Firstly a big thanks to Mat for organising the event. Also to all the experienced paddlers who supported the likes of me down the river. Giving us invaluable coaching and for their amazing rescues of paddlers, boats and paddles.
Those doing the trip were: Adam, Graham, Fitz, Mat S, Ben, Tim, Paul C, Emma B, Roy, Sue C, Lu, Max, Kev, Rita, Andy C, Steve G, and Ross.
The river was at a great level providing us with a technical grade 2/3 run. Although the day started off dull, the sun came out and the surrounding landscape looked glorious. We started the trip at the National White Water Centre. There is a cost to use paddle; £14 for adult non members, £10 for child non members and £7 for BCU members. We paddled from here to Bala falls.
There is a choice of doing 3 drops immediately or portaging around them. The majority of people navigated them successfully whilst the others provided support. During the whole trip Adam had us practising Alpine descent in our little groups with regular eddying in and breaking out using our hand signalling to communicate throughout. It is an interesting paddle, the river having a good flow; with little weirs and with a lot of rocks to manoeuvre around.
There were some swims; Andy C went over twice in quick succession. Rita had 4 and was exhausted by the end. Graham was instructed to rescue a wedged paddle and in attempting it went over….. it was then retrieved by those on the side who wading in to get it…..
We came across an obnoxious farmer who was muck spreading his field. He decided that he would spray us instead… sending people scattering out of eddies to escape a ‘pat’ on the head!
At Bala falls (grade 4) everyone got out to inspect it. After watching Adam and the pros going down all but Matt and Emma decided the little side steam would be our chosen method of descent.
Both Emma and Mat had brave attempt at Bala falls. Mat made it to the bottom but then went over. Emma capsized higher up and made several amazing attempts at rolling but after inhaling rather a large amount decided to pull her deck.
Well done to everyone. I think we all learnt a lot and had a really enjoyable day. Thanks again for all the support.