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Slovenia June 2013

Slovenia…stunning... beautiful… magnificent… friendly.. emerald green waters...mountains.. pick your adjective! It was such an amazing place and definitely a place we will return to. Not only was there great white-water with spectacular mountain backdrops and sunshine, but every get inand get out was signposted not only on a map, but from the road and the river too, and there were even toilets with toilet paper at every entry/exit point. Incredible! Definitely the most kayak friendly place I have been to. 12 of us from Battersea made the trip this year. 10 flew from London to Ljubljana, and 2 drove all the boats over from London. Thanks so much to Paddy and Ciaran for making this journey, and a big thanks for Ciaran for the use of your van!

Instead of camping like is usual on European Alps trips, we chose to stay a bit more up market in an amazing chalet in the town of Bovec, (pronounced Bovets), staying in a chalet turned out cheaper than camping and so much nicer! And was walking distance to all the restaurants, shops and pubs. The chalet was originally meant for only 6-8 people but even adding more people to the trip to 12, the place was spacious, and we decorated the garden outside with our paddling kit on a daily basis.

Day 1 of Paddling: We had a lazy start to the morning due to some late arrivals the night before. It also allowed us time in the morning to buy our river permits (7 days = €10) from the Tourist information centre. We’d already got some great information from one of the local kayakers/raft guides which our chalet manager had put us in contact with. He gave us some suggestions of good warm up sections, and some local knowledge of trees/siphons to be aware of etc. We chose to start the trip with an easy 2/3 section of the Soca, (pronounced Socha), from Boka to Sprenica 2. This section was great to get used to the water, and to practice catching eddies behind boulders on the later section. As most of us were feeling good we chose to continue on to the next grade 3 /4 section to Trnova, a step up, but had some nice moves. The only thing we had to remember was to stay left when we saw the massive boulder in the centre of the river as there was a small siphon on the right. Day 1 was complete without a hitch, and we enjoyed a very nice pasta meal and beers in the chalet that evening.

Day 2 of Paddling: We repeated the section Sprenica 1 to Trnova 1 to allow the couple of people who didn’t complete it yesterday to enjoy this great section, then we added on a bit more.. the slalom section to Trnova 2. The river map says it’s grade 4/5 but it was more just a grade 4 with some nice eddy hoping and technical lines. Great fun! Everyone was very hot on identifying the get out on this one as no one wanted to end up in Siphon canyon, which is the only section of the Soca, which one shouldn’t paddle, (although it is possible with some u-tube videos of the this section available). Today was Phil’s birthday, so we planned lots of paddling! In the afternoon we headed to the tributary, Koritnica, using the get in at Kluze, and we were recommended to use the get out at Cezsoca as there is no walk up a hill, so this is where the cars were left. The Koritnica section can only be described as stunning, beautiful, and fun. It was such a nice paddle, really enjoyable and with an amazing surprise after only a few minutes on the water: a narrow canyon which was a little boily inside but a joy to paddle through. For dinner we ate Pizza at the campsite down the road, (great pizza), and they even created a birthday cake for Phil for us, (although it was more a pancake cake with lot’s of cream creation).

Day 3 of Paddling: Still ticking off sections of the river.. we started at the top of the Soca down to Cezscosa. The top section had a fun section through the ‘Bunker’ which Donald enjoyed a nice dip in, and Phil got to practice being a live bait to rescue his paddle from a tree strainer. Tim was photographer taking some great pics from the bridge and also through the fantastic canyon section. We tried to fit in a second section but today was the allowing people to sleep in day, and by the time we found the get in for the Otona get in it was getting to late, however we walked the 12 min journey down the hill and admired the beautiful clear emerald green water and checked out some lines at the get in.

Day 4 of Paddling: We had an early paddlers group today and for those who wanted to sleep in they could join us after lunch day. So at 8:45am everyone was in the car and out to paddle the section from Otona to Napoleaonov. Most of this was the most continuous grade 4 section on the river. At the campsite near the get out.. eating chocolate pancakes is a must.. and it is also here where you can walk to the most amazing waterfall in a huge cavern (30min return walk). Icecreams in Bovet were a must, prior to picking up the sleep-iners before doing the fun tributary section to finish off the day.

Day 5 of Paddling: 2nd last day of paddling was spent working the sections Sprenica 1 to Trnova 2, surf waves, catching more eddies..and as it turned out loosing a boat down Siphon canyon (which was found the next day by some locals INTACT.. incredible). Tania, Paddy and Donald had a day off paddling today. Tania and Tim got up at 4am to climb the amazing peak Svinjak, 2hrs20min to the top and totally worth getting up early for, no clouds, gorgeous views, definitely recommend this walk and we were back at 8:30am before everyone had even got up! By doing the walk in the morning, it meant Tim could still paddle, and Tania could join Paddy on a cycle ride.. that turned out to be 5hrs long but very scenic, (the chalet had some mountain bikes available for us to use). Donald took the zip line on and has some great go-pro footage high up in the mountains.

Day 6 of Paddling: On the last day of paddling we wanted to start at the top and see how far we could get, we were hoping to complete all of it, but we did well, managing to get from the top of the Soca down to the bottom of the Slalom (Trnova 2), with a bit of a dramatic rescue/swim by Olwen in the canyon section.

All in all, this has been one of the best whitewater trips the club has done, the river, the apartment, the area, everything turned out brilliantly and all I can say is bring on next year!

Click here for a slideshow of a selection of everyone's photos (100 out of 3000!)

Or click here to see the same photos on Facebook.

Trip Participants: Tania, Ciaran, Kate P, Olwen, Dan, Phil H, Donald, Tim, Paddy, Ant, Andy M and Ben K.

Swim Count: 7 (including technicals :-) )

Date: 1-8th June 2013

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