Last weekend saw the uni club trip to Devon. There were a few things amiss with the weekend though. To start with, accommodation was booked in Somerset (Northcombe barn, Dulverton)!
On Saturday, the club took its first trip down the Barle from Tarr Steps to Dulverton. Whilst the levels were low, it proved to be a worthwhile trip for those whose first river trip it was. All was going well until we arrived at the weir in Dulverton. Chris managed to end up pinned on his side part way down the weir and had to be helped off. At the bottom, he immediately capsized but waited for the t-rescue.
Chris pinned part way down the weir
Taking him downstream to a bigger eddy, he capsized again, this time knocking his chin on a rock and cutting it leading to a swim. We got him and the boat out of the water swiftly, but in the confusion that followed managed to lose his paddles. As we were sorting Chris out in the bank, Claire’s boat was drifting downstream upside down with a Will Wilson jumping into the river after it. After getting the boat out onto the bank, we wondered up to discover that carnage had been let lose! Emma P had managed to drift into a strainer and been pinned with her boat underwater under the tree. Andy Riding got out of his boat to help her and as he did so, his boat started to drift off. Claire grabbed onto Andy’s boat and managed to drift into a different tree. Will was helping her out of her boat when her boat had drifted off! Everyone else managed to get down the weir without incident and paddled the final few hundred metres down to the get-out in town.
Sunday saw everyone head off down to the Upper Dart. Alex, James, Joe, Nick and myself had a cracking low-water run down the Middle Dart
The run down the Upper Dart was highly enjoyable for those who paddled it, even though the low water meant that it was very technical.
We found a few horizons lines before getting to Euthanasia Falls
The view downstream from the top of Euthanasia Falls
Looking back up at at Euthanasia Falls
I ran the falls first and went for a roll in the hole at the bottom, but Nick managed to take the most interesting line down the falls.
Nick’s interesting line
Alex running Euthanasia Falls
Joe running Euthanasia Falls
James running Euthanasia Falls
From Euthanasia picked up the pace a bit in order to get to the end with enough time to get the rest of the group down the Middle Dart section. We were held up slightly at Surprise Surprise, but the decision not to inspect it from the bank saved us some time. Everyone made it down safely, with only Joe requiring a roll at the bottom. There is one part of the Upper that I don’t like – and that is the paddle out from Surprise Surprise to Newbridge. It is about a kilometre of grade 3 rapids, but just seems to take forever!
Some of the rest of the group at Newbridge
The run down the Middle Dart was uneventful. The low water conditions meant that none of the group were particularly challenged by it. Time was spent enjoying the seal launch and the majority of the group decided to do the bridge jump at the end as well. I have now done it quite a few times and still don’t like the feeling of the split second of free-fall!
Overall, a great weekend was had by all.