With seven years of coaching experience with Glasgow Uni Canoe Club, it's been a while since anyone has really surprised me with their successes on a river, so I suppose I'm going to start out this post by saying well done to George and to Ross for catching me off guard.
Both of them had been looking at rivers they wanted to do, so when I invited them to come paddling they asked about doing the Middle Etive. Having paddled it a lot, I was willing to head there, but was expecting to have to portage a couple of the rapids due to limitations on safety coverage. However, Stephan was up for a jaunt to the Etive as well, so accompanied us, and was invaluable in providing safety cover while I demonstrated the line and set up cover at the bottom before switching.
Triple Falls proved to be Ross' best rapid of the day, styling all three drops, and managing a perfect boof on the third drop...though the amount of time he spent not capsizing while being pushed against the walls after the second drop was pretty funny.
We all ran Letterbox too, though I was the only one not to plug it, and George was shoved into the river right alcove by the water and had to make a technical exit onto the bank.
Ski-Jump was its usual, friendly, self - though I think it was one of the ones that had scared Ross most up to this point.
Crack of Doom was my screw-up of the day: my line in was great, unfortunately between choosing whether to run the drop at the end left or right, I went centre and then backwards down the right. On the plus side, my reverse boof/brace works fairly well. Ross and George both ran this easily. Stephan gave it a miss as his back started giving him some bother.
Crack of Dawn was it's usual portage and seal launch.
Great Waterslide was fun as always. Ross and I got the line right, Stephan just missed the wall and capsized (his flat-water beat-down did not result in a swim though), and George was our dedicated person for crashing into the wall.
Right Angle was paddled my me, George and Ross. Only Ross capsized, and his roll saved him. He then capsized against the wall, and after a little nudge from my paddles to move him away from the rockface, he rolled up again. Despite having a sore back, Stephan decided that sliding down the drop was a good idea...
Many moments were spent later sniggering as Stephan hobbled around at the Real Food Cafe and trying to climb sideways into his car. Silly Stephan.
It's been a very long time since I've been to the Etive and no-one has swum, particularly when with people who've never run it before. So well done again to Ross and George on what was, overall, an excellent trip.
The new paddles no longer look like this though....