I thought the event timing went quite well. I'm probably alone in thinking these thoughts. I suspect everyone else is thinking “Never again. Curse that dam sadist of an event organiser”. Let me explain...
We all met at 7-30am, loaded up, had a wonderful drive up along an ever twisting scenic route, event free except for one minor detour and a run-in with a dumper truck. We got changed, shuttled, paddled the river, drove home along a bloody dangerous ever twisting dark and rainy route, and all got back within 15 minutes of the projected finish time. Oh yes, and it took us FIVE exhausting hours to paddle the river. In my defence you can't do anything about the water levels, and we took exactly the same time as another group of paddlers. I think its fair to say everyone is shattered today (the day after). Not only was the river flow slow, but we often had a headwind.
Plus points... the bits between the long never ending flat stretches were quite fun. The river is beautiful. There was a fair bit of playing in features. Jackie swam twice, once because of a rock, and once because I really shouldn't be leading rivers. I missed the (rather large apparently) egress sign for the only major feature on the river (Hells hole), and although I give the indication to the group to stop, and once I realised my mistake, to grab an eddy, Jackie unfortunately ran it and swam right at the end. Others then came down one by one, Neil rolling three times, PK getting the best line of the day, Simon showboating by gliding his bow down a rock, Dawn staying upright. Some ran it two or three times, just to show off.
Oh yes, and next time Hells hole can be identified by
a) has the above mentioned egress sign
b) there is a small suspension bridge in the distance
c) it's quite a big rock.
I think everyone had a reasonable day, and we will be quite a lot fitter as a result of the trip.
Two quotes to finish on
“Duration - 2 ½ hours, but it could easily take longer “ - my 2000 trip report, when the river was in flood.
“TIME NEEDED: So long that I always say I will never do it again in a play boat (It gets worse the shorter my boat gets). Even in higher flows it takes a long time. Loads of flat water. 4 hrs+”. UK rivers guide
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