Paddlers: Bertie Beckram, Mark Damen, Joe Oughton, Peter Wood, Henry Knight.
At 7am on a strangely sunny Sunday morning, six of us met
up at Willowbed Hall in Chickerell for our river adventure.
Six became seven after picking up an extra one in Bridport
(newcomer Henry Knight) and we were off to conquer the River
Barle on Exmoor. After arriving in good time we put an extra
boat on Dobby's National Express Tours in order to travel to
the drop-in point (Tarr Steps), we were all on the water for
10:15-not bad! Bertie gave us all (Dobby) some coaching
skills in a small rapid upstream then after 10 mins decided
we were ready for the big stuff...
The paddle was to be a Stage II River Run approx 10miles,
the river was running fast & hard yet Dobby was sitting very
low and slow in the water compared to the other paddlers?
The young Oughtons were exercising their extensive paddling
skills whilst Bertie was leading, with Mark bringing up the
rear and kindly babysitting Dobby! We had to negotiate quite
a few rapids which were very large (almost like the Nepal
rivers that were displayed to us at the AGM on Friday
Negotiating weirs and avoiding trees whilst Bertie
attracted our attention to huge eddies and managing to
protect our eyes from preying trees, we came across a huge
gnarly rapid-running surf wave as big as a large lorry,
everyone successfully managed to negotiate it, well all
apart from one (Dobby) who thought he would investigate the
river life...well the river bed did look lovely and clear -
very different from the seabed he usually inspects...Dobby
continued travelling down-river holding onto his boat,
paddle and also trying desperately to cling to his dignity.
Mark (aka David Hasselhoff) did the decent thing and rescued
Dobby whilst everyone else had a welcome rest.
We got Dobby back in his boat and paddled downstream
again, we had to portage around a dangerous weir due to
ironworks in the water, there were a few other paddlers
taking a welcome break for lunch around the weir part, we
paddled on & came across a large rapid with a great little
wave running, so Bertie, Mark and the Oughtons decided to
have a welcome play. Then young Joe popped a cracking roll
in the aftermath of the rapid, we proceeded to paddle the
last part of the river down to our get-out point, we arrived
at the car park (Pub) approx 3 hours after our drop in &
were welcomed back with a few chips & fizzy pop.
A great day was had by and all.
Thanks to all who welcomed me/rescued me/laughed at me on
my first river paddle...