Shepperton in the sunshine
Saturday morning saw an early-ish start for Amy and I, having arranged to meet Ricky, Emma, Dave and Martyn in Ivybridge at 0900 to do the Erme. The level looked low, but runnable so we decided it was a goer and got on. It turned out to be more of a scrape than we had thought and the first section of the trip was a tiring bump and scrape. As the gradient increased, the level of enjoyment did as well. The Erme gorge was a stunning paddle through a very narrow section of the river.
Looking upstream from below the first rapid in the Erme gorge
I can imagine that it must be a crazy undertaking in high water. Part way down the gorge was a tree crossing one of the rapids. Ricky and myself managed to pass the tree without any incident but Amy did not quite manage to. Getting well and truly pinned, looking skyward, she was unable to un-pin herself.
Amy parked on the tree
After ensuring that we had photos and video footage of the pin, Martyn went in to her rescue. The rest of the gorge went without incident and everyone managed the final rapid into town.
The final rapid in the middle of Ivybridge
As we had managed to get down the river in good time Martyn, Dave, Amy and myself set off to the Upper Dart for a quick run. It was also at a low level, but was an enjoyable run, even-more-so for Dave and Amy for whom it was their first time down this section. As we were getting on, the snow started to fall! The run down to Newbridge took 2 hours in total.
Dave on the Upper Dart
Amy looking up at Surprise Surprise, Upper Dart
Saturday night saw Martyn, Amy and me camping in the garden of Ricky’s parents house. We did manage to make it out for a few beers towards the end of the night, and Ricky even managed to get lots of attention from a particular woman in the pub who was celebrating her 30th Birthday…. you were well in there Rick!!!
Our day started slowly on Sunday as we waited for the rain that fell during the night to make a difference to the water levels on Dartmoor. Ricky, Martyn and I ended up getting on the Upper Dart at about half-past four on Sunday afternoon with the levels looking about the same as on Saturday, much to our dismay. It turned out we were wrong and the level was slightly higher, which wasn’t noticeable until we were midway through some of the rapids. Ricky had not paddled this section of river since he was learning to paddle, about 15 years previously. Back then he was not allowed to run Euthanasia as it was deemed to dangerous for them. The highlight of our day was Martyn and then myself paddling over the lip of Euthanasia falls with only a brief, inconspicuous, look at what was below to ensure that it was ok to run. Ricky swiftly followed us and the look on his face as he rolled up would make a good picture. It was a mixture of massive grin and surprise as he said that he didn’t remember anything like that on the river from before. We explained that it was in fact Euthanasia falls, and he had just run it effectively blind!
Looking back at Euthanasia from below
The rest of the river went without incident, although needless to say we all missed the little flare ledge in Surprise Surprise and ended up going straight down the middle of the slot, as we had done the day before! This time we managed to paddle down to Newbridge in 1hr 15minutes, which is a new record for us.
Looking back up at Surprise Surprise
I have put together a little video from the weekend, which can be seen below: