Monday, 25 January 2010

Swimming and high water

On Saturday I paddled the Ulster Blackwater. It's a short enough run, consisting of 4 large wiers and a few smaller features. It holds it's water very well and is usually runnable in any level making it a good alternative when nothing else is running.
This was my first time paddling a K1 playboat since July which made it a very interesting experience. After not using one for so long everything felt quite awkward. Was a good opportunity to try out my new paddles though. I got a set of Mitchell Nemesis paddles made up for me. Having had constant tendonitis problems since before the worlds I had gotten cranks for the first time and a lower feather than I usually get. In the past all my K1 paddles had been straight shaft but judging by the new ones I think everything but squirt paddles will me cranks from now on.

When we got to the river we found it running very high thankfully, the first wier was completely unrunnable so we got in below it, there was several tree trunks and footballs just constantly recirculating in it. From then on the river was pretty uneventful till we reached the triple steps. I ran first getting caught in the top stopper for quite a while but getting out eventually and continuing down the drop with no other problems. Then Ian came down, also getting caught by the stopper and backooped, then swimming. Thankfully rescuing him was easy enough, Kevin then getting down easily on the chicken chute.
I decided I would give it another run stupidly taking the line through the hole rather than the chicken line and got stuck badly this time. After recirculating in my boat a few times I swam and then recirculated around another few times without the boat, eventually getting out by going under the stopper. Unfortunately I only resurfaced going over the 2nd wier so did the same thing again on this one. It's the first swim I have had in over 18 months so it was a bit of a shock to say the least!
The rest of the river was uneventful, the last drop which normally makes a very steep hole was producing a nice wave though a little flushy. It was still possible to roundhouse on it but that was about it with other moves being pretty much impossible.

Sunday was a little less eventful with a trip down the Roe. The roe was running at a lower level than I would have expected, being on the low side of medium. Unfortunate because in high water it is an amazing run with several good play features and decent bouncy sections. However in low water it is a lot more scrapey and rocky though still has some fun features such as the dogleap and a few other minor grade 2-3 sections.
The new paddles certainly showed their worth again, the river is very rocky and the blades took a few hits without any damage.

Last wave

Caught in the stopper

Top wier

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Too much water!

It's hard to believe but there is actually too much water to paddle! It has been a very frustrating month for paddling so far with 3 weeks of so much snow that it was nearly impossible to get anywhere without the 4X4. This does mean that I have managed to spend the last 3 weeks doing absolutely nothing but snowboarding/snowboating on every slope within about a mile of my house, but I really wanted to go kayaking!
I have a brand new paddle sitting in the shed just waiting to be used and it is impossible to get to the river to use it. There is 2 bridges across the Avonmore river near my house, the only way to get kayaking is to cross them. The one upstream can't be reached as all the roads near it are flooded and the downstream one has water going over the top of it, meaning the Gardai have closed it.
The river itself probably isnt safe to paddle anyway as most of the bridges upstream are impassable, Clara Vale bridge seems to have a tree actually through it which is going to prove interesting when the water goes down I'd say. Lets just hope the water dissipates slowly and that I can get out during the week!