Friday 24th November saw 11 keen whitewater paddlers and one polo player from CUCC journey northwards, and after long van, car and train trips eventually assemble in a bunkhouse in Teesdale. The previous week had been promisingly rainy but constant monitoring of Rain Chasers revealed that the high levels hadn’t held. The Tees was running though, so there was plenty of kayaking to be done!
Middle Tees was the first destination on the icy Saturday morning. After temporarily depositing a boat out the back of the van (whose doors were ‘definitely closed’) as we left, all kayaks made it to the river. The sun was out, it was far warmer than anticipated and everyone had a great paddle! Lunch was munched quickly during the shuttle and then it was time to tackle the lower. Again, lots of great paddling occurred, especially at Abbey Rapids: impressive back-flips by Paul and Christian, a successful run by our first-time whitewater paddler Jon, and Emily charged down to end up leading me down the rapid instead of the other way around! Once at the end of the lower, most headed back to the bunkhouse to warm up while Phil, Alex and I did a speedy run of the Upper before it got too dark. Big thanks to the van-duo, Matt (driver) and Christian (Christmas-tune DJ), for the pick-up afterwards.
Saturday evening is traditionally ‘Bridgemas’ themed so the Christmas jumpers, yule logs and mince pies all made an appearance, despite the ‘it’s too early’ grumbles from some. Best jumper award went without a doubt to Paul for an illuminated and flashing masterpiece (/monstrosity, depending on who you talk to)!
No overnight rain meant the Swale was out of the question so, once all paddlers and kit had been extracted from the bunkhouse, we returned to the Tees. The whole group paddled the Upper section this time which made for a brilliant morning! Some interesting moves were displayed on Dog Leg including some down-time by Tim, backwards moments by Matt and a downright dodgy line by me, but fun was had all round. The last event was the waterfall, Low Force, which everyone ran in great style. While Alex and Phil had boofing so sorted that they even did a deck-less run each, Isobel and Matt also got some great ones in.
The trip ended in the pub for a Sunday roast before returning south. Thanks to all the leaders, drivers and river snack-providers for an awesome trip! Looking forward to the next one already. Check out our facebook page for all the photos!