White Water Paddling
Don't forget to check out the photos of our 2011 Tryweryn Trip!
When the white water season is upon us, Chas has given us the information below that he thought would give some details for first timers to white water.
Peer Group Trips
These trips are done on the basis that we are paddling as a group of peers - i.e. no-one is "in charge" or responsible for the safety of the others in the group.
That said we would encourage everyone to come along to suitable trips (see below for a discussion on "suitable") and we try to grade the trips so that newcomers can learn fast and progress on to the harder ones. Of course the more experienced kayakers will in practice help, assist and do their best to look after newcomers. This has worked well in previous years. The plus side of these trips is that there is no coaching fee
If you don't have your own boat or kit you can borrow club kit for these - but it would be great if you have a roof rack, or car shared with a friend who has one, so you could transport it. I will have room to carry a boat or two on my car, on a first come first served basis. If you need club kit I would ideally need to know on the Thursday before the weekend to pick it up, unless you can make other arrangements to pick it up.
Who are the peer trips suitable for?
White water is graded from 1 to 6 as follows:
- Grade 1: Easy. Simple obstructions.
- Grade 2: Moderate. No problem seeing route down the river, small rapids / waves / eddies
- Grade 3: More difficult. Bigger waves, stoppers, eddies, drops, obstructions. Need to pick route down river carefully.
- Grade 4: Very difficult. Everything bigger, faster, more severe. Need to get route right, may need to inspect from bank.
- Grade 5: Serious stuff - we won't worry about this (Mainly in foreign climes).
- Grade 6: Death wish stuff (Mainly in foreign climes).
Bear in mind that when we say a river is "Grade 3" that may only apply to a couple of rapids, walk around those and the rest may be grade 2. Also the grade is only a guide, it will vary a lot depending on water levels.
So how are the local rivers graded?
- River Dart - Buckfastleigh to Staverton - Grade 1.5 to 2 Ideal for a first white water trip - good for anyone that has enjoyed the summer sessions.
- River Dart Country Park to Buckfastleigh - Grade 2 A good first or second trip, and always worth doing again.
- New Bridge to River Dart Country Park ("The Loop") - Grade 3 If you have done the lower sections and enjoyed them then you will love this trip. Easier at low water levels - which it generally is.
- Upper Dart - Dartmeet to New Bridge - Grade 4 Unless you are a superstar you probably need to get a season in on the other sections before you have a go at this - but you may be that superstar!
- River Exe The most popular section is the Grade 2 Bolham to Bickleigh, going through Tiverton.
- River Barle, Exmoor - Grade 2 or 3 depending on water levels Often there is not much water but i'ts a good paddle if there is.
Another good trip for beginners at sensible water levels.
There are plenty of other rivers around, but these are probably the best ones for beginners.
Many thanks to Chas for all this information. If anyone has photos, information, stories to tell of daredevil white water escapades do pass it on for future newsletters.
Laslty, you can find a treasure chest of information about the River Dart on our links page