Improvers session 3

Mike H , Phil, Eric Colin John S Heather Brian

River Lowther Rosgill to Bampton Grange. 30 Nov 2018 0.9 on Bampton gauge

The last day in November saw the third of the river running skills sessions with Mike H and Phil 

With significant rainfall since the Wednesday session (well on me at least) the rivers were a bit higher and Mike chose a short section of the Leven from Rosgill to Bampton Grange as our tester for the session today.

Novices Colin, John S and Eric were joined by definitely not novices Brian C and Heather, and Mike and Phil of course.

The Bampton Grange bus shelter provided an ideal location for the briefing and Mike pointed out that today was a little bit more continuously bouncy and somewhat narrower than Wednesday so avoiding trees and sticky up rocks would be a good idea.

So onto the water; or rather down to the water – you didn’t mention anything about it being a bit faster than Wednesday too. “don’t fall in at the start, don’t fall in at the start, do not fall in at the start” – made the first break out, still dry; Mike arrives with wise words, – “breathe” – so much to think about!

Slowly getting the hang of this, with a few bits coming together; looking across both Colin and John seem to be smashing it, breaking in an out with relative ease; and John in a boat the size of a small tea tray too.

The inevitable had to happen and after failing to avoid one of the aforementioned sticky up rocks I found myself initially sitting on top of but shortly afterwards swimming around the base of said rock. Thanks to Mike and Brian who quickly got me onto terra firma and to Mike for his encouraging words – “you got out much better than the other day”

Colin also managed a swim or two but very impressively called for and executed eskimo rescues with the help of Phil and Brian.

It’s only a short hop down to Bampton and it was definitely a case of “again, again” when a second run was suggested.

We were sensibly working in pairs and for the second run; Phil and I paired up. It’s great to know that you have someone watching out for you. On one section we were at the front, I heard a loud crunch and looking round saw Phil – stuck on a rock; focusses the mind on the stay safe bit when someone else is having a bit of a moment.

All too soon we were back at Bampton again, with John proudly claiming the “I didn’t swim today” award.

From the novices perspective I think we all feel that we’ve gained a great deal of confidence over these three sessions and it’s a huge thanks to Mike and Phil for making it happen for us. Also thanks to Heather and Brian for all their help and support too.

A final thanks to Cumbria Canoeists for the loan of boats even though they seem to keep falling over.

Here’s looking forward to future sessions.

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