Saturday 17th February saw a convoy of cars containing 19 keen paddlers setting off from the club sheds, for what must surely be one of CUCC’s largest trips to HPP whitewater course (Nottingham). There was a mix of whitewater beginners, a polo player, freestylers, river runners and even a photographer (Dan armed with his gopro-on-a-stick) and a dedicated mostly-bank-based coach (Shahid, sparing his shoulders).
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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!
The weekend of the 4/5th June a group of 16 paddlers from CUCC made the journey up to North Wales for a weekend of thrills and spills on the Tryweryn. This weekend was a little bit different to most since Dan and I had our Moderate Water Endorsement assessment, the final step in becoming a qualified whitewater coach. This meant that we spent the Saturday morning and a bit of the afternoon coaching Kai, Lucie, Bouyan and Adam (who kindly offered their time!) and trying to help them improve their whitewater skills. I’m pleased to say that we both passed!
On the weekend of the 16th April, five of us from CUCC headed to North Wales to complete a White Water Safety and Rescue Course on the Dee. The course included the development of both personal safety and survival skills as well as how to get others out of trouble and prevent problems in the first place.
Everybody knows that kayaking is not a warm sport, not in the UK anyway. We rely on heavy rain and a cold winter to get decent levels in this country. This weekend we were also greeted by the ferocious storm Imogen as we headed up North to Teesdale in unbelievable winds. Despite the freezing temperatures, 13 of us braved the weather and put on the Lower Tees early on Saturday morning. The Lower Tees was a perfect warm up for the weekend, some easy grade 2/3 sections with one grade 4 section called Abbey Rapids, which only claimed one victim!
The morning was mild, the Trent river levels had dropped so the course was open, the promise of white-water meant the coaches and beginners alike were raring to go….what could go wrong? A flat tyre and a temporarily broken inlet gate later proved the answer to that was ‘quite a lot’, but both failed to detract from what was still a great trip.
As we all well know, the UK is the rainiest place in the entire world. As kayakers, we are faced with the eternal problem that every time we want to go paddling, this customary rain disappears leaving just enough time for all the decent rivers to completely empty out before we arrive at our destination. Weekend after weekend we resign ourselves to paddling the few rivers that are runnable without rain (Dee, Tryweryn, Low Force, Usk, Wye…). Some pray, others dance, others sing all in an effort to secure some bloody rain so that we can paddle something interesting for a change!
On the last weekend of October a group of 22 paddlers headed up to South Wales to go boating. For many of the paddlers this would be their first ever time paddling on whitewater so we were hoping for decent water levels. Unfortunately, due to a lack of sufficient rain almost everything in the area was quite low, but we stuck with the original plan and paddled the River Usk from Sennybridge to Aberbran bridge, a classic section of grade 2 with three grade 2+/3 ledge drops on the way down.
The annual trip to the Alps was once again a great success. We teamed up with OUCKC for this years trip and covered over 3000 miles, travelling through 7 countries. We paddled over 30 sections with everything from tree filled ditches in a thunder storm to big volume in 35C sun. To find out more about what we got up to check out the video.