Last weekend saw the annual Boys’ Brigade Canoe Club trip up to Borrowdale YHA in the Lake District, for a weekend of paddling, walking and general fun.
The weekend started early for some of the group, who decided they wanted to make the most of the trip by running a river on the Friday. So we met up bright and early at some services on the M6 to decide on where to go. After considering the River Kent, Leven and Lune, it was decided to run the Lune as this had enough water in and was a nice trip, with stunning views of the countryside along with some nice whitewater to match.
We made our way down the river, stopping to play on some features and taking in the glorious sunshine and views. You wouldn’t have known we were only 10 minutes away from the M6. We ran the river without incident, including the Strid, a narrow channel where the whole river flows into, producing a nice challenging rapid. One of our group swam, but a well done must go to Keith Traverse for running nearly half of it upside down and rolling back up at the end!
We then made our way up to Borrowdale YHA in the evening to meet up with the rest of the group.
Saturday morning arrived and it was clear that none of the rivers had risen since there hadn’t been any rain-typical! The River Kent was on the cards again, and by now was becoming a standing joke, trying to avoid any mention of the word in at least 5 minutes! It was decided to get out and paddle as a group, so we chose to run the River Leven from Newby Bridge. This was a challenging trip for some of the group, as it is technical in places and there isn’t much water in between the your boat and the riverbed. We ran the river in two groups, stopping to make sure each other were OK before running the next section. Everyone ran the river fine up until around half way, where Nev unfortunately came a cropper on the only grade 3 section on the river-we hope the recovery is going OK for you Nev. We set off again and decided to get off at Backbarrow, where some of the group decided to go for another run from Newby Bridge, whilst everyone else paid a visit to the Motor Museum Cafe to stay warm and dry-who could blame them!
We arrived back at the youth hostel and once again over dinner the discussion of what we would run the next day was being had, with the Kent featuring heavily once again!
It was decided to split off into two groups, one going for a paddle on the very scenic Derwentwater, only 10 minutes away from the hostel, whilst the other group went to check out the Kent (at last!). Arriving at the Kent, we decided not to run it for a number of reasons, so back to the Leven it was again! Here we took things slowly and used it as an opportunity to refine our technique and river running skills. This time we decided to run Backbarrow Falls, a grade 4 drop underneath the roadbridge in Backbarrow village. Tom was first up and ran it without any major problems, ony admitting later that he went flying into the road bridge after taking it a bit too fast on the run in-with a boat like that, the bridge probably suffered more damage! Jack was next, and ran it without any major problems either, apart from getting nearly airborne and being spun round backwards to face what he had just come down. Last up was Ian, who by his own admission hadn’t run Backbarrow without swimming before. He made it through with no problems whatsoever, not only staying upright all the way through but also taking the best line out of all of us! Well done Ian, we could see you were just a bit please from your reaction afterwards!
Having said goodbyes at the hostel, we certainly finished this year’s trip on a high, despite there not being too much water around. Let’s hope next year’s is even better still!
Also congratulations must go to Jane, Lizzie, Janet and Paula for gaining their 1 star tea shop performance awards, a new award introduced by the BCU (British Cake Union) to recognise achievement in walking/tea room performance-well done everyone!
Keep checking back for a video of the trip, and take a look at the gallery page for some of the photos.