We assembled at the Furzeleigh Mill during the Friday evening, 22/11/19, knowing the water level was high and rain was forecast all night, so Adrian & Marion would have to make a big decision the next day. The new owners of Furzeleigh Mill, Tessa, Geoff, made us very welcome and we liked their new decorations.
At Saturday breakfast (23/11/19), St Austin’s Bridge read 1.7m and rising, so off we went to Totnes, hoping the flow would be reduced by the incoming tide. We experienced a tough work-out, managing the 2 miles to the weir in around 90 minutes. We enjoyed the noise of the flow whilst we lunched.
The return paddle was much calmer as we were close on high tide and we cruised gently back to Steamer Quay for land-based rolling coaching for Sam and Matias tested his dry suit.
We had our evening meal at Furzeleigh Mill, where there was a tasty menu. We enjoyed watching another group having their Christmas party with a Christmas pudding being set alight.
Sunday (24/11/19), the level at Austin’s had dropped back to 0.98m, although the water was looking frisky, we were able to paddle the “lower, lower” section of the Dart. Our PCC team were joined by Izzy’s DW mate, Jas, and the 12 of us set off at a brisk pace towards Staverton. Adrian set up a buddy system for Kevin, Matias, Sam and Robin whilst Marion & Alan looked out for Izzy & Jas. Sam & Saeeda did a grand job together in their Open, with Julia paddling solo.
At 0.98m, there was plenty of opportunity to ferry glide and break in / out of eddies. You had to be quick. It cleared the cobwebs. Being Matias’ first experience of white water, it really was a “Baptism of Fire” for him, if you’ll excuse the expression when referring to water. It was certainly an exhilarating trip for all of us.
The Salmons Leap Café was a warm refuge at the end of the weekend, for coffee, cake etc for those wanting a relax before driving home. Alan & Marion wanted to make the most of the light so the 4 of them lost out.
It was a great weekend and thoroughly enjoyable. Many thanks to Adrian and all our coaches.
Article by Robin, Photos by Adrian & Robin, Video by Sam B.