Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Scotland 2010

After several weeks of no rain, myself and a few friends decided to plan a trip of some sorts over last weekend. It looked like this trip was going to turn into a surfing/camping trip to Donegal. However at the last minute we realised there was going to be plenty of rain and organised a boating trip to Scotland instead! Surprisingly there was very few people interested in going, the vast majority of people not being interested due to the potential for there being too much snow or no rain. Thankfully there was enough rain and the weather was warm though.

I headed up to Belfast a few days beforehand to arrange getting myself a larger boat etc as I currently use a Cascade as a creeker which is a little big to fit in the bus. 3 other people; Eddie, Kevin and Peter also came along, using Eddie's van and a scrambler for shuttle in an attempt to save money.

Having managed to borrow a GTX we set off for Scotland! On arriving in Scotland we headed straight for the falls of Falloch. The water was a litte low for running the river but the main falls (35ft) and the rapid afterwards were running. On this occasion I was the only one who decided to run the falls as everyone else thought this was a bit much for the first river on the trip! However Kevin and Eddie decided to join me for the rapid after the falls. We then packed up and headed for the Etive, which was running at a nice medium level. The trip was great apart from Eddie spraining his ankle on Letterbox and myself dislocating my shoulder while swimming out of the Crack of doom, thankfully the hospital thought we were Ok and neither of us had to stop boating.

Due to myself and Eddie being very sore we decided to take it easy and run the Roy however it was not running so we changed for a very scrapey run on the Spean, running from Monessie down so at least there was some fun to be had. Due to the success of this we decided to go back and Re-run the lower part of the Etive the next day.
Unfortunately though due to rain overnight the Etive was too high to run so we contented ourselves with scouting a very intimidating looking Dalness falls and a stupidly high Alt a caorunn before running a medium-low level Loy, I was hoping with so much water on the Etive that the Loy might have a decent bit also but unfortunately not. On returning from the loy we decided to have a look at the Nevis and to our surprise found it was running at a decent medium level! Not having the time or desire to run it at this stage myself and Kevin contented ourselves with Polldubh falls. It was Kevin's first time running this drop.
This then unfortunately left us at our last day of paddling.

Myself and Eddie really wanted to run the Etive again after our swims, both of us beating the rapids that gave us trouble last time. Was quite annoying for me to swim and get hurt the first time only to not even get my head wet on my 2nd attempt. We came off the river slightly early in order to head to Falloch as 3 of the 4 of us wanted to run it.

We very nearly didn't get home, when we arrived at the ferry terminal in Troon we were told that the ferry was cancelled and that we were supposed to get the ferry from Cairnryan 90 minutes later, lucky we came to Troon so early! The ferry company hadn't rung us to tell us the ferry was changed. We arrived in Cairnryan with literally minutes to spare, with the ferry doors closing as we drove through them.

In all a Brilliant trip, makes me wonder why I didn't return to Scotland sooner to paddle. Not bad at all for a trip that cost only £200 for everything.

I have video footage but haven't edited it yet, will post soon as I get it all sorted.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Team Trials

I haven't posted in quite a while unfortunately. This is due to the complete lack of water in Wicklow for several weeks! I have been in a boat maybe 2 or 3 times since my last post. One of which was safety boating for the varsities which dosen't really count as I spent most of the day paddling around in circles to stop my legs going numb. Maybe safety boating in a C1 playboat wasn't such a great plan after all!

Team trials happened in 2 parts this year, with part one in Clifden and part 2 in the sluice. The original plan was tuam and sluice but due to too much snow for the original date and too little rain on the 2nd the event was moved to clifden.
Not a great move for me as I hate clifden! On the day there was a high enough tide so the hole was acting very strangely. It was very steep for the whole session, some people really struggled to do moves with some paddlers who would normally score 300+ points in clifden barely registering on the score sheet! The C1 heat in particular was very low scoring, with me coming 2nd overall.
By the time the C1 heats came around the hole had turned extremely steep and retentive. Doing moves was incredibly difficult. On my rides I got beaten down quite a bit, getting stuck in the hole for quite a while, unable to do anything because I kept rolling up sidesurfing offsided! Was quite a fun session though apart from the weather, with a mixture of sun, rain and even hail at one stage.

Unfortunately I missed the second round of team trials due to car problems! Quite annoyed as judging by the photos it was a decent enough day. However I will still make a team place on round 1 positions I think.

I also found some photos of the boluisce a few weeks back when I was doing safety at the varsities. I had never paddled it before so it was good to get down a new river. They are also the first decent shots I have of me with my Mitchell C1 paddle.

Photos thanks to Adrian Durrant (First photo) and Brian Johnston from WITCC