Sunday the 30th marked the first club trip of the year where we weren’t affected by ridiculously high water levels, instead, we had the exact opposite problem. Low levels meant a trip to the Upper Tummel, in a hope that the compensation release would provide with a bit of h2o induced fun.
[STANDARD CHAT ABOUT FAFF, PACKING THE BUS AND DRIVING]
Due to lower levels it gave some new paddlers the chance to lead the trip down the river. An improvised safety talk lacked the usual fear inducing quality that has become a staple aspect of previous ones; mainly due to the fact this one was done via interpretative dance. Harry was our leader for the day with Gregor assuming his usual role and driving from behind. The first few slides eased us into the day without any problems and we started the long scrape down the river, our only respite from this were the HUGE stretches of flat water now and again. The first test came at Z-falls, a gnarly, double drop rapid (rumour has it’s called Z-falls because Anton Immler’s left leg was in the shape of a Z last time he tried to run the rapid and swam).
Ben set up camera after the first drop and we all cautiously negotiated the first drop, safety standing idly by as we styled it one after the other. The second drop (more of a chute) was survived by most, apart from the cruel beating it imparted upon Euan R. Some say that it’s been so long since Euan swam he’s forgotten how to, and that last time he did actually swim he was plucked out the river by a Diplodocus. Other members of the group (Anthony) were so shocked this had happened they ploughed down the rapid to get a close look, almost landing on top of Euan – classic crazy, French guy! Everyone was back in there boats and we continued down the river until something of an equally amazing quality happened. Sean, only on his second river trip, went off a ledge, caught an edge and tipped in. His paddles popped out from under his boat and we all feared the worst. Yet with a hip flick Shakira would be proud of he rolled himself back up, so quick I question whether he actually got his hair wet.
The last slide provided no victims and everyone had a play around in the hole at the bottom of it. This resulted in two further swimming incidents, one from myself and Anthony chipping in with another. Both as equally gimpy as each other.
An enjoyable day was had by all, we made the best of the levels we had and Euan got to remember what it felt like to have to dry himself after a days kayaking, something he hasn’t had to do since they used the hides of a woolly mammoth to dry off.