A beautiful Autumn day, unseasonably warm, saw the first Bolton Canoe Club OFFICIAL trip since the passing of our safety policy. The trip was organised and lead by the Misters Joseph Parkin and Steve Thomas. Joe had a day of Big Boys’ paddling the day before with his uni friend, Stuart on the Kent and the Leven, who also joined us on the Burrs trip, and Steve very kindly cut short his weekend away to come and make sure the day went swimmingly…..a little too swimmingly for some, myself included!
Thirteen of us met at 10.30am, and after the usual faff that accompanies any paddling trip, we made our way to the get on at the canal – included an interesting little manoeuvre to get Paul Glossop’s open boat over the little bridge to the canal. The water was typically gloopy with mud and weed on the passage up to the get out to the river. We practised paddling backwards and turning round on the spot on the journey. A nice bit of teamwork ensured everybody got out safely – every time I make that undignified exit from my boat onto that tiny little platform, I am convinced that THIS is the time I am going to unceremoniously end up in the canal, but not today…..
Another safety brief about what to do in the event of a swim, and we all got on the water above the weir. We paddled upriver, and practised low brace turns, edging and bow rudders – Joe and Stuart very obligingly pretended to be rocks for us to turn round. We headed back down river and split into 2 groups – those walking the weir, and those having a crack at it. I found myself in the “having a crack” group, and after a quick pep talk from Steve, we went for it, one at a time. I won’t lie – had a bit of a “what the…….?” moment as I approached the edge, but it all went well and felt pretty chuffed with my little self. James, Terry, Steve, Joe C, Joe, Martin and Stuart all went down – Joe C swam, but handled himself admirably!
We regrouped in the get in just past the weir, and fell into 2 groups, with Joe and Steve at the helm of each. We practiced ferry gliding and breaking in and out and eddy hopping. Joe’s group, which included Paul, myself, Clara, Stuart and Terry moved on. It was all going sooo well until we did the broken weir, and I misjudged my line and flipped over on the way down… closely followed by Terry who did exactly the same thing! No flies on Clara though, she’d seen what we had done and dealt with the feature far better!
The trip came to a natural conclusion after we ran the last weir under the road bridge near the car park. Steve’s group caught up with us, and it was all hands on deck getting out and transporting the boats up the hill back to the car park.
A cracking day paddling, rounded off with Amber and Clara’s homemade brownies for all!