Monday, 25 July 2011

Seal pups, cuboards of lost kayaks and how to not cause carnage; a year in the life of a ‘typical’ fresher with GUCC.

I Joined the club in September as a Fresher, yey!

I’m an art student so this post will probably involve more pictures than words. But I have been told only to post up ‘fluffy’ pictures. Here goes.
Admittedly I had done a little bit of boating before I came up here including a bit in Scotland.

My course has been pretty busy this year but I’ve managed to get out paddling a little bit, although not as much as I’d like. We’ve had lots of trips out and about in Scotland, we went to the French Alps for two weeks, there’s been some canoe polo and even a couple of slightly tipsy nights out in Glasgow.

One of the things I love about paddling white water is going out and exploring new rivers. Revisiting classics like the Etive is fun too but there’s something special about going somewhere new and as great as the rivers in the South West of England are it’s nice to get out and explore new ones.

I’ve managed to tick of a fair few rivers that are new to me with GUCC including that I can remember:
Allan (watch out for seals and water nymphs)
Middle Orchy (eventually)
Upper Orchy
The lower Etive
The upper upper Etive
Dalness section of the Etive
Braan (watch out for seals and Ben
Caddick lane
Spean gorge (will only paddle this from now on when there isn’t snow about)
Gyr (on the alps trip, watch out for French seals)
Durance gorge (also on the alps trip)

Once this year I even saw the legendary Chris Bell look scared. (Albeit whilst climbing)

There has been a fair amount of carnage this year. I lost some kit on a river for the first time. A boat and paddle on the Allan which accidentally fell into the river whilst we were inspecting round the corner and is certainly not funny. The boat was a red dagger CFS called Raspberry, if you see her in the North Sea on her way to Norway let me know. Personally I think she has found her way to a secret cupboard of lost kayaks. She will be missed. My new boat is a ginger Dagger Nomad who’s still awaiting a name. She is not nearly as well behaved as Raspberry was.

Towards the end of the year I seem to have also remembered the nasty habit of swimming. Twice! That will have to stop, although both times were on account of me spotting some seal pups lost amongst the maelstrom of swirling dangerous white water and getting out of my boat to rescue them. Ahem. It definitely didn’t have anything to do with having a misbehaving boat or being a wuss and pulling the gay bar. Contrary to what other people in the club think, swimming is BAD.
Generally GUCC seem to try and break or loose at least 3 boats a month, any less than that and its considered uneventful. I’m impressed that I’ve managed to write so much without offending anyone. Art students aren’t very good at that.

The canoe club is a great way of meeting people and generally they‘re a great bunch of people. Maybe one or two could do with drinking a bottle of port more often. One of the best things about the club is the large amount of ginger people. That’s very good as ginger people are better than normal people.

Things to do next year:
- Paddle with Paddy, the only ginger in the club I haven’t paddled with.
- Don’t loose any more kit.
- Don’t swim as much.
- Man up and paddle some classics, ideally the Kinglas, Nevis, Falloch and Coe before I potentially move back down south.
- Find a river that’s as good as the Dart.
- Generally behave myself about as much as I have this year. Impeccably.

Written by Ezra

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