The Perfect Seat

So, you need the right shoes for running, the right glass for your beer…

Now the right seat to watch videos

The Perfect Seat

Provided of course that the video was something like this.

Oh yeah, I have a kayak again… no more swimming ūüôā


Tyne Tour, Top Trip

If you want an awesome trip you can write in your diary years in advance you can’t really go past the Tyne Tour. First weekend of November, Guy Fawkes day and all that.

My trip was a little different from the Liverpool trip, in that it started off in High Wycombe… but our destination for the Friday night was still the station pub. The journey had the added bonus of introducing me to some Reading cling’ons, Daffers (of ukrgb fame) & Chrissi, who are generally a good laugh. And I will let them drive me anywhere in future.

A few quick beers later, a few bets on the potential of a C1 swim the next day then back to the tents to sing various songs about pirate ships, department stores and the like before bed.

My perfect Satruday would go something like, fry up, paddle, curry, ceilidh, with maybe some fireworks thrown in for good measure. So after farting at Laura for waking me up it was back to the Station for a cooked breaky and a cup of tea to give me energy for the rest of the day.

The river was run in an excellently organised style, big credits to Dom & Martin, we started by splitting the 25ish people we had into 2 large groups. Before breaking this down further to assign the more experienced paddlers a smaller group of muppets (oops, I mean beginners :). I was officially designated as a muppet in my C1 maiden voyage and decided to live up to it with the first (bottom assisted) roll of the day. Team Loonsey did well (although I can’t remember who exactly was in it). No swims at all!


My tip for anyone who feels the Tyne is a boring river, try it in a C1. Top of Warden’s Gorge I was actually scared. Even the wier was exciting.


In the evening we were joined by Mr Potts, and together with some of the Reading crew we split convieniently along the lines of those who wanted curry and those that didn’t, we ate then met at the pub for some pre Ceilidh beverages.


Ceilidhs rock, every one danced badly, at some point a human pyramid was made, beverages were consumed and I got to hold hands with lots of girls without being called a dirty old man.


Sunday, Liverpool headed home via the Lune, and I hear rumours of a Dom swim. I wish I was there to watch. Reading cling’ons (Me, Sue, Daffers, Chrissie & Higgo) faffed until about midday. Before heading south via the Tees Barrage. Driving with Chrissi is better when you are asleep in the back seat that way you don’t notice the creative lane changes for that impromptue stop at the Angel of the North.


The Tees barrage is a good grade 3ish man made river with a few play spots, we surfed, eddy hopped and generally played the river until well after dark when the long drive was calling us southward.

Top trip, thanks to the many people who made it possible (Kim, Martin, Dom & Laura from the Liverpool side) and Chrissi for driving me & daffers (and all the people who sent an email connecting me and my drivers)

More pics from Daffers on facebook.

Tues 14 Aug Dee – Another convert to team spud

Photographic proofTown FallsDon’t go there………..

With limited choice (OK, no choice), Alison borrowed a spud for¬†an evening¬†trip down the Dee with Helen, and loved it (OK, didn’t love it, but it was, apparantly, “alright”). Thus armoured-up,¬† the tough faceguard-chicks chose an “interesting”, but, happily, entirely upright,¬†line down the very RHS of Town falls. Team spud forever.

Back in a boat!

At Easter, I had a close encounter with a rock on the Findhorn Gorge. Most of you know the story- I had suspected spinal injuries, couldn’t move my head, and was at the bottom of a gorge; this resulted in me being airlifted from the gorge by the lovely RAF search and rescue helicopter. But that’s a different story.

For about 8 weeks after that, my back was pretty sore and I had lots of physio. I’ve also been pretty busy working, and going to Canada ūüôā so I’ve had quite a long time out of a boat. Lots of people (mostly non-paddling friends) assumed I wouldn’t go kayaking again after such a serious incident, but I was always determined that I wouldn’t give up the sport that I love because of one set back.

So, back at the beginning of July I finally got back in a boat on a river. One Wednesday night, I went to Llangollen and paddled the Dee (from just below Town Falls to Tyn mawr park) with Alison, Helen and Leo. The Dee was in flood and extremely fast flowing, through the trees at the get-in. It all looked a bit scary, and after much coersion I finally made it back into my boat and got into the eddy. Crossing the eddyline into the main flow was really terrifying, and I almost chickened out again. But I’m glad I didn’t. I felt such a huge wave of releif that I was back in a boat again! That section of river was really beautiful. It’s a calm grade 2/3 with only one tricky rapid which is quite short, and it flows through some lovely scenery.

After¬†that lovely, calm and perfect reintroduction to paddling, I went to Llangollen again a few weeks later, and spent a few hours playing on the bottom hole at Nomads with Simon (and hardly anyone else!). I’m not a very good playboater and was considerably out of practice, so I capsized a lot. Every time I went over, I had such a huge adrenalin rush before I rolled, that after about an hour I was worn out and¬†I gave up to take photos of Si. But that afternoon was another step in the right direction. It gave me back some confidence in my roll and allowed me to get used to being upside-down in my boat again.

So on Sunday, I bit the bullet and paddled a ‘proper’ river. I went to the Tryweryn with Simon, Cath and Penny; after much faffing (not our fault-we were on time!!) I launched into the Tryweryn at the top. My heart was racing and I was so scared it was hard to think straight. I paddled the Graveyard like a true fresher- straight down the middle, no control and missing every single eddy. Simon was sitting in an eddy (which I was supposed to go to), and as I shot past him at high speed, he gave me a look of alarm and sped after me. This was a theme that continued for the rest of the river……but by the time I finished I was feeling much better. Overall, I was calmer and very reassured that I’d got down without needing to roll (used my high brace several times though!).

We trudged back to the top and picked up Sue, her friend Paul and a random bloke who wanted some paddling buddies. The second run down was much better for me. I was more controlled and I actually made eddies that I was aiming for! On the third run, I felt even better; instead of looking at the river and feeling scared of the rapids/drops, I was looking at the features¬†and the eddies and planning my route.¬† So by the end of the day, I thought “I’m back!” and I felt very satisfied. From now on, I’m sure that my confidence will come back, and pretty soon I’ll be back to paddling at the level I did before my accident. However, the paddle on Sunday was in the very safe environment of the Tryweryn, so paddling a more isolated river will probably be another new challenge to address……..

Thanks everyone for your help and encouragement on Sunday and at the Dee (Alison, Helen and Leo) and see you on a river!    Rachel

Alps – links to photos

Of our 8 day trip to the French Alps, there are only 14 seconds which are not documented in some way in pictures or film. Unfortunately, those 14 seconds were the whole of Wookie’s swim down Chateau Queras, quel dommage.

Nevertheless, there are many lovely pics to look at, a selection of your albums are linked here. Please tell me addresses of any more albums Рif they have a publicly-accessible address, so much the better. (Most of the following require facebook login, which is free). 

Looking forward to reading¬†any reports on the Alps or anything else you’ve been up to. xxh

Andy B's pics of CQ via ferrata on facebook¬† Andy B’s CQ via Ferrata pics on Facebook

Kev's Alps pics on facebookKev's Alps pics on facebook

Kev's Alps pics on facebook¬† Kev’s Alps pics on facebook

Helen's CQ rafting pics¬†¬† Helen’s rafting pics

Lloyd and andy climbing Lindsays Alps pics

Sara Alps pics¬†Sara’s Alps pictures on facebook

Porto: The search for tea

Me and Cath went to Portugal second city Porto the home of Port wine.

After catching the Ryanair from Liverpool which landed 50 mins ahead of schedule due to strong tail-wind then taking a taxi from the airport to our accommodation we realised there are bigger nutters out there than me¬† ūüôā

Continue reading

25th March Tryweryn


Yey i got a new boat. It’s big, its orange, it’s like an armchair and makes grade¬†3-4 into a bimble. Took if for a test on the Trywerwn on sunday. It makes micro eddies, ploughs through holes/stoppers, prevents my legs from going dead and sits miles on top of the water. Only prob is its tendancy to get stuck in holes if you end up in them. My Chronic never got stuck upside down on the cafe wave but this one did….. Anyway had a good day on the river with Will on sunday and met James Thomas who had some exciting news.