Sorry for not writing this sooner, I just havent got round to it!

Last Sunday Brian, Janet, Mark and myself spent the day at Nottingham's National Watersports Centre, aka Holme Peirrepont (HPP). I took a little persuading to come along, as I'd never been before and had heard a range of stories about it's difficulty and water quality (or lack of). But after being assured it would be easier than the brutal Cardiff course, and stocking up on coke, we set off.

We arrived safely, meeting Mark there and set out on a walk of the course where I noticed three things:

  1. It really didn't look as difficult as I was expecting, with plenty of big eddies and easy lines if you wanted to avoid some of the bigger features.
  2. The course was really quiet. Other than a few slalom paddlers practising and honing their skills it was pretty much empty.
  3. The weather was playing an april fools trick on me. Despite being bright sunshine it was freezing! I couldn't wait to get into my paddling gear rather than the shorts and tshirt I'd travelled in!

What followed that was over 3 hours of brilliant entertainment. We only ran the course fully twice, but because it was so quiet we could pretty much stop and play wherever we wanted. Later on there were a few more playboaters around, and a few rafts getting in the way but it never felt crowded. It soon warmed up with the persistant sunshine, which brought out more passing spectators than I've ever seen on a paddle before, but luckily there were better people tah us around for them to stop and watch.

We played on waves, in eddies, and everything in between, even going the wrong way up the back channels, which admittedly took me a couple of attempts! There were a few rolls for all of us along the way, but it was because we were pushing ourselves and nobody really got into any trouble.

We kept going until we were out of energy (and a little sunburnt) but we were all still smiling. I'm looking forward to going again some time, especially as I seem to have survived and stayed healthy! Thanks again for persuading me to come.

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