It has been a few weeks since my last update, for I have been quite busy. Despite working full-time, in the last 4 weeks I have managed to go skiing once, snowboarding three times and paddling thirteen times!!
Myself and a colleague have been frequenting the snowdome in Milton Keynes whilst we are working up in Northampton. It has been over a year since I did my four hours of boarding lessons at the snowdome in Castleford and, needless-to-say, I had forgotten most of what I had been taught! My colleague, however, had never even stood on a snowboard before our first visit but this did not stop him heading straight to the top of the slope straight away. That first run down for both of us proved to be quite entertaining – but mostly for everyone else on the slope! We both landed in a heap at the bottom of the slope only to be confronted by a slope warden. He kindly informed us that unless we could demonstrate that we could make controlled descents then he would have to throw us out! Luckily we both, somehow, managed to demonstrate enough control to be allowed to stay! Future trips have been much more successful, with progress being quickly made by both of us 🙂
Hambleden on two gates
On the paddling front, I have experienced my first two-gate session at Hambleden and, to be honest, I was quite scared! I was sat in the eddy looking into the wave/hole trying to work out just how retentive it actually was. The first gate next to the eddy was a powerful, retentive hole, with the second gate being a rather flushy wave. After quite some studying I concluded that it would probably release me if I went in, so I did! It was only a quick break in, surf across and the flush out, but it was just what I was after – proof I could escape! I then went straight back in for some more ‘entertaining’ rides where I discovered how retentive the first gate was – very! Lots of moves were possible, and if you were lucky it was even possible to be in control for some of them! After a few rides I discovered that the area between the two gates was the best. There were lots of people walking across the bridge who stopped for some entertainment, which I was only too happy to provide!
Big bounces on two gates
Very boily water!
More photos from Hambleden on two gates are available at http://photos.andywicks.com/Feisty2GateHambleden
The two gates only remained for one day though, so the remainder of my recent paddling sessions have all been on one gate, although at various levels. The glorious sunshine we have been treated to in the last couple of weeks have meant that the water has been warm enough to comfortably paddle in just a rash vest, rather than my short-sleeve cag. Some great sessions we enjoyed in the sun
Amy paddling down the wave-train
Amy surfing the wave in the sunshine
Martyn taking off!
Ripping down the wave
Further photos are available at http://photos.andywicks.com/HambledenDropBox
On Monday evening a group of us from work went out on a canal boat for a picnic. A colleague has a narrow boat moored on the Grand Union Canal at Crick and she kindly offered to take us out for a trip after work. It was a fantastic evening – not a single cloud in the sky – with great company.
The view across the canal
The stunning sunset we were treated to
More photos of our trip are available at http://photos.andywicks.com/PicnicAlongTheCanal
Wednesday this week I drove across from Northampton for our usual Hambleden paddling session. All was going well until we rounded the island and the weir came in to view. Much to our collective despair all the main weir gates were closed. This was the first time that I had seen Hambleden closed. If I remember correctly then it didn’t close at all last summer!
Martyn surfing the non-existent wave
Me playing around
Martyn struggling with the violent whitewater!