshers agreed that they enjoyed this style of paddling and by the end of the week confidence levels were high. Kate showed off her incredible lilo skills paddling (floating) 15k on a lilo! Well done Kate, I think that could soon become a new sport. As our campsite was positioned perfectly next to the river and during the evening a few of the club would spent some time surfing the play wave upstream. A flatspin was even seen from George in his inflaitable dingy!
Also not too far from the campsite was a section of river with 60 plus salmon steps built into the side of the hill. An epic challenge was taken on by Hugh, Nixon, Fatty and Ash to make it to the bottom. As they boofed their way down the steps the rest of the club practiced their safety skills and as they ran along the paddlers shouting encouragement all the way to the end! A big well done to the guys who took on such a tough challenge and styled it!
Towards the end of the holiday we headed up to Laussafall waterfall. For many this was their first ever waterfall so lots of people were keen to give it a go. The water level was quite high so only a few people got the go ahead from ‘God’ but the day was enjoyed by all as we chilled eating and drinking by the pool under the waterfall. A good 5m it was quite scary and there were a few hairy moments but it was an awesome highlight of the trip.
Our time in Austria soon came to an end and to finish the trip off we ate in a bar just up the road and everyone received an award for a memorable moment from the trip.
The holiday was a huge success and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it. Who would have thought a bunch of students could organise such an awesome trip away and one that was as cheap and chips! Lastly a big thank you to everyone who helped organise the trip. Slovenia and Austria 2012… an awesome holiday I will never forget!