By the power of facebook, this year I got back in touch with someone I knew at school, who is now a mad keen river boater. After much discussion of the merits of Lance Mitchell’s paddles and Lomo drysuits, it was decided that a school reunion on a river was in order and a date was agreed for running the Tummel.
Having driven for hours to get to the take out, Phyllis was parked up and after a few beers over a warm campfire, it was time for some well earned kip. This however, was shattered when at 7am the world and his wife appeared and constructed some kind of rafting cash cow village in the middle of the field and right next to Phyllis. I was not impressed. I moved Phyllis.
After some bacon and a lot of general fafferage (from me), it was time for the river. I was a peedie bit nervous cos I don’t do rivers and can’t paddle in a straight line. The first section was very scrapey but the decent rapids were OK and the guys were brilliant at talking me through the lines before I ran them. I managed shark’s tooth OK but screwed up the slot and had to roll. Zig and zag was also OK, using the patented ‘jam in a hard right bow rudder’ manoeuvre, rather than the eddy, ferryglide route. Last up was the Linn of Tummel and I was pleased to get down that OK, if with a bit of unintentional farting about in the eddy in the middle!
After the river, it was time for a spot of relaxing with a few beers and a BBQ. It was a bit rainy so we managed to construct a shelter from a huge tarp and lots of throwlines.
Sunday morning was not a pleasant experience, but after some profane chivying from John, we were in our kit and ready to paddle. I was not in the zone!
We decided we’d miss out the scrapey section and go for the good bits, starting with The Slot. It was awful, my line was fine for the start and then I managed to mess up the last bit and capsize. The paddle was ripped out of my right hand and by the time I sorted it out, I knew it was in the wrong place to roll. I bailed. I wasn’t pleased.
After my swim, I was persuaded to have another go but it was equally unsuccessful. Fortunately, after my second coup, I managed to roll so I cheered up a bit. I still wasn’t pleased though!
Feeling like a ****. The body language says it all!
After that cock up, the others asked if I wanted to continue, I wasn’t happy but I got out to inspect Zig and Zag and spent a good few minutes psyching myself up and using a spot of visualisation to rehearse the moves. With my head in the right place, things were much better and I negotiated the rapid without couping. I was dead chuffed!
I was totally up for the Linn after getting my head right and running the rest of the section OK. There were a load of guys from Monklands Canoe Club there so I was a bit shy about running it in front of them. John went down while we watched his line then watched the other Monklands guys run it too. I must have looked nervous, they were trying to look after me and tell me what to do!
I messed up my line into the first drop but recovered and hit the Rooster’s Tail right where I wanted. I was totally wired when I landed it, so much so that one of the Monkland’s guys asked if I had hypothermia! My friend caught it all on video, I don’t think he fancied my chances on the first drop!
After doing the Linn, we paddled down the loch to the take out and our campsite and had a well earned brew.
A fine end to a fantastic weekend…. now I just need to get myself my own river boat…..