Archive for June, 2010


More Gronda and Sorba Slide Action

As I mentioned in my Sorba/Gronda post, I forgot to take photos from that day. Mark A., Mike C., and Mike M. have kindly said I can pilfer some photos from their facebook collections. In true narcissistic stylee they are mostly of me, me, me.


Photo by Mike Clampitt: Having me a bit of Sorba fun


Photo by Mark Allen: Taking flight off the autoboof. Fasten seatbelts please.


Photo by Mike Clampitt: Duck diving the hole at the bottom of the fist slide.


Photo by Mike:  Me, Mark, the other Mr Allen, Hardy and Authur at the Gronda/Sorba confulence.

Good times baby! Wish I could go back there now!


Gronda and Sorba Slides

Our crew headed to the on-site bar at Campertogno campsite (after our run down the lower Sesia) and we caught up with with friends new and old. Tonnes of Brits were at the bar (including a group of about 25 from the west country)and it was really cool to meet Mark H. again. I met Mark when I was doing my 5 * T and he was doing his 4*A with Gene 17. We drank together then and promptly did the same at the bar again- in Italy. My paddle buddies were a little worse for wear on Monday morning, so at midday I asked Mark if i could go with him and his mates to the Gronda and Sorba slides


Photo: Arthur on the Gronda

These two rivers were top of my list to do in Italy and I knew it would be a super cool day. Mark and I met up with Mark Allen et al on the Gronda and paddled the drops 3 times. The Gronde is classified as a Class 5- river. 

The recipe for a good day on the Gronda is to: Park up, carry your boat as far upstream as you fancy, paddle down. Repeat. Wicked, Wicked. I was having too much fun on the drops to take photos. After the Gronda, we paddled round the corner to the Sorba slides. Now, just when I thought I’d had about much fun as possible in one day, my day got even better. 3 times on the 3 lovely slides….tooooooooo much fun. No piccies of the slides unfortunately.


Lower Sesia

The Lower Sesia is about a 7 km run though some pretty areas of the Sesia Valley. Classic class III fun; little of consequence on this section of river, just some nice clean rapids and surf waves. You can put in above “Little Canada” which is a nice clean class IV drop at the start of the run, but we opted for the clean rock slide seal launch just down stream.


Photo: Get in for the Lower Sesia

I sure wish i’d had my play boat as there was a really nice hole rivr right on the way down. We played there for about 1 hour trying to get loops out of creek boats. We collectively managed to throw some shapes, of sorts, in the later



Photo: Tom on a nice rapid about 1 km into the run.

After the run it was off to the shop to buy some delicous Italian grocieries and cheap beer for dinner.


Italy- Getting there

Six of us loaded the van and car headed for Dover. Boarding the ferry at 9:30 pm, we arrived in France at about 11:30 and started our drive south. Having done some research and posting on the UKRGB message board and getting some great advice on the cheapest route to Val Sesia, we travelled through the night visiting Belgium, Luxembourg (cheap petrol/deisel) and Germany by day break.


Photo: The mountains on the Simplon Pass

The it was onwards and literally upwards to Switzerland and the Simplon Pass. It took quite some time from the Simplon pass to end and then we were in ITALY, our home for the next week or so.


Photo: The Italian Border

We travelled over  the scariest road I’ve been on for a while close to lago Maggiore. It was such a small road that it wasn’t even on our map. I could feel my hairs turning grey with every pot-holed hair-pin bend. Then after a 30 minute drive up the Sesia Valley we spied our oasis- Campertogno campsite on the banks of the Middle Sesia.


Photo: The welcome site of Campertogno

We set up camp and grabbed a couple of beers and set about chillaxing for the the rest of the evening after 24 hours and 7 countries of travel.