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Thread: Pancap's "moderate water leader" assessment

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Bangor, Co Down.
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    4,661

    Default Pancap's "moderate water leader" assessment

    "Pancap" (John) was looking for "guineapigs" as he called them for his "moderate water leader" assessment yesterday on the Colebrooke river.

    This was perfect for me as
    1 I was getting cabin fever and needed a river paddle
    2 I like the Colebrooke river
    3 because I was a bit rusty, John would be doing all the thinking, so I could just turn up and be lead down the river by him
    4 Shooter was doing the assessment and its ages since I've paddled with her
    5 it had been raining heavily for days (which added to my cabin fever) so the rivers were in good shape


    And so, that's what I did. We met at a local service station and John made me a cup of tea in his van while we waited for Shooter and Colin who were joining us from the "Share Centre" not far away. When they arrived we drove the short distance to the get out and arranged the boats onto Shooter's trailer for the shuttle. The get in was about 5 miles up the main Belfast road, but the river trip would be a good 11 miles as the river went off into the countryside.

    John picked a spot for us to launch and we got the boats ready.





    John did a quick safety briefing, discussing hand and paddle signals, the state of the river and did a look round at our gear and boats to make sure we were good to go.

    We were soon on the river heading towards the private Colebrooke estate on the left bank, but as we rounded a corner I spotted a red Squirrel on the right bank. Good to know they are in the area, I'll report it to CEDAR for their survey.

    We also spotted some Deer, Buzzards, Dippers, Herons, and Wagtails, and I'm pretty sure I saw a Sparrowhawk, so not a bad trawl of wildlife on a wet and windy day.

    This bridge is in the estate not far from the large stately home.





    I remembered a few features in the Colebrooke estate from the last time Andy Carden and I did it back in 2014, but the river was much lower and the drops caused more concern to negotiate. This time, most of them were washed out as the river was about 4ft higher than usual.

    Our select group of paddlers, Shooter on the left, then John, with Colin on the right.





    The house is just visible through the trees, so we were paddling through their back garden.





    One of the features I remembered was a set of stepping stones leading from the house across the river.
    Today they created a nice wave to play on.

    John, ever vigilant, positioned himself further downstream in case anything went wrong, so Shooter and Colin had a "play" in the wave.






    Don Paddler should be proud of her as Shooter puts one of his paddles through it's paces.





    Then Colin has a go, showing he's no slouch when it comes to surfing.





    It was decided that the next bit of decent shelter we found would do for a lunch stop, so the maps were consulted.







    Then we rafted the canoes to cope with the furious headwind in the open stretch.





    After lunch, Shooter decided to get John to show us his lining skills.





    Selflessly offering herself as "Ballast" to save John from rerigging his canoe. Then she proved that women can "multitask" as she observed him doing the challenge AND sent texts at the same time. Outstanding I say!!!!









    The river got more interesting at that point as it dropped faster through some trees. Shooter set John some challenges, dealing with how to work our group down some faster bits using eddies, hand and paddle signals, and always questioning him about safety. Colin took a tumble into the water (on purpose) to test John's rescue skills. Well done Colin, rather you than me!! I had to step back as my natural reaction was to pitch in with the rescue, but Shooter wanted to observe John. It was a fast flowing section, and John took control, instructing Colin and finally getting his boat emptied and him back in it.

    There was another "exercise" where she got John to capsize and "self rescue" and once again he did well.
    We were near the end of the run at this point, so a final discussion, with a few questions about dealing with a "dislocated shoulder" injury, which Shooter had actually had on one trip on this river.




    I paddled my "Supernova" on this trip and it handled really well in the conditions. I also realised how unfit I am, so I'll need to do a lot more exercise (hopefully paddling) to get back in shape. So John, Shooter, Colin, thanks for your company, and lets get out again soon.
    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
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Newtownards, Northern Ireland.
    Posts
    623

    Default

    Good to see you got a day out. The Colebrook is not normally associated with whitewater training, 4ft extra water helps.

    Nick

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Bangor, Co Down.
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Nick View Post
    Good to see you got a day out. The Colebrook is not normally associated with whitewater training, 4ft extra water helps.

    Nick
    I know what you mean, but the clue is in the title it's "moderate water" as opposed to flat water which he has already done. It's the leadership on moving water that's being tested so any river up to grade 2 will do. Shooter used the same bit for her trainees at the Share Center as the are some nice features above Maguire's bridge. Unfortunately they were a bit washed out yesterday.
    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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Lochwinnoch, Scotland
    Posts
    17,230

    Default

    Sound like a good day out. Wildlife and some white-ish water
    John

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Bangor, Co Down.
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MagiKelly View Post
    Sound like a good day out. Wildlife and some white-ish water
    More a sort of brownish colour, hopefully not slurry. Lol.
    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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Surrey
    Posts
    21,899

    Default

    Excellent excuse for a stress free paddle.

    Mind you, I have an image in my head of you shouting "squirrel!" and disappearing off like a mad spaniel, just as John was trying to herd you in the right direction
    Paddler,blogger,camper,pyromaniac: Blog: Wilderness is a State of Mind

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

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