Two weekends and two journeys from Oxford to Dartmoor.
Last weekend was the annual Gene17 Adventure Paddlers weekend held at the River Dart Country Park. As always large numbers of paddlers descended on the national park to paddle and socialise.
Friday night was my birthday and I saw this as an excuse to make everyone eat somewhere nice. So I dragged Dave H, Dave S, Ben and Louise to the Rugglestone Inn at Widecombe-in-the-Moor drank some very nice beer, eat some lovely good and then made Dave drive us back to RDCP. If your ever in the area its recommended as “good eatin’".
Unlike last year we weren’t blessed with biblical quantities of rain however there was enough to get down the Upper Dart twice, once taking our time and once as fast as we could.
The temperature might of been doing its best to turn our fingers in to popsicles (hmmm… human flavour) but the sun was out and everyone was cheerful.
Saturday night brought on the entertainment. A re-mastered 80’s paddling/skiing/power ballad film that could only of be made by Germans – Family Mad. A film on waterfalls in Iceland (looked scary) and the 60′ North Greenland Presentation with Graham Milton (looked sadistic). All of this was finished off with some tunes that made break my pledge to never dance along to the Wurzells again.
Sunday morning was cold. Very cold and despite Louise’s best breakfast this and too much beer the night beer the night before made us break all the arrangements we had mad the night before to head up to the East Lyn and go walking instead.
Apparently the river was actually going quite well, ah well. We had fun and found a huge teashop complex, complete with aviary, at the end of the Dartmeet car park that I had no idea existed.
Friday night saw the biblical amounts of rain that failed to materialise the week before so Dartmoor beckoned again.
Andy and I headed down for just the Saturday meeting up with Dave and Seth and a bunch of others to paddle the Plym from up in the moors to Cadover Bridge. It appeared that the water levels had peaked during the night and this wasn’t as big as we were expecting.
The yomp over the moor to get to the river obviously affected me as the first thing I managed to do was seal launch in and land on my head. Thankfully I managed to upright myself right away but no one can explain how I managed this in the first place.
The Plym was a nice warm up for the main event of the day, the Erme. This was running at a nice level and caused a few upsets. Not least of these was me, after completing the gorge successfully, getting tripped up on a couple of small rocks and exiting my boat. Supremely irritating. Dave and Rob both had experiences out side of the confines of their boats and both Andy and Chris managed to break their paddles.
Despite the irritating swim it was great. The Erme was at a brilliant level and we managed to get off just as it got dark.
Andy and I made the long drive home whilst everyone else headed to Lynmouth with the intention of spending Sunday on the East Lyn.
Today I hurt, I think I bounced off a few rocks whilst swimming but the bruises will fade and I wouldn’t of missed it for the world.