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River Dart March 2024

River Dart Kayaking March 2024

 

The club has been fortunate to have multiple trips to the River Dart this season. A river that caters for all, from the more experienced who can paddle the Upper Dart sections, to intermediate paddlers on the ‘loop’ and beginners on the Lower Dart.



Friday there was a group who left early enough from London to arrive in time for an afternoon paddle on the Lower Dart for Cedric’s first ever time on a white water river. He had spent a lot of time learning how to roll in the pool sessions and this practice paid off with his first ever roll in a cold white water a success! Cedric was introduced to what eddy’s were, and how to enter and exit the into the main flow, and ferry glide from one side of the river to another, and successfully made it to the café exit, albeit a little exhausted.


That evening we were joined by the remaining club members paddling this weekend, and with water levels constantly changing plans for what to paddle the next day were only agreed on at breakfast. We stayed at the Dart Country Park who makes an excellent breakfast to fill up on for a days paddling.




Paddy, Chessie, Maria and Tania enjoyed playing on the waves on the Loop. It was fun to meet an old club member Kate on the river. She started paddling with the club several years back and paddled a lot with Tania and Paddy over the years before moving out of London. The group met up with Cedric at the country park to do another run of the Lower Dart. The improvement in Cedric’s paddling from the day before was a joy to see, so much more at ease on the water and really putting into practice Paddy’s teaching. The water levels had dropped considerably from the day before and it was incredible to see a tree that was completely submerged the day before that we had unknowingly paddled over, now way above the water line with the only passing point now on river left.


Tim joined Antony on the Upper Dart section for the first time. It was a big step up from the Loop. A great experience aside from a very scary moment of swimming into a fallen tree. Thankfully, he escaped unharmed and was able to still continue paddling thanks also to Sal Montgomery doing a livebait rescue of Tim’s paddle. Thank you Sal, for others were not as fortunate, with us finding another person’s paddle on the lower Loop section far from where it had been lost on the Upper Dart, but which was thankfully eventually reunited with its owner.

Saturday night was the end of season River Dart Paddlers Party. It included a raffle with incredible prizes every paddler would want including a top prize of a new boat! With  everyone stocking up on tickets, the nervous wait began to see if anyone’s numbers would be called…. sadly no grand prize winners but Tania picked up a cap and Maria a waterproof phone case.




Saturday night ended up bring so much rain that the River dart was well above the Very High levels and the water up the steps near the tree at New Bridge. So, the call was made for no paddling and instead we enjoyed the beautiful Dartmoor national park area hiking some of the trails. Yar Tor was rather a wet trail after all the rain when many didn’t have waterproof hiking shoes, so after we made it to the top, we opted for the gravel trail in Princetown across the Moors, finishing with some delicious Devonshire Cream tea before the long drive back to London.

 

Paddlers: Paddy, Tania, Maria, Chessie, Tim, Cedric, Antony

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