My First Paddle on The Dee, Sunday 8th March 2015

It was a soggy Sunday start. Sunday morning – I had an early start at 7.30am, although I usually do on weekdays, it felt strangely early for a weekend. I finally got up after a poke at 7.40 and got dressed. My bag with towel in was ready and mum had kindly checked my other bag with my kayaking kit in, for everything I needed. Once the car boot was full with mine and Joe’s kit and what looked like we were going camping – but really it was just all of mum’s cooking gear, including a table and teapot! The journey itself was alright, there wasn’t much traffic, so it only took us an hour and a half approximately.

After the first rapid.

About 15 minutes away from the River Dee we saw Duncan on the motorway! We were behind him all the rest of the way to the river.

We arrived, and saw that Martin and Joe were already there, and already changed. Me and mum went to get a band for my buoyancy aid to show we had paid to go on the river, but Joe (Awesome Joe) had kindly got the band for me. I then went back to get my kit to get changed into…..in the changing room. Mother helped me put my cag on it is Joe’s but he lends it to me, the cag is hard to get over the head so I needed a hand. When everyone was changed we all carried our boats to the river. However Mother was kind enough to carry my boat whilst I carried everyone’s paddles. Once we were on the river, Duncan informed us from a washed out paper sign that we can’t go across a field to go higher up the river as they had not paid rent to allow paddler to use it. So we changed plans and decided to go down the first rapid to get to a good place to do some ferrygliding. So that’s what we did. We also practised going from eddy to eddy. The most I think I wobbled was when I was on an eddy line.

Glorious food, brilliantly prepared.

 

About four minutes later we got a big whiff of bacon cooking which made us all hungry. But we still wanted to carry on paddling for a bit, so we did. Duncan, Martin and Joe C. stayed to practise ferrygliding whilst me and Joe (soon to be known as Marvellous Joe) went to go farther down the river, by Seal Launch Rock. We stayed above the next rapid for a bit to have a look at it and watch more experienced kayakers play in the wave. After a minute or so we ventured forth and paddled down the rapid. There was, first, a wave which was fairly high and second there was a bit of a smaller wave, but I found it harder to paddle on. After a good paddle we got off and me Joe, Joe C., Martin and Duncan to go and get some sausage and bacon butties. We attracted quite a crowd of one injured kayaker (not the mother). Once we were back on the river a few people did come and have the left over sausage and bacon. However I must say it was not my mother’s good looks or charm that attracted them, it was the smell of food. We got back on the river at the top and went down the first rapid, but this time we went on river left down a bigger rapid. Duncan went down first, then Joe, who unfortunately swam but was rescued and bravely got back in. I went down next and nearly got “back looped”. Martin and Marvellous Joe then came down fine.  On the next rapid a little further down, and Joe swam again, but again got back in his boat. We went back ferrygliding and them me Joe and Duncan went down the rapid by seal launch rock. Joe was trying to get me to go into an eddy between two waves. I didn’t want to though as I was tired and it looked a bit hard. But I survived it, we did it a third time and Joe was playing in the wave whilst me and Duncan went to a smaller wave a bit lower down. Joe came down a bit later and deemed the wave playable, he made it look easy but when me and Duncan tried we failed. We then got out on some rocks, I was offered help but denied it, unfortunately. I was about to get in my boat when I slipped on the rocks and fell in a perfectly round hole. I was fine and got in my boat whilst Duncan and Joe were lounging around further up the river. We later went just below the second rapid and practised throwlines. My attempt reached barely one meter as it slipped out of my hand whereas Duncan got it caught on an overhead rope. Duncan was sat on Joe’s shoulder until they eventually fell backwards into the river. We tried again but rescuing me and I was successfully saved by Joe. At this point we were all cold and wet so we got out and got changed. When we were taking my cag off we made the mistake of taking my head out first before my arms and I ended up having no head just hair. We eventually got it off and once we were change we all stuffed our faces with brownies and coffee, tea or hot chocolate. We watched some rafts going down the river before later going home, having the satisfaction of a wonderful kayaking trip.

 

Monster from the deep.

 

Thank you all!

By Clara, Age 12