Archive for March, 2010


Advanced Whitewater Saftey and Rescue with

A group of us from So’ton asked Leo Hoare from if he could squeeze us in for an advanced whitewater safety and rescue course before we all go our watery ways over Easter. Last weekend we made the trek to North Wales again for the course. Day 1 was on the Tryweryn and we talked a bit about equipment and plan for the day before hitting the water. We  recapped and practiced swimming in rapids, dynamic and static swimmer bagging, vectors, y-lower, releasing the harness, tension diagonals, swimming in a hole, live bait and numerous other techniques. It was a pretty tiring day with lots of rope work and the evening food at the white lion was well received. I was in bed by 9:45 pm I’m embarrassed to say.


Photo: Leo setting a scenario

Day two and we were at Cobdens Falls covering techniques such as tag lines and sinches for foot entrapments and vertical pins (heads up and down). Leo set scenarios and we had to deal with pinned boats and injured people. Then we were off to lower of people and boats off very steep banks and then the old z-drag gem.


Photo: Chris and Tim lowering a boat to Pete (down below)

Late in the afternoon it was off to the Pont Cyfyng rapid. A class V rapid that looks nice, but not a totally pleasant place to swim as we found out. As Leo set the last scenario; we hiked down to the falls.


Photo: Hiking in to the falls.


Photo: Me and Pete with a good bit of teamwork to get to the falls

Leo gave us our breif  and we discussed how we would set safety on the rapid i.e protect it. We decided that the best option would be to have a live bait backup (after a throwline). We also figured that we needed to use a vector on the line to swing the rescuer and swimmer into the eddy below.


Photo: Leo breifing us

After some discussion I volunteered to be the swimmer. I didn’t really want to go into the cave behind the falls and thankfully Tom jumped in right after me as the live baiter. He grabbed me before I became part of the Llugwy caving team. As the guys were hauling us in things went still for a bit. We didn’t move and we got some water above mine and Toms heads. We had apparently moved, for a second,  towards the undercut on the river right before we popped up down stream. The swift rescue was thanks to handy work by Tim feeding out the line on Tom, Pete pulling in the vector and Chris overseeing operations. I couldnt really feel what was happening during the rescue- all I know is that it felt slightly unpleasant for a period of a few seconds.


Photo: Tim on Tom’s line, Pete vectoring, Chris directing, Tom rescuing and me holding onto Tom



Photo: Pete and Chris helping to pull me out of the water

Wow; what team work. Knowing there is a really nasty rapid below the falls (class V/VI) that we didn’t want to go over really brought home how important setting the appropriate safety is.

We got so much out of the weekend and Leo is such a great coach. I’d recommend this course to anyone and I am now much safer for both myself and for my team! Yay!


Short video from the Tryweryn

While I was busy taking photos, Chris was equally as busy with his video camera and managed to get a frame or two of Tom’s full 360 spins. Notice that Tom treats the rock like a wave; he is doing a flat spin. I was trying clean spins and only managed 180s. Too much fun. All video is courtesy of Mr Chris.

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Another day on the mighty T

I was thinking overnight about the T. It  is such a great place for groups of mixed ability; there is something on there for every skill level and even the most talented of boaters could, I’m sure, find something to entertain them.


Photo: Spence getting a nice line on the top rapid of graveyard section.

More of the same on Sunday on the Tryweryn. It was by chance that the guys I am going to Corsica with were there too It was good to meet them before I spend a week traveling with them in search of some of the best European whitewater in 3 weeks time. Again we spent quite some time at the entry rapid to graveyard.


Photo: Dizzy, Chris is so Dizzy, his head is spinning. like a whirlpool…


Photo: Nigel practicing some attainment

It was lovely to be out on the water and it was 8 degrees- positively balmy after what we have been experiencing recently. On sunday I spent time on the top sections but when I got tired late in the afternoon I switched to my play boat and headed down to the NRA wave for 30 min. ’Twas lovely although a little flushy- my kind of wave ; steep ;-) .


Photo by Chris: Me on the NRA wave


An Afternoon on the Tryweryn

After our fun on the Dee it was off to the Tryweryn that was running on 9 cummecs (so a little low but, hey, beggars cant be choosers)! It was 17 years since my previous visit there and I have to admit nothing looked familiar.


Photo: Nigel and Dan on the bottom of the graveyard section

It is so fantastic that a facility like the Tryweryn is free- how often do you get changing rooms, showers, cafe and a well maintained bank area when you boat- thanks WCA; you rock! And us UHCC members certainly made the most of it. We spent a lot of time making all the eddys and practicing the moves (including flares and boof) on the bird table.


Photo: Tim having fun on the bird table

Then is was off down to the graveyard and our group practiced the move from river right eddy to river left eddy after a small drop. This was may favourite section and I spent quite some time there practicing the boof/ flare into the eddy and clean rock spins. 


 Photo Tom spining around, like a record baby, right round, right round.

After the second flare I realised what my angle should be and where to plant the key stroke. I ended up having to go backwards down the rapid when practicing the clean rock spins but after a while I got into the eddy. So much fun. Then off down the rest of graveyard. I managed to get a few snaps on the way. 


Photo: Dave sporting his spangly new Burn.

Such a fun day on the water! then it was back to Lyndas for a 3 course meal followed by chocolate cake for Barneys birthday. Yummy.


Paddling in Dee Morning

Its been dry as down south  for the last few weeks (apart from Hurley) and so last weekend I headed to North Wales with a UHCC group. After the 5 hour drive after work on Friday, Lynda’s bunk house and a glass of pink wine was a welcome sight. Tryweryn wasn’t releasing until 11 am and so Tom rounded us up very early in on Saturday morning for a quick blast down the Dee.


Photo by Chris: Me on the Llangollen canal.

We parked in Llangollen and trekked up to the canal at 8:00 am no less and were on the water within a few minutes. Bleary eyed, we paddled to the put in of the Dee run just upstream of serpents tail.


Photo: James Blackburn on the serpents tail.

While the  guys were doing laps on serpents tail, Chris and I headed back up stream to check out the mutts nutts of new creek boat designs. I believe this is only one of these in the country and I totally had to try to take it for a boof:


Photo by Chris: Me getting comfortable in the the next generation creek boat

The rest of the run was super-fun and town falls was good, but definately on the low side.  After our blast down the Dee it was off to the Trywern for the 11:00 am release.