The picture above is of Lee running the rapid called, depending who your talking to, ‘Surprise Surprise’ or ‘Pandora’s box’ on the upper section of the River Dart.
Lee, Andy and I went down to the Dart for the day yesterday picking Liz up on the way, despite the signs in Bristol announcing that all curb crawlers would be arrested!
In all honestly we’d weren’t holding out to much hope of the the water levels being worth the effort. But we went anyway and got a pleasant surprise; the water was lapping just below the slab at Newbridge. Considering that we had heard reports that it was 4 – 5 inches below the slab the day before this was unexpected.
In another surprise move we managed to get on the Upper Dart quickly with the minimum of faff. This was due in equal parts to the fact we only had one car and hence no shuttle, and the fact the wind and rain was freezing. Despite managing to secure a dry spot under the porch of the tea shop to get changed we just wanted to get on the water as quickly as possible.
At this point I realised that two nights with only 4 hours sleep in a row doesn’t help ones confidence on the water. Still I managed to sleep paddle my way down the river upright with only a couple of terrifyingly big high braces being used. By the time we got past Euthanasia I was feeling a lot better. The ‘boof right’ line was taken and survived, maybe its just me or is this line actually easier that the traditional route?
Throughout the weather decided to veer between blue skies, hail and sleet with alarming regularity. Generally whenever I got my camera out it started to rain.
Andy and Lee ran ‘Surprise Surprise’ without any worries. Liz and I decided portaging was a better bet. Generally I’ll only run this rapid when the water is a little higher and the boulders on the approach aren’t quite so irritatingly in the way.
On our return to Newbridge Andy managed to blag a lift to retrieve the car in record time and by the time he got back we decided a gentle run down the Dart loop was in order.
This out of the way we headed to the Green Ginger tea rooms in Ashburton to warm up.
A surprisingly good day.
There’s a few more pictures available HERE