posted on March 22, 2011 04:21
“B@ll@cks” I thought as I read an email from Mike telling me that a weekend of white water paddling had been cancelled as some people couldn’t make the date. I had already booked my leave at work as the trip had been scheduled in the diary for a few months and I couldn’t make the new date due to work commitments.
I didn’t want to waste the leave I had booked off so I sent an email out to all the people who had been invited on the initial trip to see if anyone was free on the Friday to fit in a Hurley session. Only one person bothered to reply back so Chas and I started to plan our play boating trip.
As the date drew nearer, the levels at Hurley started dropping. 3 gates became 2, and then just a few days before the trip the levels dropped to the feared 1 gate. We did consider cancelling the trip but being the committed paddlers we are, Chas convinced me to take on the challenges of the Mighty River Mole instead.
The Zambezi it isn’t, but the Mole is certainly an entertaining river (if a little hard work in play boats). The shuttle was run and I even considered making a couple of U turns just to give the trip that full CAP endorsement.
Once on the river, we negotiated several fallen trees and a couple of tunnels under the M25 before getting to the first friendly weir. The obligatory impromptu CAP rodeo took place with clean spins and paddle twirls being the order of the day. Several other weirs were encountered and sessioned before we reached the take out at a pub in Cobham.
It was while we were enjoying a Post Paddle Pint that Chas received a phone call to see if he fancied a paddle at Cardiff the next day. As we were both meant to have been kayaking this weekend, we jumped at the chance of another day on a river. We did consider extending the invite to our fellow CAP crusaders but knew no one would be available as the initial trip had been cancelled.
Saturday morning found glorious sunshine and us setting off punctually at 8am !!!!!! We reached Cardiff International White Water course on time and met up with three intrepid paddlers from Putney. Improving our CAP relations with other clubs, I was introduced to John, Glyn and Mark then it was time to inspect the course.
Well I have got to say that I was suitable impressed. It was a delight to be challenged as the course is quite technical with tight lines, surging eddies and regular rafts to contend with. There are plenty of features to surf and have fun on if you are prepared to get stuck in there.
Chas informed me that they have made several improvements to the course since CAP visited last Summer with more definite drops and features.Who could ask for any more, perfect weather, crystal clear water and a conveyer belt to take you back to the top of the course.
The high light of the day was the King Of The Wave competition with us all fighting to knock each other off while staying on the wave at the same time.
We managed to some how draw on energy levels we didn’t even know we had as we all completed 12 laps of the course. That is 3km of continuous Grade III white water that had been Boater-crossed, surfed and played to death.
We left Wales happy men and arrived home at 7pm. Who would have thought it possible to fit in 4 hours of serious hardcore paddling into an 11 hour day trip from South London.
I hope this article encourages you to get out there and make your own personal pilgrimage to CIWW, the new Mecca, now face west and pray.
All photos courtesy of Chas Donnelly esq. Available for weddings and bar mitzvahs.