Archive for September, 2009


Scotland Training- Sunday

Ha Ha. We were in luck- it rained on Saturday evening, allowing the Etive to come up a little bit. We were in two minds at to whether to paddle the Etive or the Morriston. The Morriston was day two’s agenda for the Wet West Paddle Fest. We decided that it was probably better to paddle the Etive as that was our reason for being in Scotland. We had the Etive entirely to ourselves. Chris had the camera, so you get me in all these photos, for better or for worse :-)


Photo L to R: The put in: Chris on Triple; me Boofin’ skijump, yehaw.

Letterbox. The level was low, I went too far left. Be warned it hurts if you clip your backend on the sticky out rock if you boof too far left at this level. I managed to wind myself. I chatted with someone else who did the same thing on the Friday.

Photo: Me on Letterbox. My Nemesis…

Breath back, no issues at Crack of Doom, next up Crack of Dawn. Seal launch left. I can see how it is better at higher flows; seeing it at low flows, the left ledge sneak looks really appealing.

Photo: Me on Crack of Dawn

Then the money drop. Right Angle. What a lovely looking drop. Clean with very little consequences…or so I thought. Chris went first and had a good run over. So the dog leg lead in was not the nicest at this level. I had to high brace just before I peeled into the eddy at the top.


Photo: Me at the top of Right Angle Falls.

I was totally ready for this drop. Its about 1/2 the height of my highest drop to date (Perrywinkle on the Roaring, Oregon) and looked about the same height as my first ever waterfall back in 2005 (Big Kahuna on Canyon Creek, Washington). Complacency and arrogance. I haven’t run a waterfall in over 1.5 years. I knew not to boof because several people have broken their back on this fall doing just that. However I didn’t tell myself to tuck either. As I peeled out of the eddy I just didn’t move my paddle to the side. It hit me in the chest as i landed. I don’t know if it was above or below my PFD. But it hurt. I was winded again. Ho-hum. Chris re-ran and we got off the river.

Photo: Me on the Right Angle Falls about to be winded. Spot whats wrong with this photo.

I learned a valuable lesson: No matter my experience, no matter how insignificant a waterfall looks, ALWAYS think and plan before running. I was lucky i got away with a hyperextended back, not a bruised or broken rib or worse. When in doubt, tuck if it is an option. Bad Kate. All I can say is:

Photo: Oh Deer!


Training in Scotland- Saturday Update

As part of our training for the ERR we headed up north to the ever lovely Scottish Highlands. Our trip was, shall we say, eventful.

Photo: Glen Etive.

The weekend got off to a flying start with our late arrival at Heathrow. Suffice to say with traffic issues, we arrived at the long term airport parking at 8:20 pm, with a flight departure time of 9:15 pm.  No problem?

Photo: About to embark the bus in Heathrow.


We threw everything off the car (boats included) and onto the transport bus (whose driver was wide eyed at the sight of our boats).  8:30 pm check-in desk arrival ; a bit puffed out and bedraggled. We’re asked what the plastic things we are transporting. “kayaks” doh…”I don’t know much  they cost to fly, let me find out” I dont have time to explain what they are used for or how they are spelled…please just check us in… 8:40 pm run 100 m in less than 12 secs with trolley to the outsize baggage. 8:45 pm  Security. …not worrying about getting re-dressed after stripping at security, just throw everything in the handbag and leg it, “Race Pace”, hoping trousers remain around waist until Gate 8. 8:57 pm on plane. 9 pm Plane’s doors shut. Feel sick. Thankfully Chris’ sister picked us up the other end. Such hospitality, not only did we get the car for the weekend but also a pile of food, a full tank of petrol and a bunch of camping gear. Woohoo- thanks Nic!


The drive to Fort William area was inspiring. My first comment upon spying the highlands was “I’m moving here”. I like my job too much to do that so i’m just going to have to commute to the Scottish Highlands on weekends for white water. We made a bee-line for the Etive. Too low to run but we hiked it, checking all the major drops with the guidebook in hand. Nothing on the Etive looked hard at this flow.


Photos L to R: Chris looking at one of the smaller drops-Crack of Doom; River Etive

After hiking the Etive and getting depressed about not being able to paddle it, we cut our losses and headed over to the Wet West Paddle Fest that was on the Garry on Saturday. What a blast! I havent been playboating in my creekboat eva. It was just too much fun! Lots of carnage; awesome.


Photos L to R: Pink Boaterchick (possibily one of Aaron’s minions); Chris in the upper hole; The bridge holes

Then who should I see on the river but one of my American boating buddies. I met Monica at the Gorge Games, Hood River, 2008. How random to meet on the Garry on the other side of the world 1 year later. The world of boating is so vast yet so small. 

Photo: Monica on the bridge play hole on the Garry.

A truly great day on the rivers topped of by some of those classic Scottish parting shots on the way back to the “Chase the Wild Goose“ hostel in Fort William.


 Photo L to R: Highlands; a highland cow; A Highland’s loch.



A Busy Month

Well its been a busy month for me and not as much boating as I would like. However that doesn’t mean I haven’t been having lots of fun. One weekend, I went to my friend’s wedding in northern Spain. Obviously I checked out the local whitewater offerings and things look good over there for winter; it looks like when the rains come, there’d be a vast array of rivers to choose…that combined with good Atlantic waves close by, and the local cider- will return!


Photos: The river in Cangas, The girls; dragonfly

Chris and I have also been seaboating after work; hence these pictures in the dark

Photo: Lymington Harbour entrance (with Chris P. in the photo)

And Chirs C. and I have been surfing at Coney Beach in Porthcawl. Small but nice. Weird surfing with a fairground in the background though!


Photos: Chris C at a blown out Aberavon; A sheltered Coney Beach;  Coney Fairground