River Sprint - 24th June 2012
Today Myself, Oscar Sizer Chris Sizer Jimmy Tighe Paul Smee Jack Smee and a new paddling friend Ian, headed to the Lakes, deciding on the sprint we headed off, major faff meant the helmet cam being left in the car, which would turn out to be a massive disappointment, for everyone.
Jim was adamant we paddle S-bends so we got on up stream (a whole 3km) and paddled down, while avoiding the forest of low hanging trees until we reached the lead in for S-bends, so far so good.
Ian bombed straight down like a boss and reached the bottom and got out to set up safety half way down, the rest of us jumped out to inspect o be with faced with a rather 'busy' Grade 4 rapid, not to be put off Jack jumped in and was down in no time. However things didn't go as smoothly for Paul, who not to be out done by one of his own took off in his backup inazone but 10 metre in to lead in he was over lost his nerve and we had our first swim of the day. The rest of us decided to portage and we got back on the water down stream all in good spirits ....
After some more grade two we reached the next instalment of excitement was Garnett Bridge, the right side is widely recommended down this drop and everyone styled it, apart from jack who must of got a bit confused and went left, down a narrow slot, this resulted in him getting sucked into the stopper and consequently swimming, his boat being held perfectly vertically, quite an impressive site, but he clambered in and we continued.
The next 300 meters or so consisted of grade 2and 3 before we reached the next rapid, Slot and Drop a Grade 4, a 5 meter slot and then over a meter and half drop, carnage ensued. This took us all rather by surprise apart from Jim who neglected to mention to the rest of the group we had arrived, bombing through, no harm done. Next came Chris who decided he was sick of the fresh air and wanted to spend time upside down, probably to cool down a tad, On entry he capsized did the whole thing upside down, to roll up in the pool below a huge grin on his face, unfortunately his new sweet rocker wasn't so pleased and sustained some GBH. Next came Paul and Jack who after their previous ordeal went down side by side, performed a phenomenal synchronised back loop , and then swimming, some serious father and son bonding. At the back of the group me Oscar and Ian bunched close together were quite shocked when we realised what was round the next corner, Oscar found an eddy just above the chute, me and Ian after some fruitless back paddling ran down within inches of each over, but emerged at the bottom happy. Oscar came next, in his star it was always going to be interesting in his jackson star getting back-looped half way down (just like last time) almost dislocating his shoulder and saying f**k you to his paddle he emerged with a awesome handroll in the bottom pool.
With our swim count up to 4 we continued to Rock and Roll a twisty steep rapid. Jim, Ian, Oscar, Chris and Paul went down no problem. This time it was me to have a moment messing up my entry I ended up going down a small chute on the left hand side, struggling to get back on line I hit a rock span and ran the rest backwards. Jack again was spectacular, coming down the first section and then some how beaching himself on huge rock, quite a strange site, but he finally got himself off and continued down. A feature with out a swim things were on the up.
However after a few more minutes of Grade 2 and we reached the finally large rapid, Sprint Mill Falls, everyone cracked the line until Paul Smee brought up the rear, I had extensively explained to him were he had to be but alas it wasn't to be capsizing before the end drop he got scraped along the rocks and swam a small chute which I had been going down at the same time resulting in me pinned sideways whilst Paul hung onto me a look of dismay on his sad face. However Paul wasn't done yet less than a minute from launching back on to the water he was over again this time popping back up to say he'd decided it was all his hip pads fault and ensured we all knew it.
Thankfully we reached the get out with out further drama, or losing any kit. After that we decided to abandon the second river of the day home and drove home.
We hope we will see Paul again, he does have his burn back now thank christ!
A grand day out, if only it could have been caught on camera
North of the Severn drainage, west of the Pennines
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