Sunday, 6 December 2009


There are days when what you believe about yourself is brought into doubt, days when you are driven to places within yourself and without yourself which change your perception of the makeup of reality both spiritual and material. Days when you understand what it truly means to survive and appreciate the fickle nature of life. This was not such a day, it was more the sort of day where you lose perception of your fingers, grow to appreciate car heaters in a whole new way and come to understand the importance of daylight in a human’s perception of their environment, but it seemed quite epic at the time.

It was a bit nippy and we went to run the middle Orchy, which was at a pretty nice level. Alison had never been on a river before but we figured she’d pick it up as we went along so we set off in the hope of the first no swim club trip of the year. Hopes of such a feat were dashed at big rock, in fact this was so far from being a no swim trip that I will only be mentioning swims of particular merit or note.

Upon arrival at chicken shoot Chris ran it blind in a playboat, because that’s what he does. Others in the group took the less manly approach of inspecting it. Rachel had an unfortunate hand mangling incident which would prove an issue for her driving home later. Sheep trolley gorge claimed the odd swimmer. Ali even went for what I thought was a bit of freestyle action, turns out that actually her deck had popped and she was just sinking.

Easan Dubha saw Chris get out of his boat to inspect it, well either that or to stretch his legs, anyway he didn’t die so that’s all that counts. Saw tooth was looking a bit meaty but everyone kept out of trouble and we didn’t have any hole beatings, which I always find secretly disappointing.

I sat at the bottom of rollercoaster shouting ‘get left’ and pointing a lot to try and get people to avoid the bottom hole. No one at all listened but at least I got a good view of Ali’s deck popping again. Before we got to end of civilization Louise took a funny turn, I diagnosed a migraine combined with being cold; the mighty NHS later diagnosed concussion. Louise did not hit her head at any point during the day, but then I’m not a doctor. On end of civilization, Alison took her first proper swim, and what a swim it was - man points were duly awarded. However she was not deterred and we continued into the rapidly fading daylight to Eas a Chathaidh where we all fancied a walk. We got back on but by the time we reached Witches step it was actually night so we got off above it and walked back to the cars, Chris ran it on the basis that it was easier than walking.

Getting changed and tying boats onto roofs in the dark and pouring rain is neither easy nor fun, I would not recommend it.