…Turns out we didn’t sacrifice enough freshers. With the lack of rain in the south-west, Flozza consulted the Captain of timings about what us desperate mortals could do in this hour of need. He remembered a river from a previous life and suggested it. This was on a low at the time of suggestion, the highest river levels around, so Flozza thought he might have telepathic links to the river gods of Exmoor, and trusted the advice.
After hearing the moaning from “experienced paddlers” about how there was no water, and deciding where to get on and paddle, we efficiently left James’s car, without boats, at Exebridge, ready for the shuttle, and put on at the slide in Dulverton. Team drivers went first as the plan was to sort the shuttle before the rest of the club arrived (or at least this was the plan). A group of canoers doing their 4* training were just ahead and slowed down progress for some time. When we overtook them the bumpy rapids of the Barle came to life and the leaders utilised this rare occurrence of decent white water this year to practise some much needed skills. Looming round the corner was a simple low volume weir where a perfect playhole was formed on the other side of the river. This provided the safety, in all manner of boats, with as much fun as their group would let them (David dropping his poggies while surfing and disappearing round the corner to find them, and Matt leading a bunch of fresh off into the unknown) but alas we had to part ways. The river wound down till the get out and everyone agreed it was well worth the time and effort getting there even at low levels.
At the get out team drivers tried to make a hasty and efficient shuttle. However, because James was new to shuttling a river trip, he didn’t ask anyone to take his car keys and left them at the top of the river… This classic mistake was rectified by a local offering to drive Swales up to get the bus, and then Daniel and I could get our cars when James got his keys from the bus. With a quick change and loading of bus, we sat down in the pub with a drink and ogled at the carvery sitting only meters away.
Well done to everyone who hadn’t experienced much white water before and especially well done to Daisy who had her mandatory swim on her first river trip but smiled the whole way down. Still praying for rain, although the season doesn’t show hopes of getting better anytime soon 🙂