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Thread: Annacloy River Feb 2018

  1. #1
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    Default Annacloy River Feb 2018

    Part 1
    The weather at the weekend was to dictate where we would end up paddling. The best day would be Sunday, but the winds would be fairly strong and from the west. Andy Nick and I wanted a fairly local paddle, (Co. Down) so that meant the Upper Bann, the Lagan or the Annacloy. The first two flow west (into the wind) and the Annacloy flows mostly east, (tailwind) so it was a nobrainer. Although the Annacloy was a spate river so it might be a bit scrapey on the way down.

    But as I was having my tea on Saturday evening, I could hear the rain on the roof (coming down like stair rods, as they say over here), and it continued in that fashion right up to bedtime. The Annacloy would be fine.

    We met at Raleigh bridge and looked upstream into the gorge. We werent running that section today, and just as well, as there was a large tree stuck halfway down. I went up to take a few photos to post on the CANI website to warn others of the danger.

    Looking upstream



    The tree.



    The view downstream was encouraging, a good flow, in fact the highest Id seen it for some time. This was going to be a good trip.



    Nick was there when I arrived and Andy arrived just after me. We took stock of the levels, agreed that we were happy to run it, and prepped our canoes before doing the shuttle to Kilmore. There were snow flurries as we got ready to go, but in between, the sun was shining.

    Off we went, usually with Andy or me leading, Nick happy to follow one or both of us. It was bouncy in places, with lots of overhanging trees to be avoided. But there were usable eddies all the way down so safety wasnt an issue.



    The first weir had some debris in it so we portaged it, easily walking down the left side and getting back on-board. Off we went again. There were some great sections of natural rock gardens, none more than grade 2 but with the speed of the water, and the overhanging trees, you needed to keep your wits about you.

    On one section, I was leading. It got a little bouncy. Avoiding trees meant sometimes having to ride the wave train in the middle. But my NC prospector has a lot of freeboard so I was confident in its ability to get a dry run.

    I spotted an eddy at the bottom, trimmed the boat nose heavy, and went for the set into the eddy.

    Im not sure how it happened, (Ill let Nick explain), but I heard a shout, turned round and saw Nick close behind me in the water, his canoe upside down. I went after him, shouting to let him know I was with him, and eventually pointing out an eddy he could swim for.



    Andy, who was behind Nick, shot off after Nicks canoe.

    I slipped back onto the rear seat, and Nick got in the front of my canoe. We paddled tandem down to find Andy, who had secured the runaway boat to a tree. We all did a bit of housekeeping (bailing out).

    The next obstacle was a bridge with narrow arches, only wide enough to get through.
    The middle arch was the safest, but it had a branch lodged near the entrance. I went onto the bridge and for the first time, used my big karabiner and 5m tape to hook the branch and pull it clear. All those years of carrying them, and Id finally got to use them.
    Big Al.

    Only when the last tree has died
    and the last river been poisoned
    and the last fish been caught
    will we realise we cannot eat money.
    ~Cree Indian Proverb

  2. #2
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    Part 2

    We shot under the bridge and carried on downstream. Andy had mentioned a fallen tree to watch out for, but I thought it was much further down. However, we did come across one much sooner than we both had expected. Andy was leading and shouted a warning, I was next and warned Nick. We all eddied out and Andy went onto the bank to check it out. He came back and said we could squeeze by on the left side, so I had a go. It took a little bit of manoeuvring, but I got through. Andy came next, also taking a bit of time to get by. Nick had miscalculated and was too close on Andy’s tail with nowhere to go, so ended up breached on the tree.
    I was closest, so went up the bank to help out.



    We decided to do a little bit of work to make a better way past. Andy did the cutting, Nick secured Andy’s canoe and cleared the bits as they came free. I offered encouragement and videoed the event. I’m very generous that way.



    We stopped at the big weir and had lunch, then set off down again. We found the tree that we were discussing earlier, causing a strainer all the way across the river. A quick discussion resulted in us all portaging past it to save any hassle. It was too big for us to tackle when the flow was so strong.
    There was one more weir between us and the cars at Kilmore. It was a tricky one, so we surveyed it from the bank. We walked down the field to discuss where best to set up safety positions should it all go wrong. Nick was happy to Portage. Andy said he would too. I wanted to run it. The guys had no objections, and were happy to provide cover. I helped them with their boats over the gate, and as they dragged them down to the river, I did a few tweaks to my canoe to make sure everything was secure.

    Off I went, starting river left, but cutting right to avoid some low hanging branches, hoping to catch an eddy on the right bank.



    It didn’t go perfectly, as I missed the eddy at Andy’s feet, but caught the next one. Then swung out and dropped down to where Nick was providing cover at the third eddy.

    We all got back onto the water and went down to Kilmore where we’d left the cars.

    The wall at the new bridge made the perfect windbreak and suntrap. So we sat for a while, having a bit of craic in the winter sunshine.





    A good day on the river in what turned out to be pretty good weather for the time of year.

    Thanks Andy and Nick for your company.
    Big Al.

    Only when the last tree has died
    and the last river been poisoned
    and the last fish been caught
    will we realise we cannot eat money.
    ~Cree Indian Proverb

  3. #3
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    Looks like a very enjoyable day on the water

  4. #4
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    Another interesting look into river swimming techniques, it actually looks a pretty good laugh with no major incidents without extrication.
    Thanks God for dry suits.
    Cheers
    MarkL
    www.canoemassifcentral.com
    Canoe outfitting packages in the Massif Central


  5. #5
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    Miles of good fast flow and loads of water and good company made this a great day out. No bumping and scraping this day. Heavy rain and snowmelt had brough the river up much higher than I had expected. Getting whipped round the head by the odd branch was almost unavoidable. Kingfishers, dippers and a buzzard put in appearances. More days like this, please.
    "Thus we lead a life of pleasure
    Thus we while the hours away"

    from Thoreau, Voyager's Song

  6. #6
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    Great stuff chaps. Missing the moving water at the moment, need to fix that!
    Covering as many malmiles as possible before being distracted by the pub!

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

  7. #7
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    I know I look like the village idiot on this blog, but Al is just posting the funny bits.
    It was a brilliant day out and the most technical paddle I have ever done, there were lots of excellent eddy outs and even times where it looked like I knew what I was doing !
    We know each others abilities well and work as a team, I provided the rescue practise. I will say that a good drysuit and buoyancy aid, and the application of the lessons from Safety and Rescue training made the incidents low risk and almost fun.
    Thanks for company lads
    Nick

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Nick View Post
    I know I look like the village idiot on this blog
    Point of order ... I think you'll find that job is already taken by somebody much more qualified than you and I've no wish to be out of work.

    I just do it in warmer places .... not daft, me you know :-)
    MarkL
    www.canoemassifcentral.com
    Canoe outfitting packages in the Massif Central


  9. #9
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    Enjoyed that....my sort of river at my sort of ability level...cheers, Dick
    A ship should not ride on a single anchor, nor life on a single hope - Epictetus

  10. #10
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    I think it's fair to say that we take turns at being the idiot. I took my turn on the Glenelly river. But there's nothing like taking a swim to remind you what we learned on the wwsr course. And unfortunately because the camera is fixed to the wrong side it didn't capture Nick doing everything right whilst in the water and self rescuing.

    As Nick says the videos above are a bit skewed, making him look bad and that wasn't my intention. There was so much more to this river trip than those few incidents. It was a full on fun whitewater trip, and the craic was great.

    Here's a few more videos to give a more balanced view of what the trip was like.





    In the thumbnail for this one you can see the branch I hooked up out of our way.





    We really were blessed with sunshine most of the trip.

    Last edited by Big Al.; 13th-February-2018 at 10:20 PM.
    Big Al.

    Only when the last tree has died
    and the last river been poisoned
    and the last fish been caught
    will we realise we cannot eat money.
    ~Cree Indian Proverb

  11. #11
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    My turn was in Clare Glen. And on another day on the Annacloy. And that time on the Bann. It comes from wearing dry suits.

    Great reminders of the day on the river. Thanks for blogging, Al.
    "Thus we lead a life of pleasure
    Thus we while the hours away"

    from Thoreau, Voyager's Song

  12. #12

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    Thanks for the blog, Al. That looks an excellent trip.

  13. #13
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    More great action shots of great trip.
    It almost deserves a full video edit.

    My quads are only just coming back to life after 3 days.
    Nick

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    Come back to look at the new vids - some classy singing under that tiny bridge.
    A ship should not ride on a single anchor, nor life on a single hope - Epictetus

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Nick View Post
    More great action shots of great trip.
    It almost deserves a full video edit.

    My quads are only just coming back to life after 3 days.
    Nick
    I'm happy to give you a copy of the videos of you want to work on them. Just don't put that daft music over it please.
    Big Al.

    Only when the last tree has died
    and the last river been poisoned
    and the last fish been caught
    will we realise we cannot eat money.
    ~Cree Indian Proverb

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patterdale Paddler View Post
    Come back to look at the new vids - some classy singing under that tiny bridge.
    It's the only place my singing should be heard, under bridges in far off places.
    Big Al.

    Only when the last tree has died
    and the last river been poisoned
    and the last fish been caught
    will we realise we cannot eat money.
    ~Cree Indian Proverb

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