IOPCC Trip Report

River Tavy Tavistock to Denham Bridge
January 18th 2009

Pictures of the paddle are on the
Galleries Page.


There was snow on Dartmoor, the Dart was very high and busy so we headed to the quieter, but still high River Tavy.

There were four of us less confident paddlers led by our supremo Bertie.

A vehicle was taken to Denham Bridge and we then launched at Tavistock from the large car park.

We paddled off confidently down a small series of drops forming Grade 2 rapids. Once we left Tavistock behind, the river passes through woodland with frequent Grade 2 rapids and drops. Bertie encouraged us all to learn some river leadership skills rather than just following him down. I think we all learnt a lot from him.

At one of the early rapids we met up with a group from Kingston Mauward College. The picture shows Jamie and Alison with their dog. One of the highlights of the trip was to witness Jamie Lawrence swimming!

The first Grade 3 rapid was taken carefully Andy had an unintended 'play' on the way down and was hugely relieved to escape unscathed.

At the next Grade 3 rapid we all got out to inspect. The longer you look the more frightening it becomes! However we sorted out our 'line' (Water, Obstacles, Route, Markers, Safety). Bertie led and John brought up the rear swimmingly! Bertie managed to rescue John and the boat but in doing so lost his own Werner paddles. Fortunately Bertie had split paddles in his boat and was able to continue down river until the Werners turned up.

The next big Grade 3 rapid found Ian, Barbara and John all swimming at the same time. John really lost his boat this time and ended up having to yomp his way down the riverbank for about a mile before being repatriated with his boat.

Meanwhile Barbara managed to stay upright for about 100m before taking another swim managing to scramble out on a small rocky outcrop in the middle of the river hanging onto paddle and boat (phew!) and got going again with Bertie's help.

The next obstacle was a weir which we portaged on river left. Following the weir it was manageable Grade 2 rapids that we negotiated successfully before reaching the take out at Denham Bridge with a few minutes of daylight to spare.

Altogether there were 10 swims. (not including Jamie Lawrence) a lost boat subsequently recovered lost paddles successfully recovered and a pinned boat subsequently recovered.

A good time was had by all, really!

Launch at Tavistock A gentle start
Andy having an impromptu play Relief!!
John checking the water temperature Bertie rescuing John's boat
This weir is considered too dangerous to shoot. Bertie launching after the weir
Jamie and Alison Lawrence with their guide. All were later to take a swim. The guide fared best!
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Report: and pictures: Barbara Browning



Paddling on the Jurassic Coast